3rd Quarter Evaluation


Last year when we decided to home school our son, we said that we would take it a year at a time, and evaluate our situation each year as we planned for the next.  Well, the time has come for us to make plans for next fall and we have decided to continue home schooling using our tutorial for first grade.  (or grammar I as the classical folks like to call it)

Since we reached that decision, I thought I’d take this time to reflect on the highs and lows of our home school experience as felt during this third quarter phase.  (I recall from my days of teaching school that the third quarter is one of the hardest and boy have I felt that this year as well… end of the year still too far in the distant… the rush of adrenaline from the beginning of the year is past, the thrill of the breaks from the holidays is over, and now it is time to just work, work work…. and motivate, motivate, motivate)

How about a Hi/Lo List on our home school experience?


  • I love being such an integral part of his learning process.  I love planning field trips and doing extension activities with the kids at home.
  • I love being able to witness him learn and watch the wheels in his brain turn as he works out a concept.
  • I love the flexibility it gives us and the extra bonding/quality time it affords our family
  • I love how much the girls are learning and growing by being a part of the process with us

I don’t home school b/c I am afraid of the public school system.  In fact, Scott and I plan to eventually put our kids into the local public school.  I don’t feel qualified to teach my kids advanced math, or physics, or let’s get real… algebra for that matter.  But, I do feel qualified to teach them at the elementary level… so in a manner of speaking, I home school now, because I can.  I think my biggest motivator is that I want to spend more time with my kids.  At 5, I am not ready to send my son off for 7 hrs of his 13 waking hours.  I don’t want his teachers and classmates to get my son for the majority of his day and leave me trying to cram in some quality time between after school snack, dinner, and baseball practice in the evening.   And I don’t want to give up those afterschool activities either.  I love watching the kids play soccer and baseball and gymnastics and swimming.  I want them to be able to do those things and I think I’d be much less inclined to have them participate if doing so, meant giving up the bulk of what little time I had with them each day.  


  • As much as I LOVE our tutorial (more on that below) I hate the stress of getting the crew fed, dressed and out the door twice a week so we can be there on time.  We are always that family that is racing in the front door with either one second to spare before opening starts or sitting in the back of the chapel b/c we were a few minutes too late.  I am quite fearful of what an infant will do to that rat race next fall… thinking it most likely won’t help us get there early! (and I am so thankful we only meet twice a week)
  • I struggle with how to structure our day and how to fit everything in, and meet all of my children’s needs (not just the child we are home schooling)
  • I struggle with building in opportunities for the kids to play with other kids.  How do I make time for play dates and make sure we get our school work done and juggle my responsibilities as home maker as well?

By biggest battle and struggle this year has been with scheduling our non tutorial days.  We go to the tutorial on Mon and Wed and we have assignments to be completed on Tues, Thurs, and Fri.  Thursdays we signed up to attend Bible Study Fellowship in the morning.  This is a program that has a Bible study class for me while at the same time providing age appropriate Bible study/preschool instruction for each of the three kids.  The kids LOVE BSF, but it takes a huge chunk of time away from one of our “at home days.”  I am currently riding the fence on whether to drop out of BSF or finish the year.  Our school time is taking more time now than in the fall and I have found our school days go MUCH more smoother when we start our day with school in the morning than when we try to cram it in the afternoon.  To be honest, I tend to cut more corners in the afternoon and my focus is on dinner and house work.  Also, the girls are much more needy and my son is more tired in the afternoon.  It just doesn’t work as well for us to do it in the afternoon.  What I can’t decide if I can just make it work for the next 8 weeks and finish out the year or if I should release myself from the stress and stop now.  Next year we won’t be able to attend b/c they don’t offer classes for 1st grade during the daytime.   

If we didn’t have our tutorial, I wouldn’t home school.  It is just such a good fit for us.  I know I give up the freedom of picking my own curriculum and I give up some freedom in my schedule as well, but it is a trade off I feel worth while, as it gives my child experience in a classroom environment, the opportunity to learn from and be evaluated by someone other than myself, and it provides me with accountability and support in the teaching process.   It works well for us.  It is not a perfect situation, but we feel the pros out weigh the cons for us at this point.  I am also really grateful for the community we are becoming a part of there and the friendships we are building.  Even the girls have made friends with younger siblings of kids in my son’s class.  

So, that is where we are this year.  There have been difficult days and I struggle with how to  juggle the hats of mom, teacher, wife, home maker, and friend (I have pretty much dropped off the planet to my friends this year making very little time for them and becoming quite antisocial—an easy thing for an introvert such as myself to do).  But, I am truly enjoying this stage of our family life.  I am cherishing the extra time we have together and am thankful for the opportunity to serve as both teacher and mother to my children.   I look forward to continuing this journey next year.


  1. I have a solution that allows you to stick with BSF and keep the tutorial format ... come to our T/R tutorial!

    Glad you have enjoyed your year.


  2. Crystal, I read your blog whenver I get a chance. Seeing it on FB has helped to remind me! I wanted to send you a hug since it really has been quite and exciting and exhausting year for you! My only advice is to not fret over giving up something that is great like BSF, if that is where God is pointing you. I had to make that decision a while back and even though I miss the organized feeding, I know God knew I could not do it all. I also wanted to thank you for giving me encouragement through your post. I am not homeschooling but going to school myself and since I started I have been juggling things as well and feeling as if I need 10 more hours in my day! Have a great afternoon.

  3. Crystal,
    Delurking to say: We visited your son's class when we attended open house. They were working so hard, and we were very impressed by what we saw. Teacher seemed lovely. Thanks for posting the highs and lows - really helpful for those of us coming after as we struggle to work through these decisions. Wondering how much time school takes to "do" each day?

  4. Any chance you wear a wonder woman costume at home? I think you're a superhero! What an inspiration. Your kids are truly blessed, and I'm sure it goes both ways!

  5. We came to homeschooling kind of spur of the moment this past fall but I am finding that I truly love it. I truly love the freedom and the time it gives me with my kids. I am not sure when/if they will go to school. I kind of think it is a possibility for high school but we will see. Either way for now it totally works for us and we love it. :)

  6. All things with prayer :) Allow God to speak to you in every situation and don't be afraid to do whatever He asks you to do, no matter what others may do. He is the one we are accountable to in the end concerning the discipling of our children. "He leadeth me, He leadeth me, by His own hand He leadeth me, His faithful follower I would be, for by His hand He leadeth me."

  7. Thanks for the tip on the worship music! I found their CD on itunes, and it had the song you were talking about.

    Many blessings on another year of homeschooling. You're doing a wonderful thing!


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