Our fourth week of homeschooling’s done and it’s getting more painless as the days go by. Well, it wasn’t really anything like that to begin with. I’m lucky to have cooperative girls who are always excited about learning. There are days though when mood swings are on a different level, but that’s pretty understandable. We all have good and bad days and when the situation calls for it, we step back and unwind for a bit. My patience, up to now, has not been tested and so far things are going smoothly.
Why did we opt for homeschooling? COVID19 forced us to stay home and there were programs offered by their former school for online distant learning. Unfortunately, my kids can’t handle being tied to a computer and chair for many hours. This is not their type of learning, it may be for some kids, but I’m also worried about the amount of screen time they will be having and how it affects their eyes. One of the twins is still under eye-therapy and can have only an hour of screen time every week.
One of the parents we know has been homeschooling for a couple of years and after my tete-a-tete with her, we realized that this might be good for our current set-up. We made plenty of research, interviews and attended several orientations to help us decide which one would be the perfect provider for our family. We ended up picking a really flexible program that will work well with the family’s working hours and lifestyle.
How did we start homeschooling?
After all the orientations and trainings, I realized, I really, really, really, REALLY NEED to be VERY ORGANIZED. I made a checklist of what I needed to do, the school requirements, and their books.
Checklist of the requirements, books and a To Do List
This is where we started. What are the school requirements, deadlines, trainings that we need to take, and then of course, the book list.
2. Make a School Year Calendar
Making a school calendar is a must for me to keep track of the time. If a school year requires 40 weeks then I’d need to spread out 10 weeks each quarter and plan from there. School breaks, holidays are also plotted in our monthly calendar.
3. Have a Quarterly Schedule
Making the schedule for an entire quarter made my nose bleed. This one requires a lot of planning and going through the books, thinking of activities and projects for core subjects. I am so thankful to Armi and Viv who shared this practice with me, but of course I have to make my own, based on where my kids left off last school-year. I had to check their understanding of all the subjects and review what they learned from Grade 1.
We also planned together a LOT of activities and projects for the quarter: we have painting, planting a garden, baking, video interviews, cartoon presentations, scrapbooking, field trips, etc. Here’s the curriculum I made for the 1st Quarter for my 2nd Graders and some of the trips and video calls we planned.
4. Plan ahead by having a planned flexible weekly schedule
We have a weekly schedule to put a little daily routine and for us to prepare ahead of time. This includes getting the materials ready. Also the girls love speaking and reporting in “class.” This gives them the opportunity and time to research, and review before they present. With us being the only ones in the family without any household help, we get a lot less stressed when we plan ahead. Of course, the schedule is still flexible, we make changes when necessary. We also extended homeschooling to weekends - and put ART and coding classes every Saturday since that’s what they love to do. It takes them an hour or so to finish creating a game, painting or making crafts plus the clean-up time can get really tedious.
Here's our weekly plan... now don't judge. :) This of course is very flexible, there are times when the girls have a good grasp of the subject and we'd just breeze through the topic, and there are times when it's difficult and they need more time, so we adjust. We have this to integrate discipline and form habits that we feel that the girls will need in the future. It will be different for all families. We have Math and Sciences daily upon the request of the twins because those are their favorite subjects and they enjoy them the most.
This is what we have for this week and it is posted to our screen.
5. Daily Reading Time
Our daily reading time is before bedtime. I strongly agree that reading is vital to learning, not just in homeschooling, because in reading, you learn words that are not said in daily conversations. As the grades progress, a lot of reading, comprehension and writing will be required from learners and reading proficiency to me is a must. Writing too (at least for me) is a must. And together with the kids, we read books at night to unwind. We take turns reading lines and paragraphs, sometimes we also play the characters in the stories to make it more interesting.
For the first month, we read The Little Prince, and luckily, Netflix launched a movie weeks after we finished the book. The girls recognized how different the movie was but were also able to take note of the similarities. We made sure to finish the book first before the movie, because they might lose interest in the book.
I hope this helps. I’m very new at this, but with the help of other homeschooling parents, I managed to get through the first weeks without any struggle. It’s also nice to get support from others who’s willing to give a helping hand anytime you need one. I am thankful to have these parents who make my life easier and less stressful by sharing their best practices with me, and now I’m paying forward by sharing these and I hope it helps in some ways. :) Thanks Mommies!