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Let’s Go!

One year ago, in the face of a dooming pandemic, I made the difficult decision to homeschool.

I worried.

Oh, I worried. 

I worried about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  I worried about them becoming hermits, afraid of unfamiliar shadows.  I worried about them being taught by their mom, because as a former teacher myself, I know the power of a teacher’s ability to reach students in a different way than other teachers, parents or friends and I wanted that for them.

In all honesty, I still want to be that for other students.

I worried about them being left behind, especially as they witnessed their friends still attend our beloved, local school.  

Ultimately, I went with my gut and we had an incredible year. 

Spring arrived and with it, the hope of the pandemic’s near-end. 

I started to prepare the girls for their return to school in the Fall, casually mentioning how cool it would be to wave to their friends in the hallway on their way to P.E., Music or Art class.  Did they know the Fall Festival was already booked for this year?  Were they looking forward to the Fun Run?

But upon Summer’s dawn, doubt settled in. 

A vaccine, that I had traveled to another state to get just so I could get it as soon as possible, was available and yet, less than half the country had opted to receive it.  The country was split- my body, my choice/ our country, our responsibility.  

Now, variants are on the rise and social distancing measures, including masks are still required at school.  

Holding a Masters in Elementary Education, I am in a unique situation.  

My husband has worked from home since the pandemic began and I am able to stay home to teach with hired help to occupy the girls not currently in lesson.  

Moreover, apparently I made homeschooling too fun.  All three big girls have begged to continue; and while part of me felt that this was fear-based on having been away for a year, I couldn’t bring myself to convince them that their school could provide a better learning environment than what we had going on right in the Carawan Classroom.  

My *entire* career as a parent has been blessed with the wisdom of my elders: Don’t blink. Cherish these days.  It goes by SO fast.  

Combine the pandemic, the pressure from my children, the wisdom of my elders and my innate joy in continuing to teach my daughters, and here we are.

That time we homeschooled (X2). 

2021-2022.  

Let’s Go! 

Camille Vaughan Photography
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Today

Want to hear the best thing ever?

There’s no right way. 

That’s it!

That’s all!

We are all going to die. 

Some of us sooner than others, 

So you know what?

Let’s LIVE IT. 

Let’s stop waiting for then. 

The right time. 

Because for some of us, 

It’s never going to come. 

Instead, here we are, so why wait?

There’s no time to lose. 

There’s no time to wait. 

Carpe Diem! 

There’s no right way. 

But there is today. 

Camille Vaughan Photography

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Homeschooling

I expected a lot, but I surely didn’t expect this. 

I expected to be tired and “over-it” 

but what I didn’t expect was

to LOVE it.  

What is HAPPENING????

I was a PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER.  

I am NOT SUPPOSED TO LOVE HOMESCHOOLING. 

Homeschooling is for WEIRDOS who want to force their outrageous agendas onto their children without providing them the opportunity to create their own through spontaneous interactions. 

There, I said it.  

The fear I have of creating and cultivating this ((bubble)).  

But a mere three weeks into homeschooling, I am realizing how much freedom my children actually have in being an active participant in their own learning.  

Whoa.  

Now there’s a revelation. 

This isn’t me just teaching them. 

This is us learning together. 

Homeschooling. 

Uncategorized

Moving Beyond the Page

Chances are, if you are a parent of school-aged children, you have been faced with some tough decisions concerning what to do with your children this coming school year.

I struggled and found myself unhappy with all of the options: virtual learning, in-person learning during a pandemic, or homeschooling. For me, it came down to picking the least worst option using the resources I have available.

Full disclosure: before deciding to stay home to raise my first born, I had received my Masters in Elementary Education and taught fourth grade for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, so this isn’t my first experience with teaching.

Also, I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home-mom, whereas others are working full-time and trying to figure out how in the world to manage a job while simultaneously educating their children.

Ultimately, I decided to homeschool because it was the one option that I felt I had control over, versus being at the mercy of our government/school district’s decisions. Homeschooling provided my children with the most normal, consistent school year, given the constraints of the pandemic.

Before coming to my decision, I spent weeks joining national and local homeschooling Facebook groups and researching the literally thousands of curriculum options available.

My intent is for my children to return to public school once (Lord willing) life goes back to normal (starting to wonder if that is ever actually going to happen . . . ) so I wanted to select a curriculum that aligned with state standards.

I also am a mother to a 2, 4, 6, and 8 year-old and don’t have a lot of extra time nor the desire to piece together a lot of different programs. I wanted something that was all-inclusive for my first year. A program that said, “Here. Do this.”

I found that in the program Moving Beyond the Page. It is a literature-based curriculum that covers language arts, social studies, science and math. I purchased ages 4-5 for my daughter in Pre-k, ages 5-7 for my rising 1st grader and ages 7-9 for my rising 3rd grader. The cost of the program initially gave me pause but when I stopped to consider all of the things we won’t be doing this coming year (ballet, gym membership, live shows), I realized it all comes out in the wash.

The program includes hands-on projects of which they send you all the materials you need down to the number of cotton balls in particular units for the 4-5 age. I LOVE this- that I don’t have to go searching around for a bunch of random materials; instead, everything is already organized and labeled by unit so that I can just grab and teach!

Once I shared the news to my daughters that we would be home for the 2020-2021 school year, I shared the examples and videos of the curriculum that we would be using. They were so excited the day the curriculum arrived, meeting the UPS driver in the driveway!

Once we had the materials, it was time to get them organized. Out with the couch and in with the giant super desk! I wrote about the transformation of our homeschooling space here if you’d like to check it out!

I will continue to share our experience with Moving Beyond the Page throughout the year so make sure to click the “follow” button to add your email for our updates!