July 26, 2016

Mix and Match Schooling

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own, since I sincerely doubt that OshKosh B'gosh knows what I think about my first grader's academic options.

Last fall, we started out Ella's kindergarten year with her going to public school part-time and doing homeschool the rest of the time. A little mix and match, if you will.

We'd do a couple of hours of core-subject homeschool in the morning and then just before lunch, I'd drop her off at school where she'd spend a little time in the classroom, go to lunch, and then go to specials (art, library, gym, and music). Then I picked her up at the same time as all her classmates.

This worked pretty well for us from the end of July until just after Thanksgiving. She loved her teacher, and made quite a few friends in her class, and generally just seemed very happy.

And then, when she went back to school after Thanksgiving break, everything suddenly changed. I'd been prepared from the beginning that she might want to go to full-time school instead of doing homeschool, and I was okay with that option too, but I'd never suspected that it'd go the other way.

Instead of happily heading into school, we'd spend 5-10 minutes in front of the school while she asked if she could skip that day. She'd cry or beg and I just had no idea what was going on.

When I'd pick her up a few hours later, she'd be perfectly happy, and report on what had happened at school and all would be well.

Until the next day, when we're repeat the whole thing over again.

After a week or so of this, I thought, "I'm already homeschooling part-time - it's not that big of a deal for me just to homeschool her full-time instead. Why am I spending ten minutes negotiating with a 5-year-old to go to lunch in a cafeteria?"

I floated this idea to Bart, who initially was not in favor. But as we discussed it more, it started to seem like a good idea.

Our hope had been that dual-enrollment would be the best of both worlds, and in some ways that was true.

But in other ways, it was the worst of both worlds.

She was only in the classroom part of the time (she never mentioned anything about feeling left out, but when Bart took her in for the full-day on Bring Your Parent Day, he commented that several of the kids pointed out that Ella was there in the morning and that this was unusual).

It also meant that homeschooling was always cut short because she had to go to school, so we were always rushing and never had the time to do lots of the things I'd imagined us doing in homeschool.

A week or so before Christmas vacation, when it was clear that her unhappiness about going to school wasn't dissipating, we asked if she'd rather do full-time homeschool after Christmas break.

She was immediately on board.

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

When school started back up in January, I waited a few days to actually un-enroll her (I was worried that after a few days home, she'd miss her friends and want to go back), but she loved it from the first day. It was so much more relaxed, and we were able to really spend our time doing fun things in homeschool that we simply hadn't had time for before.

When I went in four days later and signed the forms, I came home to an email from her teacher saying she'd been put on bed rest, effective immediately and would be out for the rest of the year. I'd already known Ella would have a long-term sub for the last two months of the year (which was another thing that nudged me toward pulling her out), but now it was going to end up being three different long-term subs for the second half of the year.

So any hesitations I'd had left about pulling her out were gone.

And so, we did full-time homeschool for the rest of kindergarten.

We continued to get together with her friends many weeks after school at the park or for playdates, and I wondered if she'd want to go back to school for first grade, but every time I'd asked her about going back to public school, she insisted that she wanted to stay home.

And so, for first grade, we'll be homeschooling full-time.

I have no idea how long we'll homeschool, or if we'll look into charter schools in the future, or if she'll go back to the same elementary school next year or in the future, or if we'll try part-time again.

But for now, we'll leave the mix-and-matching to clothing and stick with homeschooling for this year.

Of course, just because she's not going to public school this fall, didn't mean that we didn't do some back to school shopping (she's had a major growth spurt over the past few months, and her closet was starting to look pretty sparse).

We stopped by OshKosh B’gosh and picked her up three new outfits, plus some new shoes (she was down to a single pair that only sort of fit).

Back to school with OshKosh B’gosh

One of the things I love about the outfits we bought is that they all mix and match, so three outfits goes a long way assuming no one has a run-in with their lunch or snack.

This blue tunic (check out the little pink bow in the back!) was a favorite, and I love how easy it is to pair with other items to make different outfits all along the range of casual and semi-dressy.

I also love how OshKosh B’Gosh has a ton of great sales and coupons (you can use the coupon code OKBG3136 for 25% off your order of $30 or more), plus their items really hold up well, which is a big deal for me with two other little girls down the line to wear the same things. You can find an Osh Kosh location near you here or shop online.


14 comments:

  1. Good for you guys doing what you feel is right! I love this story.
    I would love to homeschool!!!! I would love to hear more about your plans/how your day goes, especially with two other little ones. My daughter is a few days younger than Ella so I can relate well to that age. Are there others in your area that homeschool that you can coordinate with?

