Bamboo Sprouts

School Situation


So here we are…huddled back around our kitchen table.  🙂  But look, we gave the traditional school idea a pretty good whirl!  Four months.  I think that was long enough to know what works best for us and yet not so long that we aren’t able to “catch up” by the end of this school year.  I don’t know much for sure, but I do know that no one way works best for everyone and I am thankful that we have options!  I think I was a little afraid of popping them in traditional school before and now I see that they (we) can manage in that setting just fine.  I won’t say that we will never put all or even just one back in a traditional school at some point, but for now, we have decided that homeschooling is the best fit for our family.

Some days I compose lengthy posts in my head about my observations from this experience but mostly, I just know what needs to be done now.  I appreciated many things about our time at the school we were at, and I don’t have regrets about that decision.  We all learned a few things, especially me!  I can assure those of you who were surprised that we enrolled them in traditional school that it went fine overall!  And I can assure those of you who are disappointed that we would go back to homeschooling, that this is best for us right now!  All is well.  🙂

As for the kiddos perspectives, well they have mixed feelings, but overall they are on board with returning to homeschooling.  Sophie was the first one to be ready to come back home but she struggles with change so we just encouraged her to stick it out and adjust for the most part.  I think Bella loved it at first and then felt lost in the crowd toward the end.  And she certainly was the least academically challenged during her time there.  This bothered us more than her though because the social aspects kept her entertained enough.  Levi did the best in school.  I didn’t see much progress academically, but he blossomed personally.  His teacher was a good match for him and maybe because he is a boy (?), he wasn’t too affected by some of the negatives in the environment.  Toward the end he also asked to return to homeschooling, but overall, I think he did the best in that setting.

The bottom line though is that we don’t let kiddos make these decisions.  It is just too big for them.  We have asked for input all along, mostly in an effort to know what was going on at school and how they were doing there, but everyone knew all along that it was ultimately up to us to decide how to continue. 

On the last day of school, which was also class Christmas party day, both Rick and I attended so that we could help with the parties and to wrap things up and say goodbye.  It was a half day and afterward we went to a little Greek restaurant for lunch and during that lunch, in a very general way, I said something like well now what are we going to do?  Sophie responded that now we are going to get back to living our wonderful life.  🙂  It was very cutie pie and affirming.  And if I was to try to say in a nutshell what didn’t work for us these last four months, I would say that our quality of life suffered.  I would say that homeschooling allows us to live a much more full life and we missed that very much.

So that is that.  🙂

I had already purchased much of our curriculum before we enrolled them in August so we are keeping most of that, but I am switching a few things.  For those who are curious about this sort of thing, here is what we are using for the rest of this school year.  We will have to buckle down a bit to finish it all in the next few months, but I think it is pretty managable.  We may skip a few things and we may work a bit longer (but we will have a summer break…that is one thing I learned in the last few months!  Breaks are important!).


Our main guide.


I have always been happy with this writing program so we are sticking with it. 


Math U See for Levi and Bella.  They started this last year but only made it about half way through which is perfect since we have about half a school year to finish up and it is second grade level which fits better for this year than last.  I like Math U See ok but I have figured out that I just don’t like teaching math in general.  Teaching Textbooks begins in third grade so Sophie is starting that this year and I hope the other two will start it in the fall! 

Sophie’s math- Teaching Textbooks, a program done on the computer.

The math situation around here is the biggest bummer.  Sophie made a bit of progress so should be fine with our curriculum or catch up pretty quickly.  Levi made no progress and went backwards (forgot) a bit, but I think it will come back to him.  Bella though!  My goodness.  They had her doing dot to dot pictures as “math”!  I don’t want this post to turn into a rant but if I did, this might be the topic of it.  Last May Bella was doing hundreds and thousands place addition with carrying and such!  So to be honest, I don’t even know where to start with her but I need to get her back up to speed.  For now, I dug out some old Saxon math fact books and am hoping it will all come back to her pretty fast.


Spelling Workout is a good little spelling program that offers them a quick, daily activity page and a test at the end of the week.  Simple and fine.


