Our First Year of Homeschool in Review

It’s hard to believe an entire school year has already gone by! We made the big announcement on the first day of school that both Kye and Britt would be homeschooling this school year.

That means that we pulled Kye out of the public school system at the start of his 9th grade year and Britt just before starting her 6th grade year (Fall 2023 – Spring 2024 school year)

It was really such a perfect time in both of their lives to make this transition!

You can read about our decision to homeschool here.

As I mentioned in that post my big “why” for homeschooling was Kye and the amount of stress he was under in school and the future amounts of stress and pressure I knew would only multiply as he entered high school.

I felt strongly that this was an opportunity to reset. Allow him to disconnect from ALL THE THINGS. To clear his plate and then figure out what he wanted to add back in.

The decision to homeschool Britt was a domino effect of the decision to homeschool Kye. When we discussed my ideas for him, she was fully onboard and eager to make the change.

So we went for it!

Have you ever had a situation where you see that God was working through one avenue to really get to another one? That’s how I feel about homeschool.

My focus was on Kye. But God was using that decision making process to really get Britt home.

More than any of the other benefits that we’ve enjoyed this year with them home…Britt has BLOSSOMED. It has been one of THE best decisions I’ve ever made as her mother.

As a new-to-homeschool mama I heard a lot about “unschooling” and that it’s recommended to take the first school year to really just deprogram yourselves from what we’ve always known as public school people.

You can take the kids out of the school but taking the school out of the kids is a totally different story!

I do not think we’ve had the full “unschool” experience because we do have both Tess and Spear still enrolled in our local elementary school.

Therefore our days still follow that routine of taking them to school, getting them off the bus, revolving our schedules around theirs, attending school activities, etc.

And I’m okay with that!

While I LOVE the freedom and flexibility that homeschool offers, I’m a structured person at heart. My kids have all been raised on Babywise scheduling from birth so there is no way we’d suddenly go from hardcore structure to free-flowing go where the wind takes us kinda days.

What Their School Days Look Like

I’ve really tried to let them lead as much as possible in mapping out their daily routines.

On a typical school day Kye gets up and gets rolling usually around 8 am. He typically wakes up closer to 7 but enjoys staying in bed and reading for awhile to ease into the day.

He does school work – at the start of the school year his goal was to make 1% progress in each class each day or 4% total for the week.

However, as the school year went on, he got a little more comfortable with the flexibility aspect and decided to just focus on one class at a time. He worked through completing an entire course and then would move on to the next one.

After his school time he then goes to our gym area and works out and then practices basketball and sometimes helps Britt practice volleyball.

He finishes up everything by lunchtime and then in the afternoons he has some time for any household items he needs to help with (pulling weeds, picking up limbs, cleaning the pool, etc) and has downtime to play video games as well as work on his YouTube Channel.

Britt prefers to sleep in and often won’t wake up and get rolling for the day until closer to 9 or 10.

She has required me to be a bit more hands-on in helping shape her daily routine. She preferred to work through all her classes evenly and had the minimum goal of completing 4% per week.

However, she always achieved more than that and ended up finishing her entire school year of Power Homeschool in February!

She also spends time in the morning working on spelling, typing and has reading time. (Which have continued even with her finishing up her school work).

Her outside time each day usually involves jumping on the trampoline, practicing volleyball, taking walks or swimming.

We all eat lunch together around noon and after lunch Britt works on learning more about cosmetology, listens to Harry Potter on audio book, and does her various chores as well (most of the chores she and Kye work together on!)

They take turns riding the golf cart down the driveway to pick up the little kids off the bus and spend the afternoons playing together before our family dinner time and bedtime routines.

With their ability to sleep in, I’ve gotten a bit more flexible with allowing them to stay up a bit later in the evenings. Kye always does a Bible study and has some reading time before bed. Britt has always done her Bible study but isn’t a big fan of reading so I’m trying to encourage her to also read a book for a bit at bedtime too.

We have slower paced mornings, slower paced days, and slower paced evenings. Our entire lives have literally slowed down!

What My School Days Look Like

It’s been much more of an adjustment for ME having them home than I think it’s been for them being home. Last school year was the first time as a parent that ALL of my kids were in all day school each day.

Of course that school year was not a normal year either as we were in the process of building the house and that took up ALL my time!

