This weeks home school mom is Bronwen. She has 3 gorgeous little dudes who really keep her on her toes. I am not sure how Bronwen juggles three little boys and school but they do it and they have loads of fun.
Bronwen is juggling a baby while she schools the older boys. If you are considering home schooling but worried about how you will manage the juggle with a baby, follow to Bronwen and see how she is doing it.
Introduce yourself – where you stay, how many kids, their ages etc
My name is Bronwen, I am a born & bred Capetonian. I am a SAHM to three boisterous, feral boys.
Cody is my eldest at 6 years old. He is my reason for choosing to go the homeschooling route. He is also on the spectrum, diagnosed mild ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), as well as SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).
Axel is my savage beast of a 2 year old who is pretty much the king of the terrible two’s.
Then we have little smooshface, budderball, Tayo. He’s the baby baby at only 2 months old.
Why did you decide to homeschool?
As mentioned above in the intro, Cody is on the spectrum. He spent two years at a private remedial school, from 2017 until last year. Everything started off with a bang, he was basically nonverbal despite weekly speech therapy & a host of other assessments, he had made some, but not much progress until staring at the school. He was the youngest child in the school & didn’t have a class for his age so they put him in Grade R. Last year he repeated Grade R as he was then in the correct grade for his age.
By the fourth term & time for enrollment for the following year, chaos erupted as they not only doubled the fees for the following year, which I am not ashamed to admit, we were already struggling to pay, but they also decided that he was not ready to progress to Grade one. They had, had TWO YEARS to work with him & yet he still wasn’t ready. They had, had those two years to pull me aside & inform me that he needed help in certain areas which they never did, or at least not in a manner which instilled how dire the situation was. I made a habit of asking his teachers about his day, behavior & work every pick up. So here we are, doing one on one homeschooling to get him to where he should be.
Are you following a set curriculum?
It may sound irresponsible, and it possibly is, but we are winging it. I see what his mood is like & follow his lead. If he is in an otherwise mood, I know that it is pointless to get him to do anything. We’ll both end up dejected & frustrated, with him retreating into himself. If there is something he asks to do I will do it but only after we have done an activity I know he won’t enjoy.
My main focus is getting him to the level he should be at, which means starting from the very beginning, teaching him the absolute basics in order to build on that foundation. I am using Kumon books for cutting & pasting (yep I meant it when I said we’re starting at the bottom), I have phonics flash cards & I download worksheets off various sites.
I also have a teacher who comes for an hour twice a week to teach him.
What is or has been your biggest challenge homeschooling?
Definitely trying to keep Cody focused with his little brothers around to distract him.
Another issue is not having a designated school space as we are building. The one perk with the building taking place, is being able to use the floor to write on with chalk. The entire “deck” area is covered with schooling doodles.
What has been or is the best thing about your homeschooling journey so far?
I love the flexibility. Being able to decide what to do each day after gaging his mood so I know that he will be absorbing & retaining the info he is being taught. I love being able to be there for those “light bulb” moments when something clicks & seeing his face light up. It is also amazing to see his progress.
What is your absolute favourite resource?
The Kumon books are fantastic. I also use Letterland books, use YouTube & Spotify for Letterland & Jolly Phonics videos & soundtracks. For maths related activities I make use of the Numicon. My latest discovery as a site called Education.com. It is phenomenal.
What is the one thing you can’t do without?
Chalk & blackboard. We kick it old school. I find it the easiest way to explain something, or get him to practice writing numbers & letters he struggles with.
What has surprised you the most about this journey?
Honestly? How much I remember from school. Being able to use what I was taught, & HOW I was taught to teach Cody in a way that he could understand.
One piece of advice you would give to a family considering homeschooling?
Talk to other homeschoolers, ask all the questions, learn from their mistakes & achievements… Especially those who have been at it for a while & have gained knowledge on where to find resources etc. Once you get going, share your resources with others who have helped you.. I have a few mom’s who I whatsapp for advice & we share new site discoveries & where we find hardcopies of resources.
To follow Bronwen’s journey, you can find her on Instagram