At the beginning of September I shared that we had decided to make the switch from our children attending a public french immersion program to homeschooling them. At that time I promised to document and update how the change was going and our experience with this new direction. It has been almost 3 months of school now and I felt like it was a time for an update.
The first two months were not just chaotic but s-u-p-e-r chaotic. We were trying to figure out how the curriculum worked and what we actually needed to do each day. On top of that was all of the paperwork from our school board that had to be done regarding program plans, funding and reporting. There have been quite a few changes this year and still continue to be in terms of how homeschooling is overseen and funding issued here so it was quite confusing. And the emails folks… oh the emails! Technically my children have 8 teachers and they all were emailing daily if not more in the beginning which was completely overwhelming. In fact, I still haven’t read through all of them yet!
Then of course as is with a newborn there was little predictability schedule wise and baby and I had lots and lots of appointments the first two months as well. This made it very difficult to try and focus or do one thing from start to finish. Also, with 3 kids adjusting to learning at home they had lots of questions and needed my attention on a regular basis. All of this resulted in the learning going pretty slowly. We would aim to be done in the middle of the afternoon each day but there were some days where it was dinner time before we finished. There was even once or twice when my 6-year-old wasn’t done until bedtime. That was stressful and not working for our family at all. Plus, because we were trying to get all of the work done before getting out for fresh air and some active time we would end up missing out on that most of the time.
By the end of October I knew that we needed to make some changes. The first one was to get outside every morning that we could. Instead of hoping to get out at the end of the day we now make it a priority to have a snack and get some active time in mid-morning. This has made a huge change for the way things go attention wise, attitude wise and just the overall feeling in the house.
Another change we made was to let go of some of the control (which was super hard for me!) and let the kids start their own work for the day when they wake up. My kids have always been early risers and were raring to go so we decided to just let them go at it. This has worked great as they each have something to focus on and are happy to get a start on the work.
Even with these changes though I was still feeling very helter skelter so when I finally had some time as life started to settle down I sat down and made up a year-long planning perspective. It took me a few days and many, many hours but I felt so much better once it was done.
Another hiccup that we hit along the way was 2 changes in our facilitator. After I found out that we were changing ones yet again just days before we were supposed to have a visit I was extremely frustrated. However, the changes ended up being a great thing. Our third facilitator came and spent two hours with us. I felt much better and definitely clicked with her. We went over a number of my concerns and ended up making a bit of a game plan. We will be skipping ahead with Tyler’s math and moving on to grade 3 before the end of the year as he was completely bored with the current topics we were covering. We have also doubled up on Joshua and Tyler’s language arts lessons. We will complete their grammar and writing portions by early spring which will allow me to try some novel studies out with them. We also added in some family events and adventures which I will share more about in the future.
A final change that I made was to how often we do each topic. We now do math, language arts and ‘PE’ time in the mornings Monday through Thursday and just PE on Fridays. Each afternoon is devoted to a different subject. Mondays are health, Tuesdays are science, Wednesdays are art, Thursdays are social studies and Fridays are music and read-aloud chapter books. The kids also practice piano and do a rotation of Rosetta stone, worksheets, listening to music and reading books in French 2 to 5 times a week.
In terms of the overall adjustment for my kids they are happy but do have times that they miss their friends. Playdates don’t happen very much which is making it even more difficult. I have noticed that the kids are getting along better and being kinder towards each other though which is fabulous!
I am still adjusting to having the kids home all day with me. I am loving not having the crazy morning rush but am definitely missing my ‘quiet’ time in the afternoons.
Overall, I am feeling like the chaos is starting to diminish and I can breathe a bit again. My goal for the next 3 months is to take it easy and to continue to simplify. I will let you know how it goes!
I have started an Instagram account called Homeschool Creations to keep track of all of our art projects- have a look and follow me!