School Days

I’ve only ordered one thing online from the States since we moved here at the beginning of March. It was our homeschool curriculum. I ordered and had it shipped via UPS. After a few small glitches and a few large moments of panic, we finally received the package. The short version of the story: if you’re having something shipped overseas, pay the taxes online or they’ll show up at your door and ask for cash and they don’t accept credit cards. I am usually pretty good about keeping some cash on hand here in Europe, but I didn’t have any the first day he tried to deliver. Then I realized I could pay the invoice online. So I stalked and practically accosted our poor UPS driver the next time he came to deliver. There’s a pretty good chance the he thinks I’m completely nuts. There’s also a pretty good chance he’s not wrong…

A lot of homeschoolers use a school-year schedule. That doesn’t seem to work well for our family, so we homeschool year-round. This works well for us as we take breaks at different times. In Austin, we often take off the entire month between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then homeschool during the hot summer days instead. This year the flexibility has been quite a gift. We have done so much traveling that there’s no way the kids would thrive in a regular school environment. We “do school” on weekdays when we’re in Leuven and we take breaks whenever we travel.

I wasn’t the only one who was excited to receive new books!

We pulled out all of the materials and the kids tried to read about half of the books while I tried to check everything off the packing list. There are a lot of books!!!

These are the Instructor’s Guides that are all about to be sorted into the BIG binder sitting on my lap. This guidebook is my primary resource during the school year.

If you know me, you’ll know that I love to be organized. I love to be able to have a place for everything. This is one of the things I most enjoy about buying a boxed curriculum. All I have to do is sort this out and follow the directions.

I love to set up all my Instructor’s Guide every year. This is me in my happiest of happy places.

We have chosen to use a literature-based curriculum, so we spend a LOT of our day reading. I hope the kids will someday look back on their days as homeschoolers and remember us snuggled up together with a good book (or 70). In addition to the “spine” of our BookShark curriculum, both kids are using Beast Academy Online for math (although they both enjoy reading the comic-book style textbooks, too). They are working on Keyboarding Without Tears so they can learn proper typing techniques. We are using All About Spelling to improve their spelling skills. Laine is about half-way through her final level of All About Reading. It will be bittersweet when she finishes that particular curriculum as she started it with the Pre-reading level several years ago and it’s been a big part of our homeschool for both of my kids.

This year’s piles of books are all sorted into their categories – at least temporarily. That binder Isaac is holding up is the Instructor’s Guide. This is *just* the new curriculum, so it doesn’t show all of the extra stuff they’re working on.

Another of our favorite parts of the new school year is taking the first-day pictures. While my son isn’t always eager to be in front of the camera, this day we all had a lot of fun with it because the kids got to pose with their favorite toys and wear their favorite outfits… after I got the “official” shots. Give and take, right? Thank goodness I remembered to pack their school shirts back in February!

Fourth Grade Boy
Second Grade Girl – without shoes because we homeschool
Ready for another year of elementary school

I also got them to take a few shots with the teacher. This is my fifth year guiding our homeschool and I am thankful for the time we’ve had. Homeschool has been the right answer for our family, particularly this year, and I hope we get to continue this for a long time to come.

Back to School!
One last “official” photo

Our school year is off to a great start. On the weeks when we finish everything we’re supposed to finish, we go out for a little treat on Friday afternoons to celebrate. We’re trying to fit in all of the Belgian waffles we can while we still can. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

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