This school year wasn’t quite “normal” either as we moved and got settled in.

As we’ve gotten adjusted I’ve got a bit of a routine down but it’s still not exactly what I’d like for it to be so I’m a work in progress on that.

I struggle with my kids being home because I feel like I need to drop anything I’m doing if they ask me a question or need me etc.

I always struggled in summertime to be as productive due to feeling like I needed to always be plugged in or at least readily available for my kids and now every day is kinda like summertime since they are home!

Kye is very set in his routine and in doing his own thing but Britt tends to want to chat and visit and be around me more throughout the day.

I LOVE it but it has caused my productivity to go down. I’ve had some good talks with her about sometimes needing to be in my office for a bit uninterrupted and she does a great job respecting that boundary – when I remember to set it!

However, the entire homeschool decision has really helped me readjust my priorities. Really sit and think on what is most important to me and what I do truly want to do with my time.

And the answer is – I want to be a mom. I want my kids to be that top priority. I love the extra time I get with them at home and I’m leaning into that more and not allowing myself to feel guilty about the things I’m letting go of to truly prioritize motherhood.

I’ve not been currently taking on paid Instagram campaigns. I’m open to working with brands if I see something that works within our family but I’m not going to do “hold up the product and smile” kinda stuff anymore.

I’ve let go of the personal blog post pressure and am writing things as I have the time, not worrying about frequency or consistency in my posting.

So, overall, reshaping my day has been a positive thing with the kids home.

The slower downed pace has also been incredible for my personal mental and physical health. Our mornings are less stressful, my day is less stressful, our afternoons and evenings are less stressful.

Man it’s awesome.

The only personal negative has been my ability to spend time with friends.

I was just at the stage of going to meet people for lunches or getting together randomly during the school day. While I still do that from time to time, I have a lot of guilt about it.

So often I have a dr appointment or counseling or something that requires me to be gone from the house. While Kye and Britt are fine doing their routines without me home, I feel guilty about making additional plans with friends on top of the already scheduled stuff.

Thoughts on Acellus / Power Homeschool Curriculum

As I mentioned when we made the decision to homeschool, I really have taken a more relaxed approach to all of this than I normally do with things. I didn’t get myself caught up in overly researching or having a bunch of stress over the decision.

I have several friends who have experience with Power Homeschool and we decided to go that route as well. Power Homeschool is the same as Acellus with the curriculum offered, however, it’s the non-accredited version.

I know, I know.

“Non-accredited” sounds scary.

But honestly? Accreditation is just not necessary.

It’s doesn’t make any impact on their ability to return to public school, should we ever decide to go that route. Nor does it impact their ability to apply for college, if they decide to do so.

This is a helpful blog post explaining why accredited homeschooling is basically a myth.

We have all been very happy with Power Homeschool! It is great to be able to decide which classes they take and to be able to follow the recommendations but also have the flexibility to switch it up.

Britt started the school year in one history class but we ended up switching her into a different one that would combine both 6th and 7th grade world history.

She LOVES history but would rather be able to take more US History classes so she wanted to knock out all the world history at one time instead of spreading it out over two school years.

Kye is able to be in courses that interest him and his future career goals. He chose Coding, Business Management and Accounting for his electives this year.

They both enjoyed the video style of lessons and appreciated that they could get extra help when needed as well as had the ability to skip review lessons when they felt confident in the material and can also retake exams as needed too.

A question I received on IG was about if they hit a topic they don’t understand.

The classwork is set up where there are lots of options for reviewing material or supportive material if they struggle in an area. They can get extra practice work, etc.

Kye is an extremely high achiever and I’m hoping, with time, he’ll chill out a bit. But he will retake an exam to try to get a 100 on everything. The program allows students to take an exam up to 3 times but the final score is whatever is scored on the last taken exam.

I’ve been very impressed with the program as the goal is for the kids to learn the material – they both are learning!

We had one time where there was an issue with a math question that none of us could figure out…so we googled it. Again, the goal is learning! We learned more by struggling and googling to find out how to do it than if we’d just kept guessing!

It took awhile for me to wrap my head around just how quickly they were FLYING through the curriculum.

But it makes sense – at home they are able to just focus on themselves and focus on the school work. It’s their own pace and there are no distractions.

A typical school day has often been only 1-2 hours of school work. Most weeks they do school work four days a week.

