Homeschooling has been a day by day journey for me as a parent. I will definitely say that I have learned more about my children and know them better. All of their quirks, the way they learn, how they learn, and what helps them to learn.
Prior to homeschooling my oldest son went to public school. This was what I knew because I went to public school. I did not always like what happened at school, but I worked and was a single mom. It wasn’t too bad because in elementary school he was an honor roll student, and the school was a five star school. So the idea of homeschooling never really crossed my mind.
By the time my son was in 3rd grade I was married and he had a sibling. I still worked because of my careless use of credit card bills quitting to stay home was not an option. Also, I had my own cleaning business and had expanded to an office with some employees’.
By the time my oldest son reached middle school we had paid off most of our debt and I felt God calling me to be a stay at home mom. This was not something I had ever dreamed would happen. Let me tell you, when God calls you to do something….you better listen! In a matter of 4 months I lost over half of my cleaning clientele and had no employees’. This was a HUGE sign that he wanted me on a different career path than I had chosen.
When I went to my husband to tell him my thoughts he did not disagree, but we still had one large credit card payment to pay off. So, I went to work for a second job and everything that I earned from cleaning and the second job paid off the credit card. I was now officially a stay at home mom!
It was just in time because daycare was as much as our house payment and I was not happy with my baby being watched by others. He was not receiving the love and attention that I felt he needed, and other children need also.
Coming home from having and organized schedule to being a stay at home mom was an adjustment…it wasn’t the bon bon, TV watching day I had imagined!
Anyway, as I worked through the days as a new stay at home mom, each morning I would get the kids’ up and have my oldest son to school by 7:30 am. It was really just 5 minutes down the road so I opted to drive him to school and pick him up. This was his first year of middle school. I now call it my nightmare year!
Everything changed and he started socializing with the wrong kids. So, I had it set up for him to be homeschooled for 7th grade. He wasn’t happy, and I was worried. I had never had both kids at home all day with me, and me being the teacher!
Here is what I have learned so far from our journey, and I call it our journey because we both hit a learning curve.
1. KEEP A SCHEDULE, BUT BE FLEXIBLE.
Each day I have a schedule in mind. For example: School starts at 9:30. Starting with the hardest subject first which for us is math then wrapping it up with the easy classes. Breaks are scheduled in, and I allow my son to have input on his schoolwork. If one day he prefers to do history first, then I let him because to me that is the point of homeschooling. I want him to be mindful that it is ok to something different as long as in the end all of the work is done.
2. SET A TIMER.
Time wasting is not acceptable so I set a timer for each class. This helps us to keep on track, stay focused and get our work done. If we are struggling in a class and it will take longer, then we move it to the end of the day when everything else is complete.
3. START SCHOOL IN THE MORNING.
Its ok to be flexible and start after a field trip sometimes, or schedule a doctor’s appt. in the morning. But I feel like we are more fresh and ready to do school in the morning. Starting at 1:00pm is difficult for us because by that time we are all ready to be done for the day and move on to other interests.
4. LET THE KIDS GIVE INPUT ON THEIR CLASSES.
My son is 15 and has his own ideas about how his school should go, how much involvement from me is necessary etc. My view on this is I negotiate with him on what classes I will assist with, how many and what I expect from him. I will have as little or as much involvement as his grades show me he needs.
5. SCHEDULE BREAKS
Breaks are needed and necessary. I can’t sit still for a long period of time and actually concentrate. I have heard that our attention starts to wander after about 30 min. For our breaks I try to schedule 1 15 min. break per hour. He has the choice of a working lunch to get done early, or take a 30 min.-60 min.lunch hour. This is another area I allow him some choice and freedom. I want him to learn that if an important project is due, it may be important to get it done.
6. HAVE A STOPPING TIME
In the beginning our homeschooling went quite slow. My son thought that he had all day to get his work done. So I gave him adequate stopping time. He had a choice to get the