Reflections on Moving While Homeschooling Little Ones
Whew! The last few months have been rather crazy as we looked for a new home, prepared to move, and then managed to get everything into the new house. Little did I realize the chaos had only just begun. We’ve been in our new house for just over a month, and I’m just barely feeling like things are beginning to seem “settled.” After weeks of hassle (including numerous phone calls and several visits by technicians), we have Internet access AT LAST, so while the little ones are napping (or trying to, anyway), I thought I’d take the time to come back the blog and bring it up to date (well, sort of).
There are so many ways God blessed us by providing this home, but one of my favorites is the opportunity to have a designated “schoolroom.” It may not look like much in these pictures, but you should have seen it 4 weeks ago when we were maneuvering through a maze of boxes filled with books I haven’t had the space to unload since I was a classroom teacher! I’m so excited to have a place not only for all those books (believe it or not, I’ve thinned out my library several times in the last couple years, giving away BOXES full of books) but also for things like math manipulatives, games, puzzles, etc. that all make up part of our homeschool lifestyle.
I’m hoping to get this room “finished” and in good working order over the summer (just in time for our new baby to come and bring complete chaos back into our lives).
There are a couple things I wish had gone differently through the course of our move (at least as far as homeschooling), though most (like the lack of Internet access) were beyond my control.
- We temporarily lost our copy of Long Story Short by Marty Machowski, the foundation of our Bible lessons and family devotions. The box it ended up in was filled with things packed at the last minute, got labeled (not very specifically) only on the bottom, and ended up in our shed surrounded by car parts. After a few weeks I finally ended buying a Kindle version of the book (since I figured that could come in handy when we’re away from home), and then a few days later Eric stumbled across the right box as he was trying to bring some organization to the shed. We really missed our Bible Time as a family in the evenings, and have still not fully gotten back into the habit, though we’re making progress.
- We’ve gone about 2 months now with no new listening lessons or audiobooks, which has been a challenge since they usually play a big part in our schoolday. Shortly before we moved, my antivirus program started causing issues with iTunes (as in wiping out my entire library). I spent a few hours restoring everything and trying to set up some “listening lessons” to get us through the weeks ahead, only to have all my work disappear two more times. I finally had to give up because there were so many other things needing to be done. Now that we’re getting settled in and can access the Internet, I’m hoping to tackle the task of getting everything back in working order within the next week or two.
- Unfortunately, even once I get all my files back in order, I still will have to figure out how to make Listening Lessons a regular part of our day. We no longer have a 30-minute drive to church and other activities, which made up a big chunk of our listening time. And to make thing more complicated, my main iPod dock/speaker isn’t working since the move. The boys still listen to stories in their room at naptime/bedtime, but we have no way of listening out in the main part of the house unless I feel like moving a dock around several times a day.
For the most part, however, I’m pretty satisfied with where things stand as far as homeschooling. In a way, the move has helped me mentally prepare for the way a newborn is going to affect my ability to start do schoolwork with Ian, and I’m thankful that I’ve been able to develop a more realistic idea of how a major change is going to demand flexibility. I knew we’d be taking some time off from organized schoolwork during this season, but I had no idea how much of a break we would need. I think there was a solid three-week period (mostly leading up to Moving Day) in which we didn’t do a single thing unless you want to count educational videos. We spent a lot of time with The Magic School Bus, Reading Rainbow, and the Scholastic Storybook Treasures collections. (The boys enjoyed the first collection of 100 Storybook Classics so much, a bonus from Grandma’s retirement from teaching Kindergarten, that we got Ian the second collection for his birthday. LOVE these!)
Once we had moved, it was easier to start easing our way back into things. I started making a routine of having Ian read to me every day. Even if we did nothing else, that at least helped me feel like we were getting back into the groove of school. Last week we started back up with learning how to write the letters of the alphabet correctly. I don’t have Ian do this every day (it’s challenging for him, but I’ve decided to go ahead because he really wants to be able to write), but we’re adding it to our routine. We’re back into our Bible lessons on Moses, and we’ve even have done spent some time with Five in a Row books (posts coming soon), so except for math and composer study, I’d say we’re almost back to school as it was before the move.
One nice new addition has been doing a LOT of reading aloud from chapter books. I started with Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary because I thought Ian would enjoy hearing about a Kindergarten experience, and he enjoyed it so much we read through all of the Ramona books in less than two weeks. He then wanted to start in on the Henry Huggins series (also by Beverly Cleary) but I decided to save those for later and instead we’ve started reading through the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m glad he’s enjoying some of my favorite childhood books, and all the reading had provided a nice break from unpacking boxes. (My other favorite reason for avoiding them has been to take the kids to the beautiful park just down the street. We’ve gone 2-3 times each week, and it’s going to be the main source of our nature study once I’m ready to add that back in to our studies.)
I’m so thankful Ian’s not officially in Kindergarten yet, because moving with 3 young children (with a fourth growing in my womb and sapping a lot of my energy!) requires all the grace one can give oneself, and I would have been incredibly stressed if I had any academic requirements hanging over my head. We’ll probably postpone starting our school year until close to November, though we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing until the baby arrives at the end of September. It feels good to be getting back to normal!