From what I’ve seen in homeschool Facebook groups this is “the norm.”

If we travel or have appointments or have social meet ups etc they won’t do school work. With our move they took off almost the entire month. And Britt was STILL able to be completely finished in early Feb. Kye has just finished his up this week – they will be taking off for the summer!

Supplemental Materials

Someone mentioned to me that a big thing with homeschooling is it helps you realize the gaps. That is so true!

A great thing about using the online school program is that I know the basics are being covered by the teachers and I don’t feel pressure to make sure I’m teaching them ALL the things so I can better focus on those areas they may need some extra help.

As soon as we started I noticed Britt’s lack of joy in reading as well as her spelling struggles.

I bought her this workbook to work through and she has some spelling time every day. I also had her start writing cards to members of our church family on the prayer list.

This is a great habit to form to be thinking of others as well as a great opportunity to work on her spelling and handwriting.

I also created a reading chart for her. Each day that she reads for 30 min she can mark off a spot and when the chart is filled we go out to a fun lunch together.

Typing is such an important skill so I signed them both up on Typing.com. It’s an awesome program where they can learn and practice typing skills!

I plan to have this be a continuous class they will be enrolled in throughout their homeschooling careers as the faster and more efficiant you are at typing – the better for just about any career path!

Personal growth is a valuable skill that is so important and something I want to encourage my children to be constantly striving for.

The first personal growth book I assigned for them was Atomic Habits. They both listened to it on audio book and took notes following each chapter. Once they completed the book we reviewed their notes together.

Not only was this a great way for them to really retain the incredible wisdom and advice in the book but it was a great way for me to have a refresher on it too πŸ˜‰ It’s been awesome to see them both put a lot of the recommendations into practice!

Extracurriculars

I’m all about raising future entrepreneurs and was super excited to learn about a young business program in our community.

Both kids attended the classes where they learned how to start a business, marketing, pricing and taxes and they got to experience having their own booth at a local market.

It was a fantastic learning experience for them both and a great way to meet new people and try new things. They each gave a report over what they learned and what they took away from the experience!

An important aspect of homeschooling for Zach and I was to make sure the kids get outside and get active more often!

This is an area that Kye needs a bit more of a push than Britt.

We started out the school year focused on tennis lessons. He enjoyed being part of the tennis team and had originally planned to try out for the team in 10th grade so we enrolled both he and Britt in regular tennis lessons.

He then developed an enjoyment of basketball and decided to switch his focus to that rather than tennis. I’ve been so proud to see his commitment to his workout routine as well as his daily basketball practice.

We are still able to participate in our local rec league sports and it’s important to us for the kids to have a “thing” to be involved in.

I was very proud of Kye for playing basketball for our local rec league – it’s intimidating to go for it at a 9th grader in a sport you’ve never played. But he did awesome and he LOVED it.

Britt has played volleyball both in the fall and spring and continues to enjoy the sport. She is our natural athlete and it’s so fun to watch!

This year Kye was asked by a good friend to be his fishing partner on the fishing team. Kye had only done very minimal fishing prior to joining the team and it was such a perfect fit for this big transition year.

He was able to spend quality time with his best friend from middle school, enjoyed learning a new sport, had a bit of freedom at the tournaments away from home, enjoyed getting to be part of a competitive team, and had a lot of fun!

I had a big talk with him as the fishing season got close to winding down about next year. Being homeschooled is such a gift in the ability to be focused on things that they truly WANT to do.

He signed on to fishing initially because his friend needed a partner. While he enjoyed the experience, he wasn’t doing it FOR KYE.

He was caught up in doing all the things for all the people in middle school (signing on to every club that a teacher asked him to join) and I wanted to really make sure that the only things on his plate while homeschooling are things for HIM.

He’s not going to be on the fishing club next year and it lead to a great talk with both of the kids about how precious this homeschool opportunity really is.

In adulthood we don’t have the luxury of time to truly invest in learning new skills, taking on new hobbies, etc. Their time is NOW! Really think about things they want to learn – and let’s learn them! The sky is the limit!

Kye mentioned that he’s always desired to have a YouTube Channel. I encouraged him to go for it!

He has made a faceless channel that reviews movies for teens, kids and families from the Christian perspective. It’s been a great learning process in creating content, editing, SEO, etc. I’m completely letting him lead on it and he’s having a lot of fun!

