“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

Although I am constantly working on my inner heart—seeking for its goodness and purification and looking critically at my flaws—here in the McGaugh household, we take this quote even more literally than it was meant. We are beginning our first forays into a more structured home-learning environment as Katie works through some pre-school activities.

Most of my readers know that we are a homeschooling family…perhaps odd for two public school teachers, both the happy products of the public school system. I am grateful everyday for my public school education, for the amazing teachers I was lucky to get on my schedule, for the easy access to opportunities for extra-curriculars, college guidance, and more. I am grateful for those teachers who became mentors and friends. We do not yet know if Katie and Eric will enter the high school system, although they might. I have many, many more fond memories of prom, school teams, pep rallies, and fun high school events than does my husband. šŸ™‚ Since we are both high school teachers with heavy experience in Advanced Placement courses (and since Bill is actually credentialed in several subjects besides just math), we are not worried about teaching the curriculum; whether or not they enter high school will probably depend at the time on the two of them and what their needs are.

Too bad, because I personally am most experienced with that age and level! šŸ˜‰ I would finally feel competent!

Bill has taught as young as 6th grade, but neither of us have ever come close to teaching pre-school! Boy, it is an adventure every day! Whew! I have so much respect for my pre-K, Kindergarten, and elementary school colleagues. In addition to their creativity, their prep time for a whole room of kiddos must be enormous. If any of you are reading, thanks for all you do.

Today we worked on writing Katie’s name, geography, coloring/drawing, telling time, phonics drills, reading comprehension, and organizing our thoughts/writing (she dictates, I write). In the last week, we’ve also worked on number sense, arts and crafts, cutting, etc. The possibilities are so endless—exciting!! And because we are learning at home, we can take breaks when we need them. We can learn in other ways, like cooking together (as we did today) or just being silly together.

Even today, when I was dragging a little (I stayed up way too late last night pouring over and reviewing an International Competition speech for a Toastmaster’s buddy—boy, is Bob good! Can’t wait to hear it!), I was able to pace us a little more slowly. We aren’t governed by bells or the clock, a luxury I often wish I’d had with my high school students! So often we’d be in the middle of a great discussion and have to adjourn! With homeschooling, we can fit the pace to the student, takes breaks when we need to prioritize family, instill a pure love of learning for learning’s sake, and enjoy each others’ company. It would be hard to imagine sending Katie to school all day in another few years—I would miss her so, so, so much!

I was so thankful for a morning, too, in which the timing of my tea kettle, Eric’s second hunger, and Katie’s work pattern all worked in harmony today. It doesn’t always happen that way! Today the stars aligned. Gather joy in the rarity of that one!

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