Homeschooling with a new baby
The last month has been a bit of a challenge as I have been trying to keep up with my eight year old's full homeschooling schedule, continuing my four year old's early literacy program, caring for our new baby, and most recently dealing with the fact that daddy is gone. Not out of the picture gone, but for the next three weeks, he has training in Kansas City and then will in all likelihood be moving there or to Hastings. Without us, until the house sells.

The thought of trying to keep this house ready for show...well, that is another post for another time.

I feel like I'm treading water, but my daughter has learned to add and subtract double digit numbers, with carrying and has almost finished Little House in the Big Woods. For someone who was struggling with Green Eggs and Ham at the beginning of the school year, that is quite an accomplishment! I wish I could take some credit in that, but I didn't do anything, really. One day, she decided she really wanted to read. She is a determined girl, one of her greatest and most challenging personality traits.

I watch her in Karate and am amazed. She took a year off and just started back in December. By the end of February, she had re-learned all of her old katas (basic exercises with combinations of moves in order) and was ready to test for her next rank. In June, she gets to test for brown belt, something she is "hungry for" as her sensei says. No better way to summarize it. She practices daily, on her own. She is upset if we are running late and can't get to class on time. She begged me to let her go to the adult's class on Saturday mornings when sensei invited her and has gone every week since except when we went to grandma's. She even chose that over a sleep over with her best friend. Every class, every exercise, she puts forth her best effort and looks as if her brown belt depended on that drill and that drill alone. She may make mistakes, but it isn't for lack of trying.

So when she decided she wanted to read, I knew my job in that area was over. I don't plan our literature any more. She picks what she wants to read and we talk about it. The next phase of our reading program is going to be "book talks." She will select a book to read, and both of us will get a copy. Every day, we will sit down to tea and just talk about the book. When her writing improves, I'd like to help her start a journal, but that may be a long ways off.

Unless she decides she wants to write. And the seed is there. She likes to pretend to write. But spelling still hinders her free expression, so we need to work on that more.

As frustrating as the first year of homeschooling was for me, I am glad I stuck with it. Now, I know most of the problems I was having stemmed from the fact that I was working against my daughter's God-given personality. It is such a delight to be able to begin to work with her, instead.

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