Here’s his channel if you want to check it out πŸ™‚

Britt has expressed interest in cosmetology for awhile now and this year has been a wonderful opportunity to learn more about it.

We invested in a human hair mannequin and signed her up for a course through Outschool.

I’ve heard good and bad things about Outschool but we’ve been really happy with the class she’s taking! It’s SUCH a cool program – basically it’s specific classes through zoom.

She’s in a cosmetology class. It’s taught by a cosmetologist and she’s able to chat with other students who are interested in the field. They are all learning how to braid their mannequin’s hair and share their progress with each other.

I want to make sure they each have at least one thing they are learning and pouring into that is just for themselves! Sure, it could lead to a future career but most importantly I want them to have plenty of hobbies in adulthood to enjoy πŸ™‚

Socialization

Ahhh the big question that always comes up when homeschooling is mentioned: socialization.

In some ways, it’s tough. It can be a bit lonely being at home so often with just your sibling and mom. Britt misses Tess a good bit since Tess is at school all day. And having Tess come home sharing about her day and the friendship dramas etc can make Britt feel even more left out of the loop.

On the other end though Tess will often feel left out of the things Kye, Britt and I do together while she’s at school! The grass is always greener, right?

At first the socialization element was a BIG stressor for me. I was very, very thankful Kye was on the fishing team because I knew that box was getting checked for him.

My first priority in the socialization side of things was to make sure they are both as plugged in as possible to as many youth events and youth activities.

A benefit of homeschool – you get to decide the social circle your children are involved in! And for us? We want that to be with as many Christians as possible.

Zach and I basically “head up” the youth group at our church so it’s been pretty easy to make sure those events are planned as it’s something we were already doing anyway!

In addition we’ve been mindful to be in touch with other local congregations and have been blessed that they’ve all been so welcoming to have Kye and Britt attend their meet ups and events.

We’ve also signed them up for any youth camps! We all attended Exposure over Christmas, the kids attended Yes Weekend in Feb, SOAR in March, Kye is heading off to Horizons this summer, and both he and Britt will attend 2 weeks of Bible Camp this summer.

Kye feels that the combo of church activities, the fishing with his good bud and his close bond with his bff cousin, Colt, is plenty for him.

Britt, however, needs more. She’s a girl! And a social one at that! She is a people person like her mama and needs that interaction.

She and I had a fantastic conversation that really helped me cut myself some slack in this area. She doesn’t need a BEST FRIEND. She has that in Tess! She’s got that box checked!

She’s totally happy and content just having casual friends to get together with.

Again, like me, she enjoys random interactions and is happy to meet new people and go and do fun things!

Thankfully we discovered a local homeschool teen group. They have frequent meet-ups! Sometimes it’s a lunch, sometimes it’s an activity.

They have been such a welcoming, friendly group. I’ve loved meeting the other mamas and Britt has enjoyed hanging out with the variety of kids who are part of the group.

Kye has been less interested in the group meet-ups but I realized that even though he eye-rolled he did have fun…so I’ve taken Britt solo to things like lunches where it’s just sitting and talking but insist that Kye tags along for the activity centered meet-ups.

It’s been fantastic! I plan to pour more into the group next year now that we are more settled in with things.

Attending these events once a week or even once every other week combined with youth group church stuff, our time with extended family, their sporting activities, and just the time with our core family unit is PLENTY of social time!

Favorite Parts of Homeschooling

TIME.

This year on Kye’s 15th birthday I kept waiting for the tears to flow. For me to get in my feelings about my baby boy getting older. But they never came!

It’s because I have SO MUCH MORE TIME with him now than I ever thought I’d have. I get to eat lunch with him just about every day!

Homeschooling has given us this incredible gift of time.

Britt and I are closer than I thought possible at this pre-teen stage of life. For Christmas we gifted her a Photo Workshop with Captured By Colson where she had 5 sessions where she learned about different things (hair, skincare, etc) and had photos taken at each.

Britt and I LOVED the process of choosing her outfits, getting her ready, etc. We’ve loved helping each other pick out our clothes each day.

Britt and Tess are besties and I LOVE that sister bond they share but homeschooling Britt has given her and I a HUGE opportunity to share one on one moments that have really strengthened our bond as well.

