What I learned after 1 week of homeschooling

What I’ve learned after 1 week homeschooling

  • Don’t bother planning more than a day in advance

At least for the first week, Shammy wants to move at a very fast pace and yet there are certain activities that he flat out refuses to do (like drawing or any “craft”). Planning a day at a time allows me to better cater to his interest “du jour” and reduces the risk of frustration for all of us.

  • Planning can only happen when Shammy is sleeping or out with his father, otherwise he runs over begging to “do more school”

I am happy that he likes homeschooling but didn’t expect him to love school so much, he keeps begging for more and throws a tantrum when we are done for the day because he wants to do more. This means that I can’t even reach for the supplies without him running over excited to “do more school”.

  • Don’t bother with art or anything remotely crafty

Shammy has some interesting reactions to certain tasks… Drawing? no way! Coloring? Maybe, one per day if the picture is cool enough. Cutting? Are you crazy? Any sort of craft? what is your problem?! Worksheets? Keep them coming!
A part of me doesn’t mind because I am not a fan of crafts either and it saves money on supplies but limiting the artsy content of a lesson can be tricky when so many preschool resources are arts heavy.

  • When Shammy decides he doesn’t want to do it, just drop it until another day

He is easily frustrated so I have to very carefully approach new information to give him just the right amount of challenge or else he will close up and refuse to even try.

  • I Love the look of delight on his face when he “gets” it

On the other hand when he is challenged and he gets it, the transformation on his aura, body language and especially face is amazing to watch and I can’t get enough of it.

  •  Zen likes school- one on one

Zen stays out of our way for the most part when I am working with Shammy on lessons but as soon as I am done with Shammy he runs over asking for his turn to do school. I hadn’t planned on it but I am finding myself having to prepare some simple lessons appropriate for a 2 year old as he is loving the one on one time with me.

Zen loves doing school work, it wasn't part of the original plan but I am rolling with it

Zen loves doing school work, it wasn’t part of the original plan but I am rolling with it

  •  Shammy wants more and more schoolwork than I thought possible.

And by this he means, working together one on one with a book or workbook, educational games and activities don’t count in his mind, it still boggles my mind that this kid is so addicted to worksheets.

He doesn't get tired of worksheets

He doesn’t get tired of worksheets

  • My cleaning routine is messed up

The best school schedule for us right now is to do the calendar notebook and main lessons after breakfast, break for play and snack, resume with worksheets, break for lunch and some play, reading and educational activities during Zen’s nap time. While this schedule works great for Shammy and I still have several hours in the afternoon for other tasks, it has really messed up my domestic productivity as I used to get the bulk of the household chores done in the morning and by the time I have time in the afternoon I lack the energy and motivation to do much cleaning. Shammy does have some chores assigned but there is a lot I need to do as well so this area definitely will need more tweaking and time management skills.

  • I have more patience than I thought possible

My biggest fear about homeschooling was that I would not have enough patience to do it. So far I have found the most patience ever when working with Shammy on school work. Why can’t I have this same amount of patience with potty training?

  • That learning nook? Collecting dust.

We are really liking working on the dining room table so I got hubby’s permission to hang the dry erase board and some posters in the dining room.
In other news I had my first homeschooling related nightmare last night. I dreamt that Shammy was demanding to do school on the weekend and threw a tantrum because he didn’t want to wait until Monday. It ended up being partially true, he did ask for school and although the tantrum was not as dramatic as in the dream, it took some persuasion and explanation to get him to accept that there is more to life than worksheets and that we learn things every day through other methods.

This is his tantrum face after telling him that we were done with school for today and would continue tomorrow (we had already done and extra hour and I was exhausted)  He didn't want to do a puzzle or play Legos, the tear tracks break my heart

This is his tantrum face after telling him that we were done with school for today and would continue tomorrow (we had already done and extra hour and I was exhausted) He didn’t want to do a puzzle or play Legos, the tear tracks break my heart

We’ll see what week 2 brings….

Unschooling Wednesdays?

