How we started our homeschool journey, and how it's going today.
“You are completely crazy for even thinking about home schooling your kids!”
This phrase was something we heard alot when discussing the challenges of the ins and outs of covid-era schooling with friends and family. But like anything, the whispers of your heart are infinitely louder than the words of others.
Homeschooling was just something we knew we needed to do.
Our girls struggled with masking and cohort rules that dictated their friendships. Online learning calls from home became opportunities to hide behind the screen and secretly watch Minecraft videos. We noticed gaps in basic math skills and literacy. The learning momentum had dried up and it was replaced with separation amidst the best efforts of the most incredible teachers at a fabulous community school. The format, inconsistency and unpredictability just wasn’t working to engage and inspire.
We made the decision as a family to put fun, freedom and flexibility into learning and decided to homeschool in June of 2021.
The girls were all in from the beginning, after discussing at length how we would work through their fear of loosing touch with friends through keeping up their extra-curricular activities. We choose to do fully parent-led homeschooling and was accepted by a Home Education Board who specializes in just that. We spent the summer researching curriculum and my mind was blown discovering the many varied options and solutions available for curriculum. We selected curriculum that aligned with both the Alberta Program of Studies for core subjects AND the strengths and skills of each of our learners as individuals. Every day researching and building our learning plans created momentum that allowed us to start in September with open minds and open hearts.
There are always hiccups, and homeschooling allowed us to face them together.
Shortly after we started our homeschooling, our province adopted mandates and policies that required businesses to change how youth can participate and access extra-curricular activities. As a family, we made some radical and swift changes to how we approached the girls beloved activities in order to align with our values. There was grief and sadness for the loss and changes. We had the capacity and space as a family to sit with those feelings and feel them all, which we never would have had the opportunity to do had the girls still be in traditional school.
Our homeschooling curriculum is as much about academics as it is about growth.
We are a few months into this learning adventure and we have adopted a routine that flows each day. Our mornings are slow, with time for sleeping-in and read-alouds. Our topics and projects reflect the energy, inspiration and mood of the day. Phonics, math and writing are on our daily “feel good” list, and we always go deep down the bunny holes for our social studies and science. We may only do these subjects once or twice a week, but sometimes they can consume an entire day. Working to completion of an assignment or project without interruption is the one thing our girls both love about homeschool!
Looking ahead to 2022 with optimism and curiosity.
Now that we have a few months under our belts, we have a routine that works for us. I anticipate that we will continue to spend long hours bringing our learning outside throughout the winter, and the girls have identified projects they’d like to undertake for some of their key subjects. Most of all we are going to continue to play. Sometimes I feel as though I learn just as much as they do when I watch the girls create and make-believe together.
I can’t wait to see how this chapter of our family story ends in June. Or will it?