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Thankful For Homeschool

 I'm sure you saw it all over the news: "Snowpocalypse Atlanta 2014"

{It took my husband 4 hours to get home Tuesday afternoon when the snow started and the freeways turned to gridlock - others we know spent literally an entire DAY inching their way home. It was a MESS, and we're just glad it's all over.}

When I was a public school teacher (and even in our three brief years as traditional school parents) I can remember the wondering and WAITING for school to be called off in the event of bad weather.

In Atlanta  school wasn't called off on Tuesday (EPIC fail) and thousands of students were left stranded on buses and at their schools for upwards of 24 hours. I cannot even imagine the worry felt by so many parents.

If you have homeschooled for any lenth of time these worries are foreign to you - your children are in YOUR CARE and the buck stops with YOU for the safety and well being. I am thankful to be homeschooling my children, for SO MANY reasons. 

This week it hit me particularly hard WHY I am thankful. This week's Collage Friday post is a celebration of those reasons.


Fostering the Wonder

We enjoyed a program at our local nature center on Monday - A Fungus Among Us.

The students learned all about what a fungus is and saw many examples. They did a simple lab dissecting a mushroom and looking at its parts under the microscope. Then, we went outside for a fun scavenger hunt: find the camouflaged mushrooms and each one had a fact about fungus.

I love these programs because they are full of all ages - my daughter assisted several youngers students at our table. If you've ever been in a room full of homeschooled children you notice that their wonder and inquisitiveness in contagious. 

I was thankful we had the TIME to spend a relaxing afternoon outdoors learning. I was thankful for friends we spent time with that day, and I was thankful for the knowledge gained.

It was a GOOD day. I drove home thinking, "Now THIS is why we homeschool".


"Snow Days"? 

While children in our local schools were out of school three (in some cases four) days, my children were able to keep up with the rhythm of their learning.

Because Anna's Challenge A group is so small (8 students) the moms and tutor made a decision to have school on Tuesday, and when the weather was looking dicey we all went to pick up our children at noon - just enough time for the children to get their assignments and thoroughly go over Latin, Science, and Math.

We took many breaks to play in the snow - Anna made snow cream (check out the blog post she wrote about that), too.

Lots of time was spent reading aloud by the fire, and dad was able to join in our learning when he wasn't working.  Meanwhile, I wasn't concerned about when we would make these days up, if school was going to be cancelled the next day, or who to blame because my child had been stranded at school. 

Homeschooling your children eliminates SO MANY WORRIES for a parent. I can see that now - so clearly from the other side of the fence.

Making Adolescence a Bit Easier

Any way you slice it, being in middle school is hard. Hormones are changing, personalities are clearly developing, and so many emotions run right at the surface.

While many might say homeschooled adolescents have it harder, I would contend they have a much EASIER time.

I'm not blogging much about my Anna - it's been a time of change for all of us, and it's no secret I have struggled with the change in our homeschool the past two years.

She is introverted and a private person (she doesn't get that from me!) -- and I like to respect her privacy. I am going to start next week, however, blogging about differenst aspects of her schooling this year. (I have the official ok!)

Finally, however, being a part of the Challenge program at Classical Conversations, we have hit upon something wonderful. 

She has a peer group that is small (just 8 in her class and 11 total in our whole Challenge program), but these children know each other well and support and encourage each other.  Their interests and personalities really don't matter - they all just accept each other for who they are, and in such a small group their tutor can emphasize that respect. 

Last week one of Anna's classmates had a grandparent who passed away. Anna and another friend in class created gifts to go in a care basket for this friend and her family. 

I am thankful she had the TIME to care about someone else - the TIME to create handmade items to show she cared. I am a firm believer in not making our children's lives too busy that they don't have time to foster meaningful relationships and spend time serving others.

Last Friday evening she volunteered with a special needs group at our church - 14 people came to learn a music routine and fellowship. What a blessing it was for Anna to be a part of this. She LOVED it. 

