By Sarah Kuriland:
We are about four months into our homeschool journey, and it became very clear a little over a month ago that our days were not going as I had intended. I wrote a post for Green-Mom describing our days a few weeks ago, but that is all about to change again on Monday.
After we de-schooled over the summer, the idea was to slowly ease into doing bookwork for reading, writing and matheach day, then work our way up to a more regimented daily routine.
Originally, I had hired a babysitter to hang out with Max (2) so I could focus on Xavier and give him my attention during homeschool hours. What I thought was a grand plan quickly turned into just another thing I had to try to manage. Max likes everyone to be together, so getting him out the door to play with the sitter became super dramatic and upsetting every day. As an alternative, Xavier and I tried to do our work at libraries and coffee shops, but it was choppy and messy — and also didn’t feel right.
So, we are here on holiday break, reimagining what our days will look like come January 7th.
There also have been a few other changes that play a part in the revisions of our daily life:
- We switched up/cut back the babysitter’s hours to make more resources available and make space for new activities.
- Xavier got an official diagnosis (a long time coming) and we have weekly therapies that we need to bake into our week.
- Our curriculum provider failed to give me the rest of the year’s curriculum, so I have had to figure out what we will do about that moving forward.
- Xavier really was not enjoying one of his enrichment class days, so we have switched to another location to try that out.
Parenting and homeschooling, aside from humbling the crap outta you, is pretty much trial and error. You don’t know what will work until you give it a go. I thought I had things mapped out in a way that was totally going to work, but they didn’t. The first four months were basically spent learning HOW Xavier was learning best. What he enjoys, hates, struggles with and fears. Picking apart learning issues versus not wanting to do something, and learning when to PUSH and when to pull back. Being both Mama and teacher has not been an easy road by any means. But, I really am hoping for some more ease with our refreshed daily goals and am confident with our newly emerging schedule.
I have been slow to get X an official diagnosis over the years mainly because I knew what was going on and thought that I could give him what he needed. I also didn’t want his early years to be filled with appointments, doctors and unnecessary interventions. But I am now at a point where I do need some new tools to help guide him in the right direction. We have found a place that views children holistically, and respects our opinions and ideas. Having a diagnosis also helps us get in place the correct therapies that will make life a little easier for X and enable him to focus on the more important things.
So, here is what I am thinking for our new weekly plan, with wiggle room, of course, because … life:
- Sitter with Max
- Mom and X at therapies, then lunch date
- Afternoon free play
- Class Day with Mixed Age Homeschooled Kids
- Free play
- PM — Boxing with Mom or Dad
- Homeschool Nature Meet Up (Still working out these details)
- Sitter for a few hours of play (Mom Work Time)
- Morning Tea & Poetry Reading/Writing
- Outside Time
- Afternoon Adventure
- Class Day with Mixed-Age Homeschoolers
- Lego Club
- Martial Arts
- Math Games
Each night we read chapter books out loud before bed, and a few times a week X joins Mike or myself at boxing classes. We also ride a bike or scooter around the neighborhood nearly every day.
Saturday mornings include chores and then soccer. Sundays are Family Adventure Days.
We will focus on learning body parts by making a giant cutout body and learning the nervous system, organs and anything else he’s interested in. Learning how to tell time and beginning multiplication are also on the hit list. We practice writing by composing letters to friends and family, and writing in our Big Life Journal and nature journaling.
As you can see, it’s still a work in progress … but by eliminating some of the obstacles and gaining new tools to help him grow, I am hoping for less of a struggle moving forward.
I have decided not to proceed with any particular curriculum for the rest of this school year, as there is a good chunk of more basic concepts that we need to work on that will take up our time instead.
I feel so fortunate to be able to homeschool my children, and give them the education and tools they need, while making learning exciting and hands-on.
Whenever other moms find out that I homeschool, they say, “Wow! I could NEVER do that. I need a break from my kids!” I hear ya! But I want to say this to you: yes, you totally could! And also, when we keep families together and have a fairly simple daily routine that doesn’t involve everyone’s going in different directions, the connection is stronger; and there is less arguing, fighting and stress. People work together more fluidly, or at least that’s how it works in our house.
I DO need breaks, and I take them when I can. When Max naps, I usually work out for 30-ish minutes. One afternoon/week I get 3 hours to myself for writing/working or sitting in the car alone in complete silence 🙂 I plan to delve a bit more into this as well later.