It is over a year ago that we made the decision to homeschool our kids and almost a year since we took them out of their respective schools. What a year it has been!
Someone asked me yesterday how the year has been. I replied saying I wish we had done it sooner. I know that the time wasn’t right sooner but it has been such a great year that I wish I had been able to experience this more with the older two children.
A quick summary and update of the curriculums that we have been following.
Kiara has been doing CAPS through Impaq and it has been a good experience. They outline everything for us, give us assignments, tests, books, and exams. The support is a little slow at times but they are super helpful and understanding.
I have loosely been following the Core Curriculum with Jack and Emma. I have used it as a guideline to the concepts they should be learning and then adapting it to suit them.
What have we learned?
When we started this journey I was pretty structured with our day. They had to sit down, learn and be happy about it. It obviously backfired because I was basically taken the classroom and moving it to our home. I had to take a big step back and re-evaluate what I really wanted us to achieve from homeschooling. I did not want to replicate school but rather encourage them to want to learn.
I relaxed a lot and our days became more relaxed and the learning happened more naturally. I focused more on what they wanted to learn and used that to teach the important concepts of maths and reading.
I have also learned to take roll with the bad days. Some days we just weren’t feeling it. So we took those days off. We watched Our Planet or Operation Ouch or we coloured in or we just all did nothing.
I am also learning a lot about a range of subjects. Both kids are really into animals so we are constantly researching all sorts of animals. Jack asks a lot of questions so we do a lot of googling to find the answers.
I now have a better understanding of how the two little ones learn and what works and what doesn’t. Emma wants to be challenged all the time. She wants the harder sums, the bigger words, if she can’t do it, she wants to do it. Jack, on the other hand, is the opposite. Conceptually she understands a lot of the work I have done with Jack. It does make for some interesting lessons.
It has not been all rainbows though!
The first 3 months were hard! I doubted my decision pretty much every single day. But then I listened to the kids and realized they were actually learning and they didn’t want to go back to school.
It is exhausting. Some days it feels like there is just not enough time to juggle everything. I drop balls every now and then and there are nights I am in bed by 19h00
I can’t keep up with the amount of food they eat, constantly. I am not sure how this works though if I am honest. They barely ate at school but at home, they never stop eating.
A lot of people often say that they couldn’t spend so much time with their kids. The strange thing is when my kids where at school I also couldn’t wait for them to go back to school after the holiday. I got annoyed super quickly and also lived for the alone time school offered me. Since we have started this journey I can honestly say I have never felt I need a break from my kids. I love being around them, we no do almost everything together and it is so awesome.
Of course, they still talk too much and the fighting makes me want to pull my hair out. They do still ask me to do stuff when I am busy doing something else. But I don’t feel I need a break from them like I used to feel.
The million-dollar question: socialising
This side has taken some time to adjust to. Not becuase there is nothing available when it comes to socialising but because there is too much and it initially overwhelmed me.
There are so many groups offering all kinds of activities for the kids. We attended a few and then found a great co-op group that we have done some fun activities with. The challenge has been for Jack to find a new friendship circle because the groups we have mixed with have all had more girls. So our focus for next year is to find him a group he gels with.
That said we have been on a lot of outings this year and the kids have had some awesome experiences that I don’t think we would have had if they were still in school.
They both do swimming and horse riding and Emma does gymnastics so they do get social interactions regularly. I am not really worried about this. It is something that will get better as we find our groove.
I can’t wait to start our second year and grow and learn with the kids. We have a nice routine going and as I get more organised, the easier it will become.
It has been a tough year while we all adjust but it has been an easier transition than I expected and I am happy we made the decision. It was the right thing for us.