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  2. I'm so glad homeschooling has been such a positive experience for you guys! When my mom found out that we moved to a better school district she said, "So you're not going to do homeschooling anymore now that you have good schools right?" And then when I told her we were still doing it she was like, "I just feel so bad for him!" So here's a great example of it all working out well. Fist pump to you today.

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    1. I homeschool as well. We moved this past year to a MUCH safer place and my mom has given me grief over continuing to homeschool. "How is she going to socialize?" She socializes at church, in her dance class, at the park, etc. It is tough when everyone around you is so against you doing what you know is right for your family.

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  3. I have a son who just started Kindergarten last year (who I feel is academically and socially similar to Ella, from what I can gather). I thought my ideal was your solution--going for half a day for specials and homeschooling the rest. I couldn't make it work with our current school, so we jumped into full homeschooling. We're getting ready to move to a new school district, and when I thought about trying for a half day again, I realized my feelings had changed. A half day would interrupt so many of the things I loved about homeschooling! (Like traveling when we want, not rushing everyone out the door for pick ups, lots of extra family time, etc.) This post made me feel validated. Excited to hear more of your homeschool favorites and tips!

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  4. I'd love to hear what your typical home school day is like. Home schooling has often seemed to overwhelming to me, but you are such a deliberate and practical Mom that you make it sound easy! Please share.

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  5. I must agree with the other comments, a Day in the Life post would be very appreciated and super helpful. My oldest isn't even five yet and I've been on the fence about homeschooling for years. I have a background in early childhood education and I'm still nervous! I even had to research and write a paper about homeschooling myths (specifically socialization) for a class and to partially convince myself. I know we would love it if we did it, I just need some of your helpful hints to get me started :)

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  6. Hi Janssen! I'm so excited to hear that you're homeschooling full-time!! When I saw your post earlier this summer about loving a more relaxed schedule with your daughters and mourning the loss of the playful days you've had together while they're young, I wanted to comment, saying, "But wait! You can still have days like that together if you homeschool!" :) But I didn't want to be pushy or rude ;) . We LOVE homeschooling and the flexibility it provides our family and all of the quality time we get to spend together. I hope you all have a wonderful school year! xo

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  7. I will join the others to ask for a more detailed post on what you do for homeschool. My girls are a ways away from school stil (2 years and 8 months), but I am already starting to feel unsure about our initial plan to put them in public school right away. I was homeschooled, but never thought I would do the same, even though it was a pleasant experience and my mom did a great job. I just didn't think it was for me and my kids. Now I am not so sure. Hearing about your homeschool day would help, I am sure.

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  8. I second everyone else, I would love more details on what homeschooling entails? My oldest is going into kindergarten next year and I don't feel great about any of my options.

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  9. Maybe you've discussed it before, but I'd love to hear more about your decision to homeschool. Is it because the district you are in isn't very good, or personal reasons? My kids aren't in school yet but I like to keep all my options open and weigh out all the pros and cons. Sounds like all the other commenters are on the homeschooling board!

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  10. I'm one of those weirdos who has been anxiously awaiting your thoughts on how it was working to do both public and homeschooling. My oldest is starting Kindergarten in a month, and I'm really leaning toward homeschooling her. Still, we got her into the best charter school around and it's still a half-day program, and she loved preschool (but it still really, really overwhelmed her so she was a DISASTER at home each day...). So, I think we will just see how the first two months go and then decide on what's the right course for her. Homeschooling is equal parts alluring and scary to me. I don't even know where to begin, from what curriculum to choose, how to organize our day, and getting involved in other homeschooling groups. Also, I think I might go crazy (ha!). But that thought to homeschool her has been tugging at me for YEARS (probably has to do with all the crap I saw going on in the schools I taught at.) This is me rambling, but all to say I love hearing about this topic and would love to hear more. Way to go in doing what's best for your daughter!

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  11. At least you won't be held captive by the school year schedule! That would be so nice. And if she enjoys it, what a great thing for you to have that time together. I absolutely could not do home school with Atticus. I think you said your brother was that way.

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  12. I'm homeschooling my oldest two sons this year (2nd and 4th grade) and would love to read about any details you'd be willing to share. I loved reading The Well-Trained Mind. I actually didn't see this post but I saw that you mentioned that book on Instagram and hurried over here to see what you written about homeschooling.

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  13. Please keep writing about homeschooling! I love your laid back attitude about it as far as mix and match or not knowing how long you plan to do it, etc. That's where we are. My son did public school for Kinder and 1st and 1/2 of second. We pulled him out and started homeschooling last December at Christmas break and are homeschooling for 3rd grade, but we're hoping to get him into an accelerated program next year at school that is for 4-6 graders. Who knows!

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