Homeschool Musings

I know it’s unheard of at the moment, for me to write a second post for the month, but here we are. I’m going to try (yet again) to take more time out to write. Clearly, we must be getting back into the groove of things, for me to actual even consider committing myself to writing more.

Homeschooling is going pretty well at the moment. I still have my moments of “holy crap” am I actually doing enough? Which appears to be normal, not only as a parent, but as a teacher. Then there are the moments of are they getting it, please get it this time, please, please get it, I am running out of ideas as to how I can actually convey this any differently & then inevitably a lightbulb moment happens for them or me & a sigh of relief fills the room.

I think I may have mentioned on here that I have always liked the idea of homeschooling (if not, it would be buried in one of my yet to be published, likely never will be finished & published posts & if I have mentioned it, clearly you can tell I don’t really go back & read what I write). At the same time, I also found it easier to go with the path of least resistance in terms of schooling. I mean WHO WAS I to want to educate my own kids? I didn’t study to be a teacher, sure I did some early childhood studies, but after a week placement at a childcare centre, I soon decided to trash that idea, so really, was I equipped to teach my kids, beyond the normal parenting teaching that happens when you shuffle them off to be someone else’s responsibility? For year I didn’t think so.

Then COVID hit & decisions had to be made & changes had to occur. There really wasn’t any viable option for our family other than homeschooling. I admit that I was a little “salty” about the whole situation, because it meant another thing fell on my shoulders & I knew that this was a huge undertaking, at first it seemed almost impossible to do it well. It didn’t help that G was not set on the idea at all, but after a while he came around. We are both grateful that we don’t have to deal with any of the issues we see others having, when there is a reliance on others to teach your kids (issues with access to the web, not receiving offline distanced learning packages, school closures etc). It’s actually incredibly rewarding to not only share your knowledge with your kids, but learn alongside them too.

We actually started doing homeschooling in July/August, so that I could wrap my head around this new change & to show G that this could work, before school started back in September. It was hard though. One of the hardest things about homeschooling is letting go of the idea that we all have in our heads about what homeschooling is, what it should look like & how it should come together. At the start I was also trying to do too much. I was trying to fulfill orders and do school work around it/ at the same time, whilst we were transitioning, but it really didn’t go well. Whilst the kids were learning, I feel that it wasn’t much fun.

Then over Christmas we had a forced break from homeschooling. G was starting his new job & it made sense for him to move into the kids space, for the kids to move into the space that I used as my creative space, & for our homeschooling area & my creative space to move into a larger space downstairs. The move involved some reno’s & took 10 days to get everyone into their spaces. It was hard going, but so worth it.

I stopped doing my own creative projects for a while to focus on homeschooling entirely, which is what I needed to do at the start, but didn’t feel I could. I was literally drowning. So the change in rooms & setup, & the reset it brought, was a welcome relief. It doesn’t mean we don’t have bumpy days, but that’s life in general, you can’t just blame it on something like homeschooling. It feels good to be able to include more creativity for myself into my days now, but I doubt I will get back to where I was for a while, at least until the kidlets are more independent with their learning.

I’m enjoying the extra reading of late, mostly it focuses around homeschooling techniques & then of course subjects for us to cover/ discuss. All this research leads to a lot of work to plan how to include it into their schooling, but it’s become quite a fun challenge.

In terms of curriculum books, I currently use Scholastic & The Canadian Curriculum mostly for worksheets, BUT, they are just a foundation to build upon. I also printed out the Ontario curriculum to refer back to, but honestly it’s just a guideline, a massive long winded checklist that gives you screw all resources, so mostly I just lament the trees that are now bound within a book that sits on a shelf taking up valuable space.

I really do love the freedom that homeschooling affords us, in part because I know what they are learning, so less time is wasted trying to get my head around what they are learning on any given day, like I was with their online distanced learning last year, not to mention the issues with technology that we were having. The planning & research (I am always trying to improve how I homeschool to adapt to the kids, not to try to fit a round & a square peg into a triangular hole) is definitely more work, but because I am constantly trying to adapt & improve, it also means the experience gets easier as we go. We can be carried away onto other topics that they wouldn’t necessarily cover in school, which is incredibly fun. For over a month now, we have branched out into studying mythology, which has lead us down the paths of the origin of some words, Roman numerals etc. all of which lends to making their learning experience a little more interesting. A topic that we will be covering for many years…

Then there’s the art. I have always tried to do art with the kids when they were in a traditional school setting, but life, the kids being too tired and other things that cropped up into our schedule often pushed art to the side, but not these days & it’s awesome. At the moment we are doing paper mache art & it’s so much fun. Kidlet1 loves sculpture, the 2nd one, is more into drawing, but we’re working on that.

So, whilst homeschooling might mean a little more work, overall, I am loving it. I feel a greater connection with the kids than before (which logically happens when they are glued to you 24×7 too). I love that I can actually understand the half conversations that stem from our learning adventures & am now able to fill in the gaps. This knowledge alone means way less frustration from the kids, and us, so that’s a huge win. Plus, the kids seem to enjoy it, which is even better!

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