This is a newer version of the program we have always used for grammar. Sophie is level 3, Levi and Bella are starting level 2 books.


I am most excited about our new history and science.  We are switching from Story of the World to History Odyssey.  I love how clearly it is laid out and from what I can tell in previewing it, it will hold their attention better and offer us much more in the way of hands on activities.  FUN!  It references Story of the World a lot so we will still be using that in addition to Odyssey.


For science we will be using Science Odyssey 1- Earth.  Also very excited about this!  Lots of experiments using pretty typical household items and a very clear list of additional items to have on hand.  This format should work well for us.


I will use this book to teach art classes.  Might supplement this on a weekly basis but will use this at least on a monthly basis to offer an art class to other homeschooling families. 

Everyone is finally taking off with reading.  We did not have any early readers, but we do have three kiddos who love books, the library and reading.  Sophie now reads avidly.  Levi probably seeks out reading as an activity the least, but he is getting there.  Bella is very excited to just be starting on chapter books.  We have R and R time each day for them to read and rest.  They also do a reading comprehention sheet each day, will read aloud during school hours as it comes up and they are read to each night.

Sophie will start this very basic Latin program.

Girls will continue with ballet.

Sophie will continue with piano lessons and Bella is just starting.

Levi will take swimming lessons.

All will continue with Chinese school which includes language, culture and dance.

And if we have time to spare (and that is the plan!), they are interested in learning to sew, crochet and cook and Levi would also like to take a martial arts class (we are accepting donations for all these activities!!  ha).

(oops!  low camera battery = blurry pic!)

Wish us luck.  🙂

7 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    🙂 Obviously I love this post. Not that traditional school wasn’t a fit for your family…but I just LOVE homeschooling so much 🙂

  2. Michal Dillon

    GOOD LUCK!! And I mean that. I have been wondering how things were going. We homeschool Evelyn (7 and in second grade) but man can she be a booger sometimes! Today we started back after the holiday break ( a VEEERRRY long holiday break due to a very serious and extended illness in the family) and it was a rough day. Every once in awhile I daydream about sending her to “school school” as she calls it.
    It is so nice to read about a family where the parents make the decisions by listening and paying attention to the kids.

  3. Patricia/nyc

    “And if I was to try to say in a nutshell what didn’t work for us these last four months, I would say that our quality of life suffered. I would say that homeschooling allows us to live a much more full life and we missed that very much.”

    This statement, my friend, says it all! I applaud you for testing the traditional school waters & I applaud your decision to go with what works for your family. Just look at how happy they are in that last photo!!

    I wish we had more options here…granted, I live in a big city, but the negative influences in traditional school here start way.too.early.

    I don’t think you need any luck, I think you will all do just fine!! 🙂

  4. Holly

    I loved this post. I totally totally understand. I homeschooled for the first time when we only had 2 children then in grades 1 and 4. I only did it for half of the year then put them back into school. It was only AFTER they went back into school that second semester that I was able to see the huge difference in the quality of life we were living when homeschooling versus when they went away to school. We began 2nd and 5th grades homeschooling with a long term committment and now they are in 8th and 11th grades and we’ve added a now K/1st grader and a preschooler with another K/1st on the way 🙂
    I miss blogging so very much. Are you on facebook? Email me if you are. I will still drop in occasionally here 🙂 Happy New Year!

  5. Dawn

    I think it’s a good thing that you tried the traditional school for a bit just to see how it was, even if it wasn’t perfect. You sound like you are so organized and on top of the homeschooling thing that you do a great job with it. It’s important to get your kids’ opinions on things, but, like you said, you make the final decision, and it seems like homeschooling is the best thing for your family. Right now I’m very happy with two of my kids’ situations in school, but the third not so much. I don’t think I could ever homeschool, though, so I may think of trying to supplement a bit at home. Your kids are so cute and look so happy and they are going to get a great education with you as their teacher.

  6. AMEN! Our family has religious reasons for homeschooling thrown in to the mix…BUT, even if we didn’t, homeschooling for “quality of family life” would be reason enough! I’m glad you tried public school…and I’m glad y’all are back to homeschooling!

  7. Heather

    Isn’t it great to have options?

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