28 January 2014

Homeschooling taught me flexibility

I have been quiet for so many reasons.....

One of them is that homeschooling has taken over our lives completely, but in a good way.

Even though we are still doing a more traditional schooling style with books and workbooks, it is more and more becoming unschooled.

The big word for 2013 would be FLEXIBILITY. And Mami was the student. 

Teaching a second/third grader with a preschooler and a baby on hand, is not easy, but it can be done - as so many homeschooling moms have proven it before me and with even more kids. It takes alot of energy, consistency, humor, and flexibility.

We started the year with a rigid schedule of when and how we did school. An 8 o'clock start in the morning was just one aspect. Following a schedule for all the subjects was another. Trying to be done by lunchtime was almost a 'must' (for Mami) because I would just run out of energy.

But wouldn't you know it: Babies grow. Babies become more active and mobile. And babies sleep less. Mix all this together, and you can imagine that our schedule was interrupted more and more often. With a baby that learned to crawl and walk and talk and getting into things, my attention was pulled in many directions at times.

Over the last year, we went from starting always on time and working through the entire curriculum until it was done, to starting whenever we got to it and doing most of our school work when the baby was napping, which is after lunch. So yes, school takes place most of the time in the afternoon now.

As you can imagine, it took ME some time to find peace with this. As a German, I feel like orderliness was given to me by DNA, so I kind of have to fight my own instincts here. But now, I am totally fine with the way we school. Actually, I love our flexibility. We enjoy school much more and we can enjoy other activities as well - without that guilt feeling of missing something or not doing enough.

Learning is so much more than textbooks and workbooks. It happens ALL the time, driving in the car, when the kids ask questions, or when we sit playing a board game. It is about exposing the kids to as much as we can - especially at their age now. When they get bigger, and they will develop their own tastes and interests, we will study those things in more detail.

So some days, school will be done in the mornings, some days we won't start until after lunch.
If something comes up and we have to change plans, we can. Like last week, our field trip was moved to Wednesday, which opened up our Friday for something else. So we are having two half days and split the work of one day over two shorter days to enjoy socialization.

I like to get my errands done in the morning, when I have more energy and the stores are emptier (lol). So when we do our weekly big shopping trip, school will take place in the car, in the grocery store, and afterwards at home. It kind of never stops.
Here, we are learning outside in the backyard while Baby is sleeping

So my message for other homeschoolers is that FLEXIBILITY can create a wonderful environment for children to learn every aspect of life, not just the academics. It can teach the kids to deal with the curve-balls that life throws us sometimes. When unexpected things happen, there is no need to stress.