Homeschooling on top of writing work isn’t easy. I get a lot of help from my husband. When most people think of homeschooling they think of traditional mothers staying home to stand before their kids and offer potentially outdated material. At least that’s what I thought before I started homeschooling.
But reality has a fun way of completely destroying expectations.
Homeschooling is on the rise. After last year’s ridiculous over-reaction to a virus that turned out to be nothing more than a bad flu, a lot of parents realized just how wasteful our current public education system is.
Yes there are some great teachers working public school jobs, but with common core, CRT, and test score obsession ruling public education, it’s no wonder that most kids hate going to school. And please don’t get me started on school lunches. I was considered fat as a kid because I was chubby, 10 or 20 pounds overweight but the obesity epidemic makes my childhood self look like I was starving. But what do we expect with schools still serving such “nutritional” foods as pizza, hot dogs, and burgers?
It’s like these kids have never even seen a vegetable. But they’re not to blame. Not by far.
I wanted my kids to have better. I knew that I could give them as good of an education as the current system, if not better, and we’ve been going strong for about a decade now (if you count pre-school).
My eldest was a student from the day she was born. She flashed her big brown eyes at me and wanted to learn everything I could teach her. So I started simple.
It doesn’t take a genius to teach a kid their ABCs, 123, shapes, and colors. From books, to songs, or just counting sticks on our walks to the park, life was just one big lesson in the college of existence.
And the more my daughter learned the more she wanted to learn. We found out about the educational website Starfall.com and that offered us another tool to expand her knowledge. I realized that she loved putting pen to paper and so offered her workbooks to practice material.
This carried her into kindergarten and set the foundation for her entire educational career. My 2nd born was just as excited about learning, but she’s dyslexic like me. And, like me, she has trouble sitting still. But that doesn’t mean she needs to be medicated, it means she needs more physical activity.
Having the freedom to incorporate physical activity into her studies has been such a joy for both of us. We get up and clap and use movement to work on math and English.
I started both of my girls at 3. It was a great age to test the waters, and the only real issue we found was finding enough material to last an entire school year. So they are both 2 grades ahead of the “standard” school age requirement.
Basing education on age instead of merit/readiness is one of the main factors that I’ve kept homeschooling. I would rather teach my children when they’re ready, not when some stuffed shirt politician tells me they are.
My toddler turned 3 in May and he envies his big sisters when they work on their lessons so he’s starting preschool this year. My husband is a little concerned because our boy is hyper active and headstrong, but these are great qualities that can be strengths in learning when utilized properly.
Instead of being reprimanded for running indoors, we play jumping games. Instead of being told that he has to sit and do what he’s told, he’s learning to value the wisdom of his elders. Instead of being encouraged to dope up our son because he might have ADD or ADHD or LKFHLKNS, we recognize that he is a CHILD and it’s hard for everyone to focus sometimes.
In the early years I learned that long summer breaks are a great way to rot the brain. So, even though I would have hated it as a child, my kids have year round schooling.
It’s modeled like college, with 3 semesters. We always start in the fall after Labor Day (I don’t do this weird August start crap). That goes until mid-December where they get 4 weeks off. Then the Spring semester is mid Jan until Memorial Day weekend. Upon completion, they get another 4 weeks, followed by a short 6 week summer session before their final 3-4 week break.
In the Fall and Spring we start at the same time every day, have a strict schedule with very specific goals. But the summer session is more relaxed. I let the kids start when they want. So long as they finish their work and give it their all I let them do their lessons anywhere in the house or backyard.
It’s easier when I’m working from home. I can break and help them out or give solid info. When I’m in the office my husband is their teacher. Then when I get home we go over whatever they struggled with. And we spend most weekends doing reviews.
Field trips were a high point before 2020, but even now walking to the park or playing jump rope for physical education is so important. Getting around other kids in the neighborhood is necessary for their social development and wellbeing.
Some people worry about my eldest because she is very shy, but so was my sister and she went to public school. Shyness is often a disposition, not a symptom. Just as high-energy people are active no matter what setting you place them in. I work in an office and get up every hour to stretch and keep my body moving because it’s essential for my personality and makeup.
Preparing each year is WORK. I spent hours last weekend laying out worksheets, crafts, books, and other materials to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year.
The material gets more difficult through the years, but the rewards grow as well. Taking the time to ensure that my children are being taught the core subjects and electives they care about without political interference or systematic bias is what matters most to me.
Summer camp, library events, volunteer work and community involvement all play a part in this as well. The plan is to integrate the children into their higher education by sending them to community college for 2 years before they embark on broader degree/career paths, but as the college system has become hyper politicized, that may change.
The point is, there are always options. Kids can learn in any setting if they have the will and/or the right teacher.
It is my job to encourage a will to learn in addition to teaching them. And I take it very seriously.