Before I took the plunge to homeschool my kids, I could not visualise HOW I could do it. I would look at all these homeschooling mums with so much respect and awe, wondering how they stay sane and keep up with the mammoth responsibility to educate their children.
Then I was forced to make the decision to get my kids out of school before Easter this year, because they were struggling to adjust to our new life. My dad died suddenly, so my mum (their Nanna) moved in to live with us so I could care for her. Then my grandad died and then their other Grandad got diagnosed with Terminal Lung Cancer. They also have another great-grandpa who is very ill also.
To make room for my mum to live with us permanently, we are having an extension built on the side of the house. The kids were not sleeping well, falling out with peers and their teachers at school, fighting every second of the school run and crying that they didn’t want to go. Every day was a battle, and I was in the throws of grief and depression and simply did not have the energy to be fighting every day.
At first I thought I was admitting defeat. I was sure I’d regret my decision to homeschool and go stir crazy within weeks. That’s what it always felt like during school holidays!
Oddly, having the kids home and spending time together as a family was exactly what the doctor ordered. For all of us.
The boys’ attitudes started to change. They were more open to talking about their feelings and concerns. They turned into more relaxed, chilled-out kids! Yes, they definitely DEFINITELY have their moments. (Or days, sometimes) But they have become SO CLOSE. The three musketeers!
We took a long break from any kind of school work. I took them to the local Home Ed clubs/meet ups and we went on trips out to the local farm, shops, library and played at the arcades during the day!
We really enjoyed a good break over the summer. Family came over from America to visit and we had lots of memory-making moments together. As September came along, I was prepared and the boys were ready to knuckle down and get working!
I started a Facebook Group to keep track of the activities we do on a daily/weekly basis. It’s helpful because sometimes the Local Authority like to think they can nosey in and see what you’re up to. Legally, they have no right. And to be honest, if they were given authority to “assess” whether home-schooling parents are giving their children a proper education, and that they do it because they “care” for the “well-being” of homeschooled children, then surely there would be a Homeschool grant of sorts.
Put your child into school and their books, schooling, supplies, activities are paid for. Some times the school meals are paid for by the government too. Trips are subsidised.
Take your child out of school and what help do you get from the government? Nothing.
Doesn’t seem like the Government care all that much about homeschooled kids when you realise how little help they’re willing to offer.
Anyways, this is not meant to be a political rant. I wanted to share a typical day on here, for those mums who wonder how it’s done. If it’s even possible? I had my doubts for sure.
My kids are: 9, 7 and 6. That means I have to prepare lessons, teach, set work and mark them for Year 2, Year 3 and Year 5.
I’m passionate about following the curriculum should I put the boys back into school and to allow a smooth transition. At the same time, I am also passionate about letting the children choose what they want to learn and have some freedom to play and just be kids!
So here’s my typical “homeschool” Day:
When the boys wake up (around 7:30) they climb upstairs to the attic and watch TV and/or play games on the computers. At 8:30am their gadgets turn off. (Thank you parental controls) Which signals time for breakfast.
After breakfast, the kids have some free-play time until 10am when I come up to the attic with their work folders for homeschool.
We start with a prayer, share any family news and then I direct my oldest two sons to read their books (Ryan is reading Alex Rider at the moment and Alex is reading Matilda) I then sit with my youngest son, Nicholas and we go through phonics together and he reads to me. Once we are done, I settle him down with his maths activity book and go to help Alex with his English/History/Geography/Science/Maths/German (Whatever subjects I’ve set for that morning.) Once he’s finished, I move over to Ryan, who mostly works on his own until I sit with him and help him with whatever he is stuck on.
(Check out this post about the online maths tuition the boys have started, with Matr.)
After everyone has completed their work books, we go over what goals the boys want to achieve for the week, I hand out lady bird stamps for excellent work and then we play a game together. (Uno, Sight-Words Bingo, Fortnite, Monopoly etc)
The boys have free-play while I prepare lunch and then we eat together. If the weather is nice, and everyone is feeling well, we take the dog out for a nice nature walk. This strikes up all sorts of random conversations. It’s lovely to get out for fresh air and away from technology.
The afternoon is dedicated to activities. This may be a home education meet up in the local area, a play date at their Auntie’s house, cooking class, parkour, rock-climbing, soft play, theatre trip to name a few.
Each week, the kids tell me something they’d like to do. We’ve made YouTube videos, tried science experiments, created new recipes, written bucket lists and explored new places.
Because there is no stress of a school run in the morning, we are more relaxed in the evenings. The boys have nice hot baths every evening, and sleepovers several times a week. We eat together as a family and the boys play with each other in their rooms. Alex has started reading to Nicholas at night too.
Ok, so this is a perfect Homeschool day. I’m reading all this back and a wry smile crosses my lips because sometimes we don’t start out work until the afternoon and go out in the morning instead. Sometimes we don’t go out at all or get any work done but watch Movies and the kids play games all day. Sometimes we are out at clubs and meet ups all day long. It varies.
But thats the beauty of homeschooling. There is no strict routine and if you decide to be spontaneous and do something unscripted – go for it.