This year has just been incredible to watch Britt blossom. I hear so often about girls struggling in middle school. The pressure, the insecurities, the mean girls.

While I can’t do a comparison as to what Britt’s life would have looked like if she’d attended 6th grade – I do think it would be a MUCH different Britt than I have in front of me as a homeschooler. This has been the absolute best decision for her.

She is still in that awkward stage of figuring out who she is but she’s able to figure that all out without pressures from peers. It’s so neat to see her confidence shine and for her to figure out what SHE loves!

I love that she will spend time playing with dolls and that she has no shame or embarrassment with that. I love that she prefers not to wear any makeup and is in no hurry to seem more grown up than she is.

I’m embracing letting my girl (and all my kids) cling to childhood for as long as possible!

I also love that homeschooling has truly allowed our family to slow down. Be more focused on togetherness and peacefulness instead of getting wrapped up in the rush-rush-rush and go-go-go.

I love that it gives the kids the freedom to truly explore their personal interests. Pursue their goals. Set their own paces and priorities!

I especially love the way it’s helped shape our family time in the afternoons. Whew, after school used to be one of the craziest parts of the day.

Kye most often came home SO grouchy. He needed alone time to decompress from the stress of the school day and would rarely feel like interacting with his younger siblings. He was easily annoyed and irritable.

He recently pointed it out to me that he just loves how when the little kids get home from school that HE is in a good mood to show up for them. The four of them PLAY together all afternoon every afternoon!

Kye and Britt’s bonds have been strengthened by the amount of time they get to spend together throughout each day but ALL of the kids bonds have been strengthened as well!

Having the kids all be home together at the same time and having the older kids not be bogged down by homework or other stresses that came with their school days has been AMAZING.

I asked Kye and Britt for their favorite parts of homeschooling and Britt said getting to sleep in and getting to be more of a part of the adults conversations and knowing more about what’s going on with things (She loves knowing stuff before the little ones haha!).

Kye loves that he is able to set his own schedule, he enjoys the day to day flow of each day and has really liked the ability to focus on one class at a time.

Cons of Homeschooling

Having to be intentional with the socialization element is more work for ME than when they were in school.

We have never been a family focused on friendships – you hang out with your friends at school but at home it’s family, extended family, church family.

So having to make sure they are getting time with friend groups and peers is a new thing for me that I’m not used to having to think about or plan for.

While it’s a bit more of a hassle to have to plan things and make sure the kids are getting that time spent with peers, it’s also a positive thing because Zach and I are getting to decide which environments they are put in for those experiences.

When I asked the kids their thoughts Britt said that the only con is the friendship element. That it can be a bit lonely at times!

I do think when you look back on situations you tend to look back in a positive way that may not always be accurate to how it was / would be. I have to remind her at times that she was lonely at school too.

Kye spent his entire middle school career feeling lonely due to his unwillingness to sacrifice his morals/values to “fit in.”

We all feel a bit lonely at times no matter what our circumstances. I think having a solid routine next school year and making sure we’re getting plenty of those social interactions.

Kye said their are no cons to homeschooling at all.

Y’all. How awesome is that? A 15 year old boy is home with his mama and 12 year old sister every day and says there are NO CONS.

What I’d Do Differently If I Did This Year Over Again

If I had it to do over I would not allow Britt to stop school in February. I would have had her go ahead and take another class or two!

I think she does better with a bit more on her plate than she’s had for the last couple of months. Having that school routine helped her naturally make sure she was also doing her additional things (reading, typing, spelling etc) and I’ve had to be more on top of her about those things now that she’s not doing school each day.

She agrees and her plan for next year is to go ahead and try to do TWO school years in one! She plans to do 7th grade from Aug-Dec and 8th grade from Jan-May. We’ll see! I don’t want her to put too much stress on herself either!

I also would be more upfront about me needing my time. Be it for work, or friend time etc. I need to do better at clearer boundaries with those times when I need less interruptions.

I also wish I’d had the mental space at the start of the school year to really map out what I wanted the school year to look like and have it be a bit more structured up front rather than adding things as we go.

I feel like the “bad guy” at times by adding in items to their to do list or daily routine and if I’d started these things up front it would have been better.

