Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Year 2/Week 34: The Year I Stopped Searching and Surrendered

Dear Father, forgive me. It's been three months since my last Homeschool Blog entry.

I can't begin to list the differences between homeschooling this year, our second year, and last year. However, I think the biggest difference overall is that I've completely narrowed my focus. I've stopped searching under every rock for all the possible different curricula/approaches/gadgets I could use in our homeschool (although, to be fair, it was the right way to start and now I own about everything I could possibly need..) - and now, I've started to teach from a new place. My own center. Now that I belong to every possible email/Yahoo newslist and group in my town and state, along with a multitude of support groups of every possible need I could have, I find that all that information is starting to sound like a lot of noise these days.

I have what I need, at least for now. My boys' needs change every day and some days I think we are going down the entirely wrong path and panic. Then we take a break for a day, a week, a month...and we end up back with the same tools that have worked for us and they start to work for us again. All the wheels start to mesh again and the great Varga Homeschool machine begins it's beautiful humming pace.

It has been a long, hard year. We started the year with a terrible attitude in the midst of our group (he who shall remain nameless...OLDEST SON) and it almost killed our school. Every day seemed an agony and the joy was gone. It had started to appear at the end of our first year of homeschool, so now my dread over the summer and lack of enthusiasm when we re-started in September make perfect sense, although it baffled me at the time.

My oldest son also spent most of 2013 scaling that awful, terrible trainwreck of a brick wall we call “Long Division”. I thought we would both lose our minds, however for different reasons, because math has always been easy for me and my challenge was to see the problems the way HE saw them. But somewhere along the way, God had mercy on us, equations began to make sense and we started to make slow progress and chug slowly down the track again. I guess it didn't really matter anyway, because we lost most of our next year to vacations and family tragedies that would sidetrack anyone. 

Derailed briefly by the holiday crazy that is Christmas, we had already lost some momentum and never really gotten it back, but then when we hit April, we totally lost it. We had expected to lose school time during Holy Week and the following weeks when we had planned our annual “big” vacation to Disney, but we hadn't expected to lost the next week to the death of a beloved family member and the week after that to a flood in our basement due to a rusted-out water heater. It turned from ugly, then into unbelievable, and finally into surrender. That's when I learned the biggest “downside” of homeschool:

Every..Single...Thing that happens at home affects homeschooling.

But here's the good news: Here we sit in the first week of June and everyone is actually doing amazing. School work is clicking along at a record pace, everyone is doing their work diligently and I don't feel stress during the school day at all. Well, until they poke each other for the umpteenth time and I think my brain will explode. But that's boys, not homeschool...

At this rate, we plan to keep schooling right through the summer, with our planned week-long mini vacations still happening in between, and maybe a larger break in August before the “real” school year begins. It's not the way we did it last year-and it may not be the way we do it next year-and that's okay.

Because I'm the principal and this is our school.

And every day is “home” school. :)


  1. This is great! I love it. I can hardly believe it has been two years. How did it go by so quickly? Also, I think it is so cool home school can be any time of the year.

  2. So glad to hear your second year is much smoother for you all. Homeschooling does have a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you find your groove, it's a wonderful journey.

    We tried many different curriculum programs and styles until we found one that clicked with my daughter's learning style--right-brained visual learner. We ended up using Time4Learning, Teaching Textbooks, and supplemented with Drive Thru History and life skills.

    Best wishes to you guys for a relaxing summer full of great memories and great strides in learning.