I originally planned on homeschooling 4 days a week since I work out of the home on Wednesdays. Due to life’s challenges I’ve complained about before, I didn’t have a babysitter today so I experimented with having the boys come into work with me. While it’s not something that I would want to do on a regular basis, it wasn’t as bad as I feared, specially for Shammy.

He got to see his mama in action and we got to talk about the office environment, the equipment and its function, what the office does, how they do it and why I do the work that I do. It evolved into it’s own lesson without me even trying. He also got some of that socialization that some people think that homeschoolers don’t get as he got to interact with an assortment of coworkers and clients in a wide range of ages. He then decided that he wanted to write a thank you note (he had gotten lots of practice with those after his birthday) and I was amazed at how much his penmanship improved from such an activity so I got to thinking that I can’t call today a no-school day.

I love the concept of unschooling but my personality dictates that I plan everything to the extreme detail so my mind is not compatible with unschooling full time but I can see how doing it one day a week would be fun and refreshing.

If all goes well the boys will have a new babysitter next Wednesday but the beauty of part time work is that I’ll still have a couple of hours in the afternoon to do some informal learning with Shammy before we have to go pick up Daddy at work.

Will we continue this every week? Only time will tell.

 

unschooling

First Homeschool Day

“Plans are made to be broken”

I am SO glad that I reminded myself of that when I was planning or else my Type A/ OCD self would be twitching and rocking today.

We had our first “official” homeschool day yesterday. It’s not “truly” official because we won’t be registered with the school district as homeschoolers until Shammy turns 6 but we are formally educating and no longer messing around like we did last year.

In pajamas... because we can

In pajamas… because we can

I set a very low expectation to try to prevent disappointment and was happy with how things turned out. I learned a lot in just a few short hours such as:

  •  Shammy hates anything arts & crafts related
  •  He LOVES worksheets
  •  Science Experiments are fun
  •  Disguise math into games
  •  but most importantly I learned to relax and have fun with it which meant that most of my planning got thrown out of the symbolic window

When I was planning lessons last month I was working on the premise that Shammy had mastered all pre-K material and we could move to Kindergarten stuff. While that is still true, he just turned 4 and doesn’t need the pressure of advanced materials; I don’t want to homeschool as a race to see how young he can graduate high school.  He is having fun with Pre-K material and doesn’t seem to mind working on things he already knows so we’ll take a slower paced approach. Who knows maybe we will end up at K level materials by the middle of the year, only time will tell.

 

So what worked and what didn’t?
Granted these opinions are based on just 2 days and I expect this process to remain fluid but as of right now…

Didn’t work:

  • Remember that pretty learning nook I posted about a few weeks back? We didn’t use it and I am not surprised. I wasn’t planning on using it anyway, the kitchen table worked just fine.
  • That online planner I may have mentioned? I am preferring a good ol’ spiral bound notebook (I may buy a binder at the dollar store next time I am out). I love doing everything on the computer but unless I get a laptop it just won’t be convenient or efficient since we are doing school work downstairs and the computer is in the second floor.
  • Remember those cool free online curriculums? I am putting most of them on hold at least for now. We will still use ABC Mouse although I will play a bigger role in the selection of activities for that day.
  • Anything remotely artsy. A lot of preschool curriculum are arts and crafts heavy even when teaching language arts and math, this is so not compatible with Shammy. He doesn’t want to draw, cut, color or glue on command so we skip that. I am not a fan of crafty projects anyway so I don’t mind.

What did work:

  • Daily Notebook- I use a combination of the free materials from Confession of a Homeschooler along with 2 other sites and that was a HUGE Hit with Shammy
  • Star Wars Workbooks with write and wipe covers, or any other workbook or worksheet I printed. Shammy doesn’t seem to get enough of this!
  • Reading Time- my kid is a bookaholic, this doesn’t surprise me
  • Weather charting
  • lap boards- they are awesome, I haven’t yet unwrapped the cool big magnetic dry erase board because the small lap ones work so well
Star Wars workbooks + write and wipe covers= <3

Star Wars workbooks + write and wipe covers= <3

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