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Our Homeschool Journey, Part 1

Hello! For those of you who are new to HOJ, we own a handmade wooden sign business that started way back in 2011! You can read more about our story here and shop our website here!

The Beginning of our Homeschool Journey

In the summer of 2018, we made a big move from the central valley of California, to Boise, Idaho! We (at the time) had no family here, or friends. We were seeking true freedom in all aspects of our lives, and raising our 2 children in a happy environment was at the top of the list. What started out as a cancelled trip to Disneyland, turned into a vacation to Idaho. 45 days later we had sold our home in CA, bought our current home here in ID, and the rest is history. It was a whirlwind. (More on our move in another blog post!)

This blog may be lengthly, so here's your warning. But, to further be able to grasp our story in its entirety, I feel it necessary to be of length.

At the end of 2018, our son was starting 1st grade and our daughter was starting Pre-K. You would think that by now I would be used to sending my oldest off to school, but I just wasn't. J is right on the cut off having a late August birthday, so he started Pre-K at 3, Kinder at 4, and 1st at 5 years old... turning the next age 2 weeks (give or take) into the school year. It always felt incredibly insane to me that I would be sending him off to school for 7+ hours a day. (B, our daughter, has a late October birthday so she's the opposite. She misses the cut off, where J barely makes it!)

Our son is a social butterfly. He loves people. He loves to make friends and is the sweetest kid. He loved going to school! My daughter is a social butterfly as well, but also a total Mama's girl, who had mentioned many times when the subject of school got brought up,  "I'll just stay with you forever, Mom." Fine by me, kid. Let's do this. 

Guys, I just wasn't ready to cut the cord and send her off to school. (And that's not to say it was easy by any means for me to send my son to Pre-K. It wasn't. I cried the entire first day, 3 1/2 hours long. The. Entire. Day. Like a sap. I mean, come on. Shouldn't I be happy? Freedom, right? Wrong.) Peep this picture and caption I wrote on Facebook to document my sorrow.

Our son was so ready to go to school. He couldn't wait! Who was I to keep him home? Doesn't everyone send their kids off to school? That's just the norm, right? My family and friends told me I would be fine and I'll start to love it. Truthfully, I didn't. I couldn't wait to pick him up every single day and I was always there at least 20 minutes early like a freak.

Back to the story of 2018...

We made the move to Boise, Idaho and we enrolled our son into his new school. He made new friends, had no problem adjusting and still loved school, very much! His 1st grade year went off without a hitch. B was still too young to head to school yet, so she stayed home with me and worked along my side in the garage playing with tools. 

Fast forward to 2019. Our son started 2nd grade and our daughter was supposed to start Pre School. I decided a week before I was supposed to enroll her, that I was in fact, not going to do that at all. I was going to homeschool her. Had I ever thought about doing this? Maybe in the back of my mind, I did. But I never said it out loud. What will my family think? What will my friends think? I just pushed the feeling out of my head and ignored the pull in my gut... until I couldn't.

I gently mentioned the idea of homeschooling oh-so gradually at the dinner table one night to my husband. (Who is a saint, by the way. If you know him personally, you know this to be true). He was totally on board. "If that's what you want to do, I'm on board." He said. Music to my ears. He's always been my biggest supporter and I honestly couldn't do life without him. (enter eye roll, I know, I know.) But, it's true. I was so excited - time to do what I do best, work well under pressure. I have a week to figure this shit out. I rolled up my sleeves, poured a cup of coffee, and hit the internet. 

That was it. I kept my daughter home and taught her off of free printed worksheets I found on Pinterest and teacherspayteachers.com (an excellent resource I still use to this day!) We had an empty, unused space that we turned into a "school" room with a round table in the middle, colorful posters on the wall, and all the art supplies a kid could ever imagine. This worked out great because we used it as a place for our son to do homework as well. 

I will be sharing a lot of what we did during her first year of homeschool, and I'll update this post when I have that blog written up for those who have preschoolers and are interested! 

The school year was going good. J's 2nd grade teacher wasn't my absolute favorite, but other than a few hiccups, it was fine. He enjoyed school and that's what mattered to me. B was happy as could be with homeschool and told everyone she came in contact with that she was finally in school like her big brother.

Then, COVID-19 happened. This is where our story really starts to take form.

Part 2 coming soon!

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