Our first day of this homeschool year was spent not doing school work and we…
5 weeks … we are surviving!!!
It’s not as bad as I make it sound, for anybody looking from the outside in it’s actually going very well. I am just being dramatic because things are not going according to “plan” (even though my plan wasn’t a set plan), what is working is so different from anything I envisioned that my brain is having a hard time accepting and going with the flow. And what does work IS going with the flow.
Shammy’s definition of school is vastly different from mine. His definition of “doing school” is workbooks, worksheets and writing practice. My definition also includes reading books, educational videos, science experiments, nature observation, math manipulatives, field trips and many other things. While we do workbooks and writing on a daily basis, it would be very limiting if that is all that we ever did so I try to mix things up to save paper and not get sick of worksheets. As a result we sometimes end up with conflict when he throws a fit because he wants to do “more school” and I reply “we ARE doing school we are mixing food coloring and making new colors/reading a book/observing ants/insert educational activity here!” and he’ll disagree, shut down and refuse to cooperate because he didn’t get his way.
I don’t want schooling to be a power struggle so with the brief exception of finishing whatever we already started, I don’t force him to do something that he doesn’t want to do. This means that planning is a waste of time, he may not be interested in a topic or activity today but chances are that before the end of the week he’ll gladly and happily do it so I don’t push things and just move on to something else. So now I just have a wide assortment of resources and just randomly grab something that is in line to the interest “du jour”; that is the beauty and flexibility of homeschooling. While our learning progression may not be as linear as a public or private school, there is lots of learning happening nonetheless.
I have given up trying to plan lessons, now I just track what has been done so I can have a record of what we have covered and I can feel like I accomplished something. I have moved the writing and worksheet part of schooling to the afternoon to have less hours of nagging to “do more school”, that has helped quite a bit. While I can’t say I am staying caught up with domestic chores, the flexibility in the morning does help get more cleaning done than I was accomplishing during the first 2 weeks.
Now I am trying to tackle the new challenge of the 2 year old that really wants to do school but doesn’t want to share me with his brother. Zen no longer ignores us and demands to do school too. While I do my best to accommodate him, he gets very upset and disruptive if I try to help Shammy with something. While I am trying a variety of activities and projects with him, I have a feeling that in order to address the jealousy I’ll just need to bite the bullet and research one-room schooling methods to figure out how to teach 2 levels simultaneously, at least until they are older and more interested in independent study. I can’t say I am looking forward to this task.
If asked, I would say that we are still trying homeschooling on for size. So far the shoe fits, now I am just walking around to see how easy it will be to break in the shoe or if it will give me blisters before I try to walk too far…