50 Days in to Homeschooling & Some Lessons Learned

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When my husband and I decided our family’s COVID education plan would be to homeschool I was excited, nervous, doubting of my ability, yet also very positive. Before this decision, we were going to have our six and eight-year-old learn virtually and re-enter school when safe, but once we learned the school was getting out a few weeks later for summer, we decided to do our own schooling.

I had already found an awesome little curriculum for my four-year-old, full of hands-on learning activities, and even a virtual class once a week. I ordered some “no pre-planning required, open and go” curriculum for my older elementary-aged kids. I hopped on Pinterest and searched Montessori and Reggio inspired classroom setups where art supplies, books, and activities were arranged to intrigue and spark kids interest. As I centered the hand me down rug, mom swap-find kids table, corner desk, cubby shelves, and basket my daughter found on the side of the road to hold kids’ books, I felt proudly thrifty and somewhat prepared.

50 days in…

We have just finished day 50 of school and here’s what I’ve learned so far…

Homeschooling can take over your life!

I’m sure this is a combination of the fact that I’m new at this, I have a 14-month-old (who currently either wants to be held or she’s climbing on everything), and we have recently started my 4-year-old on a dairy and gluten-free diet which means I’m cooking every meal.

I know so many moms can relate when I say that I am so DONE and exhausted once the kids are in bed at night. But, I often push through and lay out some things for my preschooler the night before to keep him busy the next day and write a morning message on the mini chalkboard. Once I do one or two chores, I crash on the couch to have some moments of me-time or time with my husband before bed.

Field trip to Edisto. The kids learned how to crab!

In these past couple of months, I’ve also found some helpful resources and learned some teaching strategies. How I wished there was a “Homeschool for Dummies” or homeschool cheat sheet that would just tell me all the things! I hope this list can help some of you that are newly homeschooling or are thinking about starting!

Some lessons learned

1. I have seen several posts lately from local moms looking to switch to homeschooling from virtual school. This blog post is the most thorough I’ve seen on answering questions about homeschooling in South Carolina. If you are newly homeschooling or if you are thinking of switching, you’ll want to read this!

2. YouTube – I didn’t expect YouTube would be such a wonderful resource for me while homeschooling! I have let the kids watch Homeschool Pop, which has lots of science and history videos. I also searched the curriculum “flip throughs” and reviews to find which curriculum I wanted to use.

3. Brain Quest workbooks– These workbooks draw my kids in with their vibrant colors on each page and fun activities! Brain Quest covers every subject in one book and you can find PreK- 6th grade on Amazon. The kids LOVE these! If we need an easy school day with little teaching on my part, I will let the kids do lessons in these books.

4. Oglesby Ohana– I started following this YouTube Vlogger before I started our school year just to get ideas and advice from an experienced homeschool mom. She has been such a voice of reason, has calmed my anxieties, and has inspired me with her laid back teaching style.

5. Instagram Homeschool moms– When I’m looking for some activities to do to keep things fun and interesting, I love to check out @mamapapabubba and @dayswithgrey (for my four and seven-year-old).

Creating watercolor number art for our wall

I think the most important thing I’ve learned in these past few months is to give myself and my kids so. much. grace. I know this sounds cliché and something I’ve heard lots of people say lately but it’s so true. These are not normal circumstances. Nothing about this year is ideal…but we need to protect our mental health and make it an enjoyable year for our kids. Homeschooling has been exhausting and overwhelming but I know I will look back on this crazy year fondly one day and want to relive these moments with my kids.

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Elizabeth Wagner
Elizabeth Wagner is a 5th generation Charlestonian and a 3rd generation James Islander.  She and her husband maintained a long distance relationship throughout her nursing school and his Marine Corps deployments. They married in 2010. After working as a neurosurgical nurse for ten years, she became a stay-at-home mom of their now four kids. From her natural passion to help others and through caring for her own children, Elizabeth became interested in herbal remedies, the benefits of plant medicine, and natural ways to treat her kids illnesses. In 2016, after the birth of her third child, she started Island Bloom Herbals. She makes homemade elderberry syrup, cough syrup, and herbal teas. She and her husband are beekeepers and have three hives in their backyard.  Elizabeth and her husband also love to dive. Her husband proposed to her underwater off the coast of Charleston and they have dove in the Georgia Aquarium with whale sharks!

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