Last week I started homeschool for Mei, my 7-year-old. Making the decision to homeschool was honestly easy- my husband is a teacher at a community college, and they went full remote. He’s teaching real-time classes all semester. Given that fact, and not being satisfied with the end result of how our school district approached “social distanced” education, (and that’s not an attack on them- nothing was ideal, really. My kids did not like any sort of virtual learning!) it only made sense for us to homeschool.
It was a pretty good first week- 2nd grade is rather easy. A lot of the focus was just on having fun in everything we did. There’s a lot of reading, not because it’s a huge part of the curriculum, but because she loves reading.
The homeschool curriculum we’re using is fairly “gentle”, going along with a more ‘unschooling’ approach (I believe I’m using that word right.) Her workload is not supposed to be more than a certain amount, and I’d be happy to stick with that if she wasn’t such an eager learner. She was begging me for more each afternoon when finished, and that we do homeschool on the weekends. I attempt to point out things like “well, we did this, and that’s a type of learning”, but alas, that wasn’t good enough. She wanted more!
This week, she got a bit extra bit of work. I found some 2nd-grade spelling words to give her, with the intention of being a bit of the busy work she craves. “Here, Mei. Go study your spelling words while I finish working with your siblings.” It didn’t work this week. I gave her a list of 16 words. She spelled all but one word right the first time.
This week is the real test for my “homeschool” skills as a teacher. Liam and Lilia began their homeschool adventures today. Teaching 6th and 8th grades feel a lot different than teaching 2nd grade.
Liam, while not excited about homeschool, isn’t upset about not returning to school. In fact, I’d say we had a moderately successful day, mainly because he finally got to see and feel how different our days were from actually attending school. We started later, like 9:30-10ish. We worked on language arts, then took a good break. We baked some cinnamon rolls (pumpkin ones) and worked on social studies, which was a bit more involved but he didn’t once complain.
If you know my son, that’s significant.
After working on our social studies map, which was a bit tougher since I didn’t plan as well as I thought (oops!) He got a good hour to two hours of a break on the computer (his first love…) before we sat down for a little math, and then some art. I tried to keep it simple for the day, and I feel like it succeeded.
Meanwhile, Lilia got up around 10 and came down. She ate breakfast while we started her English, which didn’t get too much complaining, but I quickly realized that I assigned too much for her on the first day, which led me to improvise. I changed things up a little so things was better spread across the week, and moved on. It was still a lot of work for her, particularly after a summer of perfect laziness, and we spent the rest of the morning working on english and writing.
Now Lilia isn’t as happy as her siblings are about staying home. She misses her friends. However, she’s also admitted she wouldn’t be happy about going to school either. She stated, quite seriously, “Mom, I’m 13. Nothing makes me happy.” Ok then kiddo…I told her to tell her friends they could come over and sit in the yard (socially distanced, tyvm) but again… “Nope, I don’t text people.”
She also got a good long lunch break but had a bit more work to do than Liam. Math, then some social studies, and finally art as well. I did a joint art lesson, that I could tell bored poor Liam, but Lilia was sort of into it, and it might’ve been above Mei’s head. She did get to look at some neat pictures of cave drawings. Afterwards, we had a lot of discussions while we waited for Dad to finish his lectures for the day.
The day felt fine, although I will admit- I crash a bit in the afternoon, stressing and worrying about whether or not things are ok. I’m trying to learn from whatever mistakes I make, and I’m trying to go with the flow of each day. I’m not good at that sort of thing. I tend to have little to no patience, the desire to have control over all things, and the type that fusses over mistakes for years. I second guess. A lot.
But you can’t always be like that, and if I want this to be successful, I have to let go of these expectations of perfection I put on myself. Even us adults gotta grow up sometimes. It’s not an easy thing, but tonight it might start with a root beer float and a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. And then to repeat it all tomorrow.