This is no indication of what tomorrow may bring, but right now, in this moment, I feel like I may survive homeschooling.
My children completed their homeschooling lessons in an hour today. One hour. No tears, no screaming, no threats. Just sat down and did their work. And it made me realize the rationale behind the traditional school model.
First, some background:
Kai is learning to write. I’m told he will be expected to write his name, address, and phone number going into kindergarten. So he’s had a number and a letter per day for months now. Anya has felt left out; she wants a number and a letter each day, too.
Anya’s handwriting is atrocious. (She comes by this honestly.) So I hatched a plan. I downloaded a new set of handwriting worksheets and printed out sets for each kid. For the next 26 days, at least, they will work on the same letter, the same number. Together. They will do two letter sheets and one number sheet. If they want bonus points, they can do a third letter sheet.
In addition to handwriting, I have assigned one subject (currently bouncing between Language Arts and Math, with some Social Studies mixed in on Wednesdays) and one Related Art (Art, Music, PE, etc.) each day. They’ve been doing separate, age-appropriate activities up to this point, but for the next month I’m going to see what happens if I merge their activities. Today, for example, was Language Arts and Art. I had Anya read The Gruffalo to Kai, then draw a picture of the setting.
Since I can’t make everything a group activity, I am giving them one additional sheet focused on their grade level. Anya’s was a penmanship practice sheet. Kai’s was a rhyming identification sheet. But again, they sat at the table together while completing their work.
So today’s school day looked like this:
- We sat in a circle and did 5 belly breaths together.
- I described what they would work on that day, and told them that they would get a treat if they finished all their work plus the bonus sheet.
- We did jumping jacks while Anya skip-counted to 1000 by 100s.
- They did the worksheets and gave them to me for review.
- Anya read The Gruffalo to Kai.
- I made them s’mores.
- They told me I am the best mommy ever.
They can now play the rest of the day in peace, and I can get my work done.
So I guess when my teachers had us work on projects together, they were trying to make the work easier and more fun. It wasn’t punishment. (When it comes to work, I have always been a lone wolf. Does it show?)
Now, will it go this smoothly every day? Hell no. But I have hope that I can make it go well at least some days. Maybe even most days. That’s a bigger boost than I have had in a while.