Going into the adventure of homeschooling, I had many of ideas for how it would be. My main objective was and is to travel often, experience different parts of the country and world and have us all learn some things along the way. We have been very fortunate to take several trips this year. Regrettably, the majority of these trips have been quite short; lasting only a day or two. While I am thankful to have had these opportunities, these short trips have made it difficult to do any actual educating while we are in a new location.
I am someone that likes to have a schedule of what is happening and when. So, of course, starting out the school year I had a plan. We would do school in the morning and then the rest of the day we would finish what wasn’t accomplished in the morning or we were free to do whatever else. That plan worked for a few weeks. Soon we started to really embrace homeschooling. I went into this thinking I needed to structure our “classroom time” like a normal public school. We began our day out with together doing a daily planner, then Red and Fred did their individual work at the same time as I went back and forth between them teaching and helping as needed. We found out that working like that did not work well for us. Red & Fred are much more productive and there is less resistance, tears and arguing when they do their school work separately. I am able to devote myself to each child during each of their school time. Removing the distraction of having the other child nearby, has made a big difference for us. By having peace and quiet and me all to themselves, our classroom time has become much more relaxed and constructive.
In addition to switching up how we lay out our school day, we have also changed when we do school. I have learned to become more laid back (which is a bit difficult to do). My kids are typically ready to do school after lunch. They seem to have the best attitudes at that time. But, some days are different and we end up doing some school in the morning or at night. We try and let them determine when the best time is to complete their schoolwork. This self-coordinating promotes a sense of responsibility and accountability. Sometimes they do not complete their work because they didn’t want to at the time, or they didn’t factor in enough time to complete the task. When they return to their schoolwork the next day they realize it hasn’t gone away just because they didn’t do it. The work will always be there waiting for them later, so they might as well get it done when it is assigned. They also love to surprise me by sneaking into the classroom and doing what they can in their workbooks without me. This is a wonderful surprise and I love when they take the initiative to do what they know needs to get done for that day. I’m not going to lie; this surprise is sometimes followed by a request to do something fun that they know is not possible without getting their school work done first. As parents, we have tried to teach our kids that before asking to do something, it is important to look at the big picture and see what needs to be accomplished before something else is possible. It can be as simple as helping to clean up from dinner before we can play a game or doing school before going to play with friends. There are many “life” skills that children need to learn before becoming adults. We hope to really be able to build up those skills in all of the time that we get to spend together.
***Stay tuned for our next blog post that is going to introduce our new adventure. It is going to allow us to spend much more time exploring and educating in different locations!