The Usually of Homeschooling

Before I was a homeschooling parent, I couldn’t picture it. As a veteran teacher with a MA in Curriculum Development, I wasn’t sure that even I would know how.

I realize now that was fear talking.

Fear of the “what ifs” and stepping away from the expected. Fear of isolation and fear of power struggles with my negotiating, debating, justifying, obsessed with video gaming kid.

I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions. Questions that now others ask of me. The most frequently asked ones are:

How long do you home school?

What about being around others?

Is it hard?

I thought that it might help some others if I answered these questions now that we’ve been doing it almost a year.

How Long Do You Do Homeschooling?

This answer starts off with a big “usually” in front of everything that I share. My son does best if we keep a daily schooling schedule. So usually we do seven days a week and all year-long.

This year, we didn’t home school 3 days at Christmas and we didn’t on New Years Eve. Usually, fourth graders have two weeks off at Winter Break so we felt ahead of the game still taking these days. Other special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Easter, birthdays and family vacations are enjoyed without worry.

Usually, we do 40 minutes of reading for interest, 40 minutes of science, 30 minutes of math, and 15 minutes of social studies each day. Some days we add more time to those subjects or we add writing, history, music, PE, or modding to our day.

Usually laundry, silverware, and making his bed are completed with other life skills added at times.

The rest of the day we are talking and asking questions. We walk to get the mail and we eat our meals together and yes, he plays video games.

Usually our learning is integrated.

Today a math lesson about measurement that considered the vast amount of garbage that is created by our country, led to a Bill Nye the Science Guy Garbage video, a BrainPop video about recycling, and YouTube videos about garbage islands floating in our oceans.

This learning resulted in conversations about our own recycling and the choices that we make as consumers such as stopping my Talking Rain addiction due to the 2 liter bottles.

This week, we have had more learning than usual. When I consider some of the tougher Mondays of last month, I feel like it all evens out.

What About Being Around Others?

I recently wrote about my TBP’s fellow gamers. They usually play for an hour a day. Although not in person, this interaction is good for my son. The gain in social skills is noticeable.

If I had it my way, there would be some fellow homeschoolers in the neighborhood for some “in person” play. Maybe some boys that have the same interest in zombies, film making and Minecraft.

Honestly, my son is highly introverted and doesn’t need the same amount of social interaction as others. While friends and visiting refuel some, it drains mine.

I was reminded to consider the time that he spends with his OT and swimming teacher as social interaction. This helped ease my mind.

Although this is an area that I continue to work on, I can say with 100% confidence that the kid time that he had during his days at school was not worth staying there through the boredom and the sensory bombardment.

Is It Hard?

Usually, I answer Yes and No to this one. There are days that are really hard. Unbelievably hard.

Those days when nothing seems to be working and we are butting heads from breakfast to dinner. The times when I’m feeling overwhelmed and overtired and overly worried about the future. The lessons where I push too much and listen too little.

None of these things lead to happiness, but then I remember the old days. I remember the tears, the frustration, the calls, all of the lack ofs….

These things remind me that even with the hardest days, I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to home school my son.

It took a while but we have found systems and a schedule that works for us. It took me a while to get rid of my anger about what should have been. It took a while to realize that I don’t have to push and force him into the same boxes as others. That’s the beauty of this homeschooling journey.

Usually, when people ask me about homeschooling they worry about their own sanity. I get it because yes it’s a big change and as I previously mentioned, not all days are peachy. But when you see your kid laughing, smiling, thinking, developing and learning…you soon get over it. For us, it certainly beats the alternative.


14 thoughts on “The Usually of Homeschooling

  1. We did school straight through the weekend and yesterday (a dreaded Tuesday) was actually one of our best days ever. No more days off for us! But totally worth it. 🙂

  2. I love everything about this. I seriously felt a weight lifted once we started homeschooling. I didn’t expect to. He’s a super intense kid and I thought it would be hard. And it is hard, it’s never easy, but it’s SO much better than anything we had before. And he’s smiling. So there’s that 🙂

  3. I know many of the readers here understand the value of home schooling. However, there are many who balk at the thought of home schooling because of a perceived lack of social interaction, and of an inflated value placed on social interaction as received at a public school.

    I simply must say to people who so value ‘social interaction’ at public schools…of how it is thought of as part of a valuable education, and of how home schooled children are, somehow, missing out on something valuable…BUNK.

    My argument:

    School is to get an education. When may they socialize? Certainly not in the class rooms. Just during recess and lunch. A home schooled child may socialize at the playgrounds after school and during organized sports or play sessions.

    The problem with so many children growing up nowadays, is not a lack of socialization…it is in the lack of proper socialization as a result of being, essentially, raised by their peers instead of by their parents. There is not enough parental interaction with their children…that is the problem. Through home schooling, a child may get his education in academics to not only a higher standard as is given in public schools, but at a rate which is greatly accelerated and personalized. Through the many great educational programs as are available through the Internet, and with the many great online schools being available, a much better way for a child to learn is readily at hand…and in an atmosphere which is much more conducive to learning.

    A child learns how to properly interact with others through organized group activities which stress teamwork, such as in sports and music or theater studies.

    For parents whose children may not be doing so well at a public school, I say to give home schooling a try. There are many fully accredited online schools which are free as an alternative to public schools, and as given through the county in which you live.

    Children study and complete assignments online at home, and go in to take their exams.

    My son is learning at home through such an online school. A recent graduate of his online school was accepted to Stanford University. This tells of, not only the quality of the education available online, it tells of the respect that Universities hold for accredited online schools. Results are what matter. Couple this with a parent being able to guide his/her child in so many of life’s lessons at such an impressionable age, instead of being so heavily influenced by his peers, the question then becomes of why so many more parents don’t home school.

  4. We are just beginning this adventure for what sounds like similar reasons to you and your son. My son is already happier and I can tell that he’s less stressed but we are entering week 2 of ‘down time’ because I felt like he just needed that coming out of public school. I’m nervous about homeschooling, especially since I also work from home but we’ve also signed up with a homeschooling charter for help with curriculum and keeping to somewhat of a schedule but I’m looking forward to the flexibility and appreciate you sharing your ‘usual’ schedule so I have some sort of idea where to start. Thanks!

    • We did a month of regrouping before we started homeschooling. After that month, my son started reading for fun again and began asking questions, laughing and seeing learning as something that was good. No regrets 😀

      • We are definitely taking it slow. I’m not pushing too much but I think I pulled him out in time for him to not reject the idea of school altogether. He is open to doing some work at home but not all day. I am allowing tons of flex time and I love that if he asks for a ‘play break’ I can just say yes, go for it! Such a breath of fresh air. I can already see the difference in his demeanor and feel like I am less stressed and frustrated as well. Yay!

  5. Thank you! I am pulling 2 of my 3 kids at the end of this week to begin homeschooling. I, too, have a Masters in Curriculum Development… and was a public school teacher before kids. I marvel at what the schools, dripping in bureaucracy, are unable to do! I am so excited and terrified to go on this journey with them! My 3rd child is involved in so many extra-curricular activities at school that she requested to finish out the year and begin homeschooling in the fall. We are so glad to be able to be flexible and give each child what they need most.

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