Last year was our very first year (like many families) homeschooling. As we prepare for our Summer Home School I am caused to reflect on the last year.
First and foremost I am incredibly grateful that we have the blessed opportunity for me to stay home with the 3wilds and to homeschool. Homeschool as I have mentioned before, had always been in the back of our minds and hearts but never took the leap. COVID gave us that leap.
As much as we loved being home together, and as much as we drove each other barking mad, we definitely experienced some ups and downs along the way. The number one lesson we took was be flexible. I am not the person to set up desks and assignments and mimic school the institution. No way. However the curriculum that we chose made us be more at the table than I would have liked. For our 5th grader we went with a free online program which required more screen time than I anticipated plus all of the supply lists. I ended up with lots of surprise lists too which was frustrating and led to us skipping some lessons altogether.
Another aspect I struggled with was consistency of scheduling. We love morning time, it is our favorite part of the day where we all gather around the table for read aloud and the kids get to do quiet handicrafts. Morning time is the best! We struggled with the follow up and continuation of the day. Constantly being pulled from and very parent involved kindergarten curriculum and an online program that just was not a good fit for my fifth grader.
We made it through the year, all of us feeling like we barely did so. We ended up having a morning time meeting where we talked about the whole year, our likes and dislikes and what could be different and then my fifth grader said, “if we do online again, I would rather go back to school.” I felt like a failure with 12 words. I failed, ugh. It took some time to reflect and see where it went wrong, when I discussed it more in depth with him, it turned out he simply hated being online (I did not like it either) and so when I offered a different approach/curriculum he was quick to tell me with that change he would rather stay home.
As much as we struggled, I was so thankful for the ease in which our days continued, no phone calls from principals or teachers, no crying kids off of the bus because they were teased, taunted and even physically hurt like we experienced in years before. I am grateful that the whole bully issue does not even touch our door step and we are free from the worry of our children being hurt or harmed by their peers for no reason other than to cause pain. Our kids of course experience their own squabbles, teasing and regular sibling interaction – but we are in control of the problem solving and discipline that comes with it.
All in all, we are ready to take on a new school year from home. With a new curriculum that is created on a scaffolding scheme and a family style approach, the kids are already LOVING their summer mini unit (more to come when we are finished and we can give an honest review).