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.