As far as schoolwork goes, I'm immensely thankful for the ability to choose what Anna will be studying. Her course of study through Challenge A is rich and (not to be cliche) challenging. The rigorous study of Latin, the debate during  rhetoric seminars, and the immense amount of geography knowledge memorized has me amazed. She's learning to write through The Lost Tools of Writing, and she is diligent about her Saxon math lessons. 

She read Divergent this week and is intentional about carving out time to read A LOT each week. 

I have seen so much growth this year, and while we have had our share of difficult moments (because you can't get through this stage without them) I am still convinced we are doing the right thing for her. Believe me, I've had my doubts in the past -- and when we have a hard week the doubts creep in again, but in the end I rest in the fact that my daughter is happy, safe, accepted, and challenged. 

A parent couldn't really ask for any more. 



How was your homeschool week? Did you have any "snow days"? 

I'm thankful for the chance to come to this place each Friday and read so many encouraging words from all of you, and then visit your blogs and read about your weeks, too. It's my favorite time of the week.

I do hope you'll join me!  

If you'd like to link, you can do so in a couple of ways:

  • Enter your link below. Be sure to link to your post with photo collages and link back to this post (or include the Collage Friday button on your blog).
  • Share your photo collage(s) on Instagram, FB, G+, or Twitter - use the hashtag #collagefriday so I can find you!


Reader Comments (20)

Mary, we did the Fungus class last year with Hope and her sweet ones! I love Cochran Mill! Teddy ate a big ole bite out of his white mushroom. I love following along with your CC journey. It's such a great program and it gives us a lot to mull over in the next few years. Thank you for sharing! I hope you all have had a fun week in the snow, too!

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLara M

I love how you share about your weeks! And your snow pictures are wonderful - complete with snow cream :) And you are a perfect example of how homeschooling can change and grow to match the needs of our children AND mom. Thanks for hosting us each week! (I am thankful we have a warm up today in Georgia!)

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Blogging about kids Kathryn and Anna's age does get a little trickier doesn't it? And yes, I'm SO glad we homeschool at this time in her life. I've been telling her lately some of my middle school stories. Since we share such similar personalities she gets how it would've felt and I think she's glad for homeschooling too! ;)

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie {See Jamie Blog}

ugh - pre-teen years. I wasn't expecting it from my son, (yet) but we're hitting the emotions now and I'm glad he's home to work them out but it definitely derails what we're doing.

I'd trade a day of rainy for some snow. THAT would be exciting here!! Enjoy it.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStef Layton

Yes, we have had our share of snow days, too. I agree with you that it important not to have our children's schedules so full they do not have time to foster relationships.

Yes! No worries about making up lost days -- we will take our two week winter break to Sanibel with smiles on our faces! Also struck by so many people saying, "What do we do with them while they are out of school?" !!! Looking forward to your blog posts about middle school...

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartha A.

The boys and I were saying this week how much we enjoy the freedom of homeschool especially when it comes to snow days. We're used to snow around here but the schools were off this week due to cold temperatures. We were able to stay in on those really cold days and then get out and enjoy sledding when the weather was a bit better and the public schools were back in session. The reward comes in the spring when we can get out and enjoy those first few warm days by bike riding or creek hiking. Thanks for hosting Collage Friday!

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I watched with horror at all the stories we heard coming from Atlanta and Birmingham. So glad your husband was home safe. I have a friend whose husband was stuck in B'ham and only got home last night. We got nada but I am still hoping for ONE snow this year. Love all your pictures and love Anna's heart.

