So let me start off by saying that homeschooling is something we had been considering for a while but never really done anything about because, you know, most kids in our community go to an actual brick & mortar school.
But a number of factors led us to the point where we decided to homeschool brightboy from this year.
I did tons of research. We received support and opposition in equal measures. Many times I was interrogated to the point of feeling defensive while trying very hard not to be. We got countless of questions we didn’t yet have answers to. We’ve been told by family that we’re making a big mistake. I’ve received messages of concern. This was a brand new journey and we had to bravely step into the unknown.
There are also a few things that set us apart from the majority of the homeschooling community in Cape Town, most notably:
- We’re not homeschooling for religious reasons and are not following a faith-based programme.
- We’re not a large family. In fact, we only have two kids, and worldpeacegirl attends the local public school.
- I’m not a stay-at-home mom. I run a communications agency from my home-based office, with a large-ish client base, and my business requires 100% of my attention. Which means I work AND homeschool at the same time.
We’ve decided to go the hackschooling route. This means that we don’t follow a specific curriculum but instead compile something that benefits our son.
The big selling point is that I have the power to create a curriculum for him that spans beyond his Grade 5 year and matches his talents, passions AND developmental areas.
Maths was a concern. I didn’t have maths at school; I hated it, and took art instead. Da Husband is an engineer, so maths features high on his list of talents. brightboy, while showing tremendous maths aptitude, absolutely hated his school experience and his little light dimmed by the day.
I had to get creative.
Some of his subjects I am personally involved in – like art and his monthly projects – and his attendance at the College of Magic on a Saturday is now a formal part of his tuition plan.
I decided to ease him into a routine. He’s been deschooled since October and was clearly ready to start learning, but one of the big lessons I’ve learnt during my extensive research is that you need to take your time to figure out the natural flow of your homeschool experience.
So today we only did German, Maths and some science.
German went well – must better than I expected – and he finished all the tasks I had set him for the month! Dammit, now I need to assign more tasks before Monday!
Math got off to a shaky start. He stared at his workbook and no amount of gentle prompting could get him to work. I know he has a bit of a mental block when it comes to maths and I didn’t want to push it. So I called him over to my desk and explained to him what needed to be done. The next moment the lightbulb went on and he powered through his work in no time at all.
“Well mom… surprisingly I think I am starting to love maths again.”
I think that’s a good sign.
How did I fit a full work-day into all of this?
Structure for myself is definitely key here. I will have to get into the routine of getting up earlier to finish the bulk of my writing work so that I am available for client service responsibilities during the day.
It does help to have assistance and Emma, the newest addition to my little team, is handing all this chaos like a freaking superstar.
Today worked fairly well. I was able to tick off my own priorities while marking maths and guiding him through his German tasks in between. Knowing the language definitely helps. I’m not sure if it will be that easy when Spanish lessons roll around on Friday!