avoiding homeschool stress: lessons learned in week 2

It’s our third week of homeschool-ness and here’s what I’ve observed: Avery is a typical kid.

Every teacher knows that the first week of school is not a proper indicator of how the year will progress. A kid who is quiet and shy during that first week may end up being your biggest challenge later. Conversely, a child who misbehaves the first week may end up being your brightest student. Maybe the kids are on some euphoric high from the the smell of new crayons and glue sticks, but that first week is always the same: students are wide-eyed, excited, and eager participants in the learning process.

Then Week 2 rolls around. Week 2 is when reality sets in. Things aren’t so new and exciting anymore and the kids realize that they are going to have to stretch their brains, listen, and focus. After a long summer break spent sleeping late, watching t.v., playing, and generally not thinking – Week 2 is no fun. For anyone.

Avery is a typical kid.

Week 2 was hard. Week 2 consisted of a lot of whining, complaining, and general fussiness. If I weren’t the most amazing mom on the planet, I would have almost lost my “Jesus” a couple of times. I might have led a firm “discussion” in which I threatened to march her right over to our neighborhood school and drop her off. There might have been tears…if I weren’t the most amazing mom on the planet.

Just call me Task Master Tillman.

Anyway – we survived the dreaded Week 2, and have found our groove. It’s a groove that involves a behavior chart and a bit of bribery, but it works. For now.

Workbooks and textbooks are unavoidable in the educational realm, but since Avery seems to be allergic to them I am trying to avoid them as much as possible. That calls for a little creativity. One of the things that is really cool about homeschooling is that I have the option to cater to my child’s specific learning preferences and style. While workbooks create stress for Avery, hands-on activities create excitement and interest. Excitement + interest = no whining. Score.

Avery loves to label stuff. I’m constantly finding her name written on walls, doors, and even this ancient relic that we inherited when we bought our home:



This week, in honor of Avery’s love of labeling and dislike for workbooks, I had her write her spelling and sight words on construction paper and post them in the playroom. I let her put them wherever she wants them to go, the only rule is that she must write them herself and read them as she places them on the wall.

writing words

wall words

Tomorrow, we will play a game where I’ll call out the word and she has to run to touch it as quickly as she can.

Here’s a little Art project we did to go along with our Charlotte’s Web book study:

charlotte's web art

Don’t you just love Googly eyes?  I don’t know what it is, but I’m kind of obsessed with them. They make me smile. Charlie joined in on our project and cut out the spider by himself. I thought he did a pretty good job! It always surprises me to find out what interests him. He loves listening to chapter books and doing art…when he’s not playing ninja and terrorizing our dog.

One of our lessons called for teaching about apostrophes, so I decided to incorporate some possessives from Charlotte’s Web. I wrote the names of characters from the book on a strip of paper, and an item that is associated with that character on another strip. Avery had to match the character to the appropriate item and then write an apostrophe + s between the word strips.


finished apostrophes

Avery isn’t too crazy about the Early Reader that she has to read as part of her curriculum. So last week, (after a particularly stressful reading lesson) we went to the Library and picked out Early Readers that are just right for her. Since she chose them, she was actually excited about reading them. She even read them “teacher style” to David, Charlie, and me after dinner.

read aloud

read aloud 2

Dear goodness. Homeschooling definitely has it’s up’s and down’s…and it’s amazing that you can experience all of those high’s and low’s in just one day. Here’s to avoiding Week 2 for at least another year.


8 thoughts on “avoiding homeschool stress: lessons learned in week 2

  1. I love your ideas too! I’ve been forced to think outside of the box for one of my kids, as far as tests go…I’ve discovered that as smart as he is, he doesn’t test well. Unless I test him orally. Then he does great!

    Thanks for being transparent~we too have times when we cry. All of us. Them, me, all of us. And we have many, many discussions on how we are to go about each day in a way that would make Jesus happy. We start with devotion and prayer, then we go about our regular day.

    Just today, I made my younger two pinky promise that they would give God and me their best all year~academically, spiritually and in our school work. I think I’m going to make them write an honor statement to me, kinda like we had to back in the days of ECS. 😉

    Keep it up, my friend! Remember~your worst day far outweighs one good day back in her previous school.

  2. I am amazed by you! I am cheering out loud right now for you and your precious Avery. It takes a special person to be a teacher and an even more special person to be mom and teacher. Good for you! I can’t wait to read more of your posts.

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