But the beauty is that this upcoming school year I can do that πŸ˜‰

Plan for Next Year

Now that the kids have been homeschooled for a full year they are eligible for the Dexter Mosley Act (which is a Georgia thing but all states have some sort of similar guidelines).

This allows the student to enroll in one course either at their zoned school or online via Georgia Virtual School. Once enrolled they are able to participate in sports, clubs and activities at that school during the time period in which they are participating in the course.

Britt has no desire to take advantage of this act but it may be something we explore again when she’s in high school and there are more options for activities that she may be interested in.

Kye and I visited the local high school and met with his school counselor and he plans to enroll in one class online for both semesters next school year so he will be able to participate in FBLA.

He enjoyed FBLA in middle school and is excited for the opportunity to participate! Originally we thought he’d want to try out for the tennis team but he’s become less interested in tennis and is more focused on the basketball so we’ll see if that’s something he decides to try out for on the school level or if he’ll just keep playing with the rec league.

I am very excited about the FBLA for him! He has a natural talent for public speaking and I want him to be able to continue to use and develop that talent. I also think it’ll be a great opportunity for him to have a presence at the school building, get to be around peers who share that similar interest in that club.

I also plan to look into joining our local YMCA this fall – I’m hoping people use it for pick up basketball games so Kye can play during the days and work on those skills.

I also think it’d be great for Britt and I to use the YMCA for learning ways to move our bodies! She and I have enjoyed doing daily stretches together and often go on walks but I think some classes would be fun together.

I’m also thinking ahead for Tess. She’s my least sports kid and I need to be able to have physical activity options for her so I’m hopeful that the YMCA will give us some opportunities there.

This summer we have Kye signed up for driver’s ed at our local college where he’ll get plenty of time behind the wheel and which will also help with our insurance rates and count as a high school credit for him.

Britt plans to continue with volleyball. It is only offered through our rec league until 8th grade so we are trying to think about her high school years and what sport she’d like to play.

She is very interested in flag football and we are so excited that the rec league will have a girls middle school flag football this fall! She’s signed up and is thrilled to learn a new sport!

I plan to keep both of them enrolled in Power Homeschool. Kye will take the one class through Georgia Virtual.

I will also be signing them up for the Dave Ramsey Financial Class. I had planned to do so this school year but with the move I just decided to wait until next year when we are fully settled!

Kye and Britt are both wanting to earn an income towards saving for their future cars so that will be a focus this upcoming school year. They both want to do some work for me.

Kye just finished up taking a Pinterest Course and plans to take over pinning for my blog (I previously had a Virtual Assistant who handled it) and Britt has been doing some blog work going through posts and updating any broken links.

This last year a lot has changed with Zach’s business as well. We are really focused on building a family brand and family based business model and hope to include the kids more as they get a bit older.

I also plan to have Kye do a bit of his own research this next school year. My goal as their mama is to train them up in the way they should go. I want them to make decisions based on their own faith, their own values, their own relationship with the Lord.

We have a lot of boundaries in place with our kids and what content they absorb. Parental controls on video games, their ipads, Kye’s phone, etc.

But someday soon they will be adults and I want to give them to tools to set their own boundaries! I’m hoping to have Kye do a report on video games this school year and for HIM to make suggestions as to how he should structure his video game time limits etc.

I think there is a lot to be said about letting our kids do their own research and coming to their own conclusions about things and I’m excited to see what he learns and what guidelines he suggests!

I loved having the kids listen to the Atomic Habits book and want them to absorb more personal growth type content. I saw a great idea to PAY kids to read these types of books and I really like that!

Rather than it being a “half to do” it becomes a privilege and something they want to do. Sure, at first it’s about getting that money but I also think it helps set that habit! I plan to pay them $15 per book that they read and give a report over.

I’m working on a list of must-reads for them and think that bit of extra money will be a great motivator!

Plans for Tess and Spear

Tess is entering 5th grade this coming school year. I did, briefly, consider going ahead and pulling her and having her home school. There would be lots of advantages in having her home with us!

However, we all agreed that overall it’d be best for her to finish out her elementary school career. 5th grade is SO FUN and I want her to get to have that experience! She loves her school and her friends!

I do fully intend, as of right now, to homeschool her starting 6th grade.

Spear is thriving in school. He is sad about summer coming because he loves school so much!

Longterm I’m not yet decided on what the future will hold for Spear. I assume we’ll keep him in school until 6th grade.

However, I can see also him being really involved in school sports. If that’s the case then homeschooling may not be the best fit for him. So we’ll see!

A big lesson I’ve learned in this experience is that each child is so unique and we need to just take it one kid at a time, one school year at a time.

Plans for the Future – What About College?

Even though I’m taking it one school year at a time I can say with a pretty strong confidence that Kye and Britt will continue to be homeschooled throughout the rest of their school careers.

I just think once you go homeschool you don’t wanna go back!

We all love the freedom and flexibility. The time together. The less stressful life.

I offered it up to them both to explore options for the coming school year and there wasn’t much of a decision to be made! Of course if either of them wanted to try a different path, we’d look into it.

I know I’ve been asked IF they wanted to go back whether or not the credits would “count” and I’m honestly not 100% sure how all of that element would work. I’ve heard it’s not super complicated or difficult so I assume we’d figure it out!

I’m totally open to whatever routes they may want to explore!

I do think Kye is on the verge of a really big year – he’ll get his drivers license next year and I think his ability to drive will only open up more doors for him (including a job!).

A common question about homeschooling, and particularly with us using a non-accredited program, is about college.

First, we’re not believers in the idea that everyone must go to college. Neither Zach or I use our degrees. We aren’t pushing our kids towards college.

Second, if they desire to attend college or choose a career path that requires a college degree – homeschooling will not hold them back from that opportunity!

As we’re selecting Kye’s classes (and we’ll do the same for Britt when she enters high school) we are following the admission guidelines from our local college (Valdosta State University) to make sure we’re getting him the proper credits so he will have the option to apply if desired.

I’m using their Homeschool Admission Portfolio as well and making sure I track all of his classes and info required for the packet.

Kye is pretty confident that this point that he won’t attend a four year university. He’s visiting a college campus this summer so I’m interested to see if that changes his plan in any way!

He fully intends to work alongside Zach in our family business and is planning to take some dual enrollment courses to further his knowledge in areas that may be beneficial for the business. Gaps in which his skillset and talents can help fill!

Britt is really interested in pursuing a cosmetology certification. I’ve looked into our local technical college and, as of now, she can actually start the courses in the cosmetology field at age 16!

Her plan right now is to enroll in the cosmetology courses at 16, graduate from that 2 year program at age 18 and then apply for the Disney College Program.

We met a sweet Cast Member on a recent park visit who was homeschooled, did a similar degree program at age 16, and got in the college program at age 18!

My Thoughts on Homeschooling

If you’d asked me a few years ago if I’d ever homeschool my kids I probably would have said NO WAY. I’m a natural Type-A personality and very, very hard on myself.

I have been shocked at how easy this has been (SO much EASIER for both me and for them!) and how little is actually required OF ME.

The online school program is fantastic. The kids are learning, they enjoy the classes and teachers and I’m never needing to answer questions or offer them any help.

I think waiting to homeschool until middle school is a great blend. They get to have all the fun of elementary school while also getting all those basic educational fundamentals!

I cannot fathom if I had to be trying to teach Spear to read right now haha I’m SO thankful for the talented teachers who pour into our babies!

A BIG takeaway for me this year is realizing that literally everything is educational.

Learning is happening all around us, every day.

Having my kids home has allowed them to receive all sorts of education in areas that they wouldn’t have had in the classroom setting.

Living out on this land means they know how to drive a tractor, work with their hands, and help out with day to day tasks.

Running errands with me means they’ve learned about budgeting, meal planning, price comparison.

They make their own lunches and have had excellent conversations about nutrition, have learned how to cook, ensure they drink enough water, etc.

The list goes on and on. Having them home has helped me be more aware of little moments where learning can happen.

I know that homeschool is a privilege. I would never say that it’s something that every family should feel pressured to consider, but I do think if a family is able to that it is WORTH considering.

I am so thankful for the opportunity I was given to consider it for our family and am so thankful that Zach supported me when I felt strongly that it was what God was desiring for our family this year.

It was a crazy time in our lives to make such a huge change but it’s been such an incredible experience so far and I’m only encouraged and excited for the years ahead!

Reflections on our first year homeschooling - homeschool for 6th grade and homeschool for 9th grade. What we love, what we'll change, and what I'd do differently!