Homeschooling Update: We Finished our 4th Year Homeschooling!

multiple number 4 balloons

Can you believe we’ve already finished our 4th year homeschooling? Today, I’m sharing what’s worked for us so far, what we’re changing, and the general game plan for our upcoming 5th year of homeschooling.

First…holy moly. The years really have flown by.

Like so many, we started as 2020 homeschoolers. Prior to 2020, we had a number of not-so-great experiences with the public school system. It was only a matter of time before we made the decision to homeschool, but 2020 was the final straw.

I know 2020 wasn’t easy for anyone. The teachers were thrown into the chaos of having to quickly learn how to teach online, parents were left juggling kids & jobs. It was an experience, that’s for sure!

And, it was an experience that resulted in us making the decision to give homeschooling a try!

We started off deschooling, and then delved into the world of figuring out friends, curriculum, co-ops…our new life. It hasn’t been easy, but I have a feeling it was way less stressful than staying in the public school system would’ve been.

Our Year in a Nutshell

The 2023/2024 year of homeschooling was unlike any of our other homeschooling years! We made the big move from New Jersey to Georgia, leaving behind the only home my kids ever knew, friendships we were grateful for and had relied on, family living within driving distance, and so much more.

We didn’t make the decision to move without thinking it would be the best option for our family, though. My husband was offered a wonderful job opportunity we just couldn’t pass that up.

We were able to move into a home that’s a better fit for our family (and all our stuff!), have more land on which to have a vegetable garden, and get to enjoy a much more temperate climate. My husband is no longer spending every moment of “extra” time renovating a home and now gets to spend more quality time with us!

kia manufacturing plant
Getting to take a tour of the Kia Manufacturing Facility in Georgia was certainly a highlight of the past year!

We’re still working on making friends, but we’re getting there! It’s been really tough going from having tightknit friendships to knowing absolutely no one at all. Tears have been shed, feelings have been hurt, and there have been times we’ve felt like giving up on finding friends, but we’re starting to make progress in the “friend department” now.

If you ask me, I feel like there are two things working against us when it’s come to finding friends in the south:

  1. The age of my kids: The boys are tweens now, ages 10 & 12. Most of the groups I’ve found tend to be geared for the pre-k to early elementary-age kids.
  2. Being in the Bible Belt: We consider ourselves to be secular homeschoolers and it seems that many of the homeschooling groups down here tend to be faith-based. (Please note, I am in not referring to this in a negative manner.) We’re finding our “happy medium.”

In terms of life in general & friends, well, that’s where we are!

cole sleeping on the sofa
Our dog is thrilled we’ll continue homeschooling because that means…more nap time for him!

Homeschool Materials

In our four years of homeschooling, we’ve tried a little bit of everything. We’ve done all book work, we’ve done all online, we’ve done a mix with participating in co-ops and classes…we’ve done it all.

This past year, most of the intentional learning was done online with Miacademy. For a number of reasons, we’ve made the decision to switch from using Miacademy for the bulk of the lessons back to a combination of in-person classes and hands-on, book-rich learning.

One of my favorite perks of homeschooling is that learning can be completely customized to fit the child’s needs, so we’re very excited for these upcoming changes.

The boys will be attending a few in-person classes each week, allowing them the experience to learn in a group setting with a few teachers. When the boys are in class, I’ll get have more time to work on creating hands-on lessons for them and on the blog! Yay!

matthew at zoo
We’re all looking forward to more field trips!

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As far as the hands-on lessons, I’ll be using a few books to help guide us. I’ve picked up copies of the Big Fat Notebooks books and will be using them to create lessons and activities for the next few years. At least, that’s the plan – it could always change!

Along with the Big Fat Notebooks, the boys and I will piece together activities from various curriculums, field trips, library classes, educational travel, and such.

As much as the boys love technology, there was a need to step away from a completely online-based education. Every child is different so yours may thrive with an all-online homeschooling experience, but it was time for us to make a change.

Going Forward

We’ve chatted about some of our big life changes and what our plans for learning are. Does this mean that we’re going to continue homeschooling?

It sure does!

At this point, the boys are planning on homeschooling for the remainder of their school-age years. My husband and I are totally fine with that. If they decide otherwise, we’ll be totally fine with that, too.

Homeschooling isn’t necessarily about keeping kids out of the traditional school system. It’s about doing what works best for our kids. Right now, homeschooling is what’s best for them.

click find your new homeschooling community in our FREE Facebook Group! That Homeschool Family Hangout. homeschooling our kids, one adventure at at time

So, homeschooling will continue. That Homeschool Family will continue. As far as I know, living in Georgia will continue, too!

No complaints over here!

What about you? Will you be homeschooling next year, too? Do you plan on using any curriculum or homeschooling programs? Will you be joining a co-op? Come join the conversations over in That Homeschool Family Hangout.

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

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