Yesterday, we checked the mail & found a letter from the school board confirming that they had received our notification to home school & that the kidlets were officially withdrawn from the board. It was relieving in some ways as I had submitted the form at the start of August, but when I stopped receiving the emails hounding me to choose an option for returning to school, I had an inkling that the process might have happened. We started home schooling though the summer, so this was more of a formality.
Home schooling has been something I have to admit that I have thought about in the past, mostly because many thought that I was already doing it over the years & I have always liked to teach others various skills. To be honest though, we were quite content to send our kids to the local public school & watch them grow with external influences in life. Albeit sometimes there were issues that we didn’t really appreciate, but all in all, the small school they attended has some wonderful teachers & we were content.
Then COVID-19 hit & things changed. Friday March 13th 2020, was their last day of school. It was also the Friday before March Break. Thursday (12th), was when it became clear that everything was closing. Schools were shutting at that stage for 2 weeks after March break. I tried not to alarm the kids too much, but encouraged them to bring back as much of their belongings as possible, they remembered their pencil cases, but left everything else, at least it was something, so kudos to them. They only knew they had to stay home to stay safe for a little while.
There was a huge amount of uncertainty, as much as I tried to be an optimist in what I said, I was also a realist, I knew, life as we had known it was over.
I wasn’t overly surprised when we went into lockdown, the writing had been on the wall for a few months really. I had read the news about a deadly virus in China & then watched as it ripped through Italy & I knew our life of bliss was likely changing. When we went to lockdown, I had to of course continue to stay up to date with the train wreck that is 2020. I was reading the news & watching the daily press briefings by our PM, Trudeau & the Premier, Ford with bated breath. I remember hoping that the school closures would be extended & breathing a sigh of relief every time they were.
School wasn’t entirely finished though. We moved to online. Both of the kids teachers would send through emails with links to resource or attachments for resources that you were to do with your kids. It was a nightmare, we had issues with trying to stream video’s and gain access to different sites whilst G was working from home. G’s work had actually instructed everyone to work from home immediately a week or two before schools shut down, but with 3 people needing access, it was a nightmare.
The kids were only supposed to do about an hour of work each day, but this wasn’t always the case & were often online for hours, as we tried to get different sites to work, & dealt with issues of too much screen time & keeping them to task. It was incredibly wearing. I actually had to pass it off to G to look after for a while, because it wasn’t working for my sanity. He solved the issue by removing screens pretty much all together for them both, sitting them at separate tables in the basement & they weren’t able to get up UNTIL it was afternoon, then I looked after them.
With the issues that we had from April – June, I knew that it was highly likely that I would be home schooling & pulling them from the board, unless I could see a viable option for us. At the same time, I didn’t want to corner us into home schooling if that too was a non starter. Bearing this in mind, I started to do some research over the summer. I know there are a lot of religious fanatics that home school, so that took some perseverance to get past my own bias to find more non denominational resources, but I did it. I joined a heap of home schooling groups that I could in Canada & Australia (we are dual citizens after all) & scrolled through a mountain of info, before deciding step out on my own.
I’m so glad that I took the time to get things sorted, because it took weeks to work it out a suitable plan of action for both myself & the kids. Sure, I could’ve probably slapped something together, but I needed time to process it all & I felt the kids did too. It has been both hard & easy at the same time.
Hard in that initially G said, if you want to do it, then do it, but you are solely responsible & I kept getting guilted by comments about how their socialization would suffer, which annoyed me to no end, but I persevered & now he’s on the same page. I’m sure it’s helped by the fact that the ministry of education here seems to be flailing without a solid plan & G recognizes that whilst any method of education at the moment is not ideal, this is the best one for US, given the options that the school board is offering simply do NOT work for our family. Equally so, our decision to home school has been viewed by some parents we know as too extreme. However, home schooling for us will mean more consistency for the kids, ensuring not only safety for all of us, but a happier family.
It was also a little bumpy, because as much as I did a lot of research, I had to cast aside some of my bias’s I had, as to how to teach & work with what actually works best with the kids. I originally cast aside all online resources, but now we use some, with great success. I love the freedom that we have with learning too, you aren’t hemmed into only spending a certain amount of time on different subjects, it’s quite fun, when you start to let go a bit more.
My next post, as this one is a little long, is to share some of the resources that we’re using, with some links, for anyone interested, never know when they might come in handy.
All the best to everyone in school for 2020/2021