I LOVED the Divergent series. Keilee is about to read it, she just finished the "Delirium" series. Thank you for hosting as always.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I firmly believe that homeschooling my adolescent is one of the best things we could have done for her. She started all the physical developments early and was so unsure & uncomfortable about those. I continue to thank God she didn't have to go through those changes on the stage of a public school classroom. She could be withdrawn [as she often wanted to be as she adjusted to what her body was doing], and when she was in public, it was with people who knew and cared about her and never commented on the changes. A tremendous blessing for her and for the rest of us.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

I'm wondering what blogging will look like for me in a few years when my kids reach that age. You've done a very good job of balancing sharing with her need for privacy. I look forward to what you are now able to share so I can get a glimpse into what my life will look like in a few years :)

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTicia

I also was very thankful we have our children at home with us this week as I heard about all that was going on during this big winter storm that hit, again.
And I understand about transition in our family relationships. You are doing a great job, Mom! We have raised a couple of introverts and a couple of extroverts - they all keep us on our toes, don't they? The important thing is that you are taking steps to respect her, she'll thank you for that.
Thank you for hosting Collage Friday each week!

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

I had no idea you were in the Atlanta area until I read this post. It took my husband four hours to get home as well when it is normally a 45 minute drive. Nine miles from home I received a phone call from him saying he was going to have to walk the rest of the way home. Lots of praying was needed. He was picked up by a few nice people and then he would get out a little while and help people and walk until the next person picked him up. So many prayer requests came out of our church and then after many long hours many praise reports. Glad your family is safe.
I have a 12 year old and homeschooling with his new needs is like trying to solve a mystery. Love the post about adolescents too!

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Great post, Mary. We had craziness happening here, too, in Birmingham because of the snow and I was oblivious to all of it. The kids and I were all cozy in the house, having school and taking breaks to play in the snow. My husband was supposed to go to Atlanta, but he ended up working from home. My biggest concern was if we'd have enough milk to make hot chocolate AND snow cream!

And then I find out my friends with kids in public school were all stressed out and people were walking miles in the snow to try to get their kids from school, husbands were spending the night at their office and cars were being abandoned...I admit I felt a little sheepish when they were laughing at me because I hadn't realized all that was going on. But you know, I was also very thankful that I had spent a lovely snow day with my children without all that drama. I am very lucky. We are so blessed.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

So many blessings! I love homeschooling and I totally agree with it cutting down on worries. I can't imagine going through what all of the parents of Atlanta went through this week.
Blessings, Dawn

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

The fungus class would be a lot of fun! We have explored a few fungi before when at the arboretum - they are so neat.

I hear you about middle graders and the developmental changes!

A quick question - have you read the Divergent books? Just so you know - It has a bit of a mature theme in it when Tris does her testing and that is repeated later on in the series (she's afraid to be intimate with Four, her instructor turned boyfriend, it is one of the fears she faces in her exam at Dauntless). I enjoyed the books but we've not made them available to Makayla yet. She's not interested anyway... too busy with a few other series' right now.

Have a wonderful and hopefully warmer weekend Mary!

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTristan

Thanks for the link up! You're really blessed to have a group of kids for your daughter to have fun with. We struggle with that here because there aren't any kids my daughter's age in our neighborhood and the kids at church can be cliquey. Forget homeschool groups- they all cost several hundred dollars and one income supporting twelve people can't cover that.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

When Amber was in parochial school we worried often about snow days because there was no buses, if school wasn't called off it was up to me to drive out in it. There were a few times that I had some not nice things to say on our drive to school. I'm so happy now that we can decide when to have school, be it a snow day or a sick day. I don't worry about makeup school work or how far into the summer school will go.

So the pre-teen difficulties are not just us, huh? There are days that I just wonder where we went wrong. I'm so happy that Anna is thriving and really showing to have a servant's heart. It is wonderful when you see that aspect of your own child.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristy

Still mild and wet here in southern England. I wouldn't mind a bit of snow but reading about your area makes me thankful that puddles are the worst of our problems right now!
I admire the sensitivity you have when you post about your children, Mary. It's tricky to get the balance right between sharing for the benefit of others and respecting our children's privacy. I am sure I will become more aware of this as my children get older.
Thank you so much, as ever, for hosting the link up. I hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

I have a shy, introvert here too. I have to beg him for permission to talk about him. LOL My youngest on the other hand, begs me to video record him doing silly stuff and post it online.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I am still amazed how crazy the snow was for you guys! Glad you were home safe and sound.

February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBecky Marie

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