A Phrase I have seen brought up in many threads online, a comment I have had thrown at me almost every.single.time I mentioned I wanted, and now AM homeschooling. While yes, right now- NO ONE is socializing - except for the people living within our own four walls... I’m not worried about my kids and their socialization. Everyone always says you need schools for our kids to socialization - but really, they have very very little time to do that naturally. Unlike when we were growing up - and had an hour (or longer) for lunch and recess, so places even had recess 2x a day, the school my girls went to they only have a total of 35mins for lunch and recess combined.. during which they are not allowed to sit with who they like and can only play with kids in their own grade. Then, during the school day they do everything else with the children in their individual class and there is not guarantee that they will jive with anyone in class or that the overall vibe in the classroom will be cohesive. Both my girls experienced this at some point already, as did I much of elementary school.
I have seen, know of, and can't wait to be a part of a community where kids who are homeschooled (when not in quarantine) get out and play and do things with kids of all ages, often for many hours a day or numerous times a week.. depending on their schedule, family life etc... they also make and choose more meaningful friendships based on likes/activities/ family friendships... rather then just the xx number of kids in their grade.. many of whom they might never even get to know due to class selection or friend "cliques". To be honest, even though we live in a small town with many lovely families I never felt 100% comfortable with having my kids go on playdates at this young an age without me there or really getting to know the family they are hanging with, nor do I love having someone's child I don't know well and they don't know me at my home. What if they had an accident, or were being unkind to my other daughter, what if they were afraid of our dogs, or rude to my husband or I... without knowing the child or the parent, how can I comfortably react to the many situations that could arise while watching their child - but due to the social norms of our town I had to adjust very quickly if I wanted either of my girls to have a relationship beyond the school playground with any of the kids in her class.
I know my girls will be well socialized and happy and well adjusted and I can now do this with likeminded people, or choose to have my girls interact and foster friendships with other kids and families I feel a connection with, or spend more time with family friends and prioritize those. Bottom line, my kids, just like the vast majority of other kids who are homeschooled, they will be just fine.
So I've been asked this question a lot in the last 1.5 weeks... it's still a bit early to really give a solid answer but I've been kinda 1/2 "homeschooling" since day 1 of virtual learning. But now, it got real- real fast! Im responsible for making all their educational choices, the rules, the decisions on what and how they learn and study something and I get to see things through from start to finish - or hell stop doing something because it isn't working. Some of these aspects Im still figuring it - and I foresee it will be a process that will have ebs and flows and will change as we all learn together.
However, I have learned something extremely valuable about my kids during this process... my kids are WAY more apt to learn something if it is not in a workbook. Yes, some subjects MUST be done in workbook - there is no two ways about it. I read not too long ago that when your kids are within the grades of k-3 subjects like math or even word study are the most impactful when taught hands on or as games... It really struck a cord with me and stuck with me. I've now done "game days" for math and WOW, I see it coming together. Great example, My little one has seen/heard us talk about place value with numbers and the other day I used a montessori approach to explaining it. They both "got it" but I could tell by the end, rather then really getting it - it had been lost on them both in some way and it ended with my older one feeling "not as smart as" her little sister (which is TOTALLY not true!) - So today, I found this game on pinterest using UNO cards and improved upon it a bit to help my girls and decided it was math for today. WOW what a difference. If you're curious - here's what we played.
Place value UNO war
Here's how to play. *You can play this with just the 1's place value, 10's, or go up to 100s or even 1000s!
Im going to preface this with - Im no expect, I haven't done this for more then a hot minute... but I will say that while I can be spontaneous in many ways - it usually comes with a good 4-12mns of research behind it. Im more of a person who gets an idea in their mind and BAM! It's happening. So yah, while I might not be walking the walk in full capacity just yet I feel pretty good sharing what I have found and why I'm interested in it.
Homeschooling seems to come in all shapes and sizes, where you live often determines if you have to follow any sort of "rules" and so on. In New Jersey, where we live - it is surprisingly very relaxed... you just need to write your school with a certified letter that you are withdrawing your kids and BAM! you're on your own... with that though means you get ZERO help from your state or town. That's cool though.. Im good with that. Other states have different rules and regulations so before you take this plunge, make sure you know what you're doing :)
Before I did this - I joined a few facebook groups for my state, and also the part of the state Im in (northern nj), along with joining groups that fit the "Style" homeschooler I felt I aligned with the most. There are a BUNCH of "styles" of homeschoolers out there.. Across my findings I stumbled across this blog and took the quiz they have - which helped to lead me along my path on understanding what is out there and having a better understanding as to the kind of schooler I would like to be.
So yah, after taking this quiz I went out and googled the S**T out of these findings -- leading me to learn that I am a "relaxed" charlotte mason- literature based, montessori, unit studies inspired homeschooler 😂. God help me!
But really and truly it did get me thinking - how do my kids learn and how do I plan to teach them... would and should I rely on workbooks and what did/does that look like... do I care if they did stuff on the computer and if so, how much of it would be online, do I want to join co-ops, or find places where my kids can take in person classes, and more.
I will note that before these past few weeks I had planned wholeheartedly to have a relaxed, modified "unschooling" approach - one filled with play based, adventures, meeting new people and making new friends, very little "workbook work" almost like a year of deschooling (a term often used when you take time to "forget" about your public school time) However I realized that while I will 100% incorporate free play and adventures, and travel - lots of travel! I do see the value of this year really figuring out how my children learn and focusing on being tight knit and together. We as a family will spend time with each other, we will of course do things and get out there and adventure, it's in my soul to do that but mainly to do a lot of connecting with ourselves... we will spend time with our existing friends and keep those relationships thriving, they will most likely have speech and tutoring, and my girls have expressed the desire to do certain activities and those will take time and dedication.
While Im a big mover and shaker- this forced at home experience is reminding me that it is ok to take time to adjust in our own way... that we will have many years and months to make new friends and try new things.
Hi, I'm Stacey
A newly minted homeschooling mom to two little girls, two crazy pups, professional photog. by trade and a big dream to share the world and all it has to offer with my girls by traveling and experiencing it all together. Follow our journey and learn from our mistakes and triumphs along the way.