Homeschooling: We Finished our Second Year!

we finished our second year of homeschooling

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We’re wrapping up our second full year of homeschooling and, on the off chance that my experience could help someone else, I’m sharing how things went for us.

Believe me, I’m just as surprised as you are. When I was going to school to earn my teaching certificate, I never thought I’d end up teaching my own kids and not someone else’s kids!

Just as I use Facebook as life long baby books for my kids (you know, because who has time to actually write things down and print out photos! ha!), I’m using the blog to document our homeschooling experiences.

We had lots of changes this year. Some exciting, some not so much…but all just as important in our homeschool experience and lives.

Changes from Year 1 to Year 2

Curriculum

I’m feeling like our changes in curriculum was one of the biggest “happenings” this year, so I’m starting with that. Go big or go home, right?

During our first year of homeschooling, we had a super busy “work” schedule. Prior to starting, I had asked the boys if they wanted to learn by doing paper/pencil activities or if they wanted to learn through online options. They picked paper/pencil, so that’s what we did.

You guys. Those of you with more than 1 child doing mainly parent-led and paper/pencil lessons…I’m in awe of your abilities. Can I send over a cup of coffee? Maybe take care of dinner for you and your family one night?

image of a mom holding a cup of coffee with two children on her side
This is the photo we used to announce that we were going to homeschool for good! It’s not official ’til it’s on social media, right?!

Paper/pencil lessons with multiple children, at multiple grade levels and abilities can be super frustrating and overwhelming!

Last year, I had the boys do social studies, science, and “electives” together, but would do individual lessons for math and language arts. I was overwhelmed, they were overwhelmed…something had to give.

This year, though? We decided to change things up. I still appreciate the quality of the lessons our previous homeschool curriculum provided, but we just needed a break.

I signed both boys up for a trial of Miacademy after seeing recommendations from friends. It’s totally online and can be used as a full or supplemental curriculum.

It’s been amazing for us! They get to have ownership over their lessons and I’m right there if they need help. We still do supplement with a variety of other activities, but, for the most part, the boys have moved over from all paper/pencil curriculum to a majority of online lessons.

Learning Space

When we first started homeschooling, we were also in the middle of a basement remodel. Now, our original design wasn’t too far off from the end result, but we did make a few changes to allow for the basement to become our “mommy school” area. (The boys came up with the name “mommy school” – how cute, right?!)

You guys. We hardly spent any time at all in that basement!

The certified teacher in me was thinking “oh! let’s make a classroom.” The previously public-schooled children were on board with that thinking because that’s what they were used to.

You know what, though? A comfy sofa wins over a desk and chair every.single.time.

Now, instead of stressing over trying to replicate the public school setting, we are more “go with the flow” and let learning happen wherever it may.

Instead of the basement serving as “mommy school,” we’re now in the process of turning the basement into our home offices and home business headquarters. We’re also using the cabinets and bookshelves to store homeschooling materials so all those cabinets and bookshelves we (read: my husband) installed are not a total loss.

Want to know what’s funny? Hours scrolling through TikTok and Instagram warned me of this. All the homeschool moms were like “don’t try to make a classroom at home!” My stubborn butt thought things would be different for us. They’re not.

Take this as a learning experience and don’t get all stressed out trying to replicate a classroom setting at home.

Or don’t. I get it. Homeschool moms tend to do what they want and that’s totally ok. #beentheredonethat

homeschool travel opportunities cover image from that homeschool family

Traveling

Yes, the pandemic was the ultimate final “straw that broke the camel’s back” when it came to deciding whether or not to pull our kids from public school. It wasn’t the only reason, but it was one of the reasons.

Because of that, our homeschooling experience didn’t start off with much travel. Instead, we mostly stayed close to home. The kids would play in the background and, from time to time, at local playgrounds (you know, when government schools were in session), and we’d visit attractions that had an outdoor component.

sitting at the Baltimore Museum of Art
One of my favorite photos from our visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art!

We’ve been growing more and more comfortable going to indoor spaces and our travel patterns have reflected that.

Just in the last 6 months or so, the boys and I have taken a number of quick little educational getaways. We have plenty more planned so keep your fingers crossed that we continue to feel comfortable doing so (for all of our sakes!).

Ever since we started homeschooling, homeschool travel has been something we’ve all looked forward to. As so many others, my kids (and I!) learn best through hands-on experiences. What better way to learn about the world than to travel it?!

Heading into our Third Year of Homeschooling

I’m sure I could continue writing about the differences between our first and second years of homeschooling forever. They were vastly different…as they should be. We’re always growing and learning and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

How about you? How long have you been homeschooling for? Are you more of a homeschooling newbie or a seasoned homeschooling parent? I’d love to hear about your experiences, too! Leave a comment below or feel free to tag me on social media when you share your homeschooling stories.

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

That Homeschool Family in Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud 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.

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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