We have been homeschooling for just over a month now. It has been simultaneously harder and easier than I imaged it would be. Overall though we are happy with how our first month of homeschooling has gone and will definitely take the lessons learnt to make our journey easier.
Quick recap for those of you who are new here, we are homeschooling Kiara, Jack and Emma. Kiara is currently doing Grade 10 on CAPS. We are not following a set boxed curriculum with Jack and Emma, we are mixing it up but I have the Core outline of what they should be doing at each age. Jack is bouncing between Grade 1 and 2 and Emma is starting with some Grade R/Kindergarten work.
January was all about figuring out our routine as well as trying to work out how the kids learn so that I can adjust the lessons to work with their learning style rather than against it.
Kiara has settled into her routine pretty quickly, she is self-motivated and disciplined so it has been pretty easy for her. She gets to do a lot more practical art and practical work than I think she would if she was at school, so she is pretty happy with how it is going.
She spends most weekends with her best friend and they attend a few of the events happening at her school. I am also sending her on as many art workshops as I can afford so that she can get exposed to different styles and get out the house a little bit.
Emma has surprised me the most. She wants to work and powers through books so quickly. She is still very young to be reading and writing so I am not forcing her but rather following her lead and finding activities that she finds stimulating and interesting. We are doing a lot pattern drawing and activities that strengthen her fingers to get ready to write. She can already read all the am words and can manage bonds of 10 pretty easily. When she is in the right mood her concentration will last for ages but then often the next day she is not interested at all, which is fine.
Jack has been the challenge. He was keen and now it is a struggle to get anything out of him. He is more than happy to watch YouTube videos and play games all day but obviously this is not how life works. We now have a star chart that seems to be working but he is still not big on book work, but I do feel he does need to get some book work in every day so we are bumping heads. Like with everything we do have some good days where he will work well in his book, so we focus on those days and the really tough days I switch things up and try do more arts or “fun” activities. He is needs to move and touch and feel things which means I have to get creative with his lessons.
Lessons have been learnt.
I had a rough plan for January but would plan the lessons and activities before we started, this didn’t work for me. I need to plan the days lessons and work better and more in advance so that everything we need is on the table and ready for them.
February has been planned and every Sunday I get their worksheets, activities set out so that I know what is happening every day.
Jack needs a little more encouragement than Emma does, which means I have to be a little stricter than I had hope to be. For the first few weeks I left him when he said he was done but this only made things harder, so now he has to complete what he is doing and what I had planned for the day.
I have started reading about the “invitation to play” concept and have started setting up stations for them every day with different sensory toys and activities and it is working so well. They play for ages and are learning without even realising it. While they were playing after we had finished our work, they were both getting bored easily and just wanted to watch TV. Setting up these centres has really helped to keep them occupied.
We are getting out the house.
I have found a few groups that get together regularly and we attended our first event last week and the kids had a lot of fun and learnt how to make solar ovens. We have some outings planned for February that combine both learning and fun.
All 3 of them are involved in sports. Emma and Jack both do gymnastics, swimming and horseriding and Emma has just started ballet. Kiara is back at dancing, so they are all getting out the house regularly and interacting with kids.
There have been a few moments I have wondered whether or not we have made the right decision but usually a good nights sleep helps with that.
I am loving that our mornings are calm and quiet. We don’t wake the kids up, they get up when they are ready and if we are ready to start and Emma is still sleeping, Jack and I get a little one-on-one time.
The kids are following their interests. Of course we could have done this while they were in school but we have more time now to allow them to learn about things that interest them. Jack is currently drawing an animated story. He is watching some videos on how they are made and has developed a story and is now illustrating it.
We are all calmer. Even though are days are full, we are not over busy rushing around on deadlines trying to get homework done. I am not trying to squeeze in one-on-one time with them all. There is no pressure on any of them and Jack does seem to be getting less anxious.
I love being creative and adding in daily crafts, activities and experiments has been good for us all.
There are some areas that need improvement but overall I am happy with where we are and look forward to watching them all grow and develop.
Do you have any questions about our journey so far?
I have made a video discussing our first month, if you are more visual, head over to watch it.