Our homeschooling journey has been less than perfect. In this post you’ll find out how we keep tweaking and tweaking to find what works.
There are all kinds of messages we get as parents about why we suck at being a parent. Most of us think that traditional school is the only place our kids will learn and make friends. I mean, what if they don’t play sports or even worse, don’t go to prom?!
We continuously hear- Your kids are on their screens too much, yet let’s use an iPad at school all day. Your kids don’t get enough exercise but let’s load them up with hours of homework, so there isn’t time to play outside. Your kids don’t know how to think for themselves but let’s schedule play dates and all kinds of Pinteresty crafts for them since it’s not safe to ride bikes around the neighborhood and make new friends.
Shit. If I’m already doing all the wrong things, how will I ever successfully homeschool?
When I started looking into homeschool curriculums, I thought I needed to copy what was going on in the “traditional” classroom. I was naive enough to think I would order a curriculum, put it in front of my kids, and all would be well with the world. After all, this cookie-cutter approach is how my kids were learning in public school, right? I learned very quickly that this is a horrible approach to learning, and I realized I was going to need a new plan ASAP.
We’ve been through FIVE different curriculums
We started homeschooling in January and have been through five different homeschool curriculums in six months. I have ZERO experience with teaching, let alone homeschooling, so I figured I was just going to have to try a bunch of stuff until I found what worked.
Then COVID-19 happened, and our world, like everyone else’s, was turned upside down. It was stressful, and we were moving around and trying to figure out where we could park and live, etc. School stopped, and I panicked. What if my kids got behind. What if I was ruining their lives because they weren’t doing math and learning grammar. Every day I shamed myself because I wasn’t doing enough as their teacher.
Lean on those with more experience
Then I talked to some other experienced homeschool moms on the road. They told me to chill the *@ck out and give myself about a year or more to get into a homeschooling groove. A year? That sounded crazy, but they knew what they were doing, so I went with it.
Slow it down
I learned to slow it down and not pack it all in. I had been focusing on all subjects and then some, but decided to ditched science and history for only math and reading/writing. Once I stopped worrying about missing links and the kids getting behind, school became easy(ier.)
Now I focus on what the kids want to learn- Ellie loves to cook, and Kyle loves animals. Ellie makes dinner with me almost every night, and she’s learned how to use a knife, calculate measurements, and read and write recipes. Kyle uses the SEEK app on hikes, tells us all about the animals living wherever we go, and watches YouTube videos and shows about animals. All this has brought fun into their schooling.
For more traditional learning, I had to try several different things. Once I was able to pay attention to both of their learning styles, everything clicked. I found the Brain Quest books work exceptionally well for Ellie. She is easily overwhelmed, and a workbook where she can focus on one page at a time has been much more straightforward. She thrives with one on one instruction which is why her large classroom in public school caused so much anxiety. I find I need to sit with her while she does her work, and she knocks it out very quickly. On the flip side, if I’m trying to work or dos something else, she starts to get distracted, and school becomes challenging.
Kyle is much easier to homeschool because he’s much more my style- pick up the lesson, figure it out, and complete it. However, it was WHERE he studied that challenged me. He prefers to lay in his bunk and study, which seemed crazy; you have to sit at a table and pay attention. But I let go of that assumption real quick. He also prefers online school over the workbook like Ellie. This proves challenging when we don’t have wifi, but we are working through that.
Homeschooling or roadschooling or whatever you want to call it is a different journey for every family. Ours is still evolving, and I always get stressed out over it from time to time, but I do feel I’m finding my footing as a homeschooling mom. We are starting to find our groove, and I feel like we are learning, which is what matters most.
Let me know if you have any homeschooling tips for me below!
Curriculums we’ve used so far:
- The Good and the Beautiful- classical language arts
- Teaching Textbooks- online math
- Time 4 Learning- full online curriculum
- Mia Academy- full online curriculum
- Brain Quest – elementary workbooks
Ellie is currently working with Brain Quest and Kyle is using Mia Academy.
We have been supplementing all year with workbooks for science and history and read a lot of books. I use a website called Teachers Pay Teachers for government, life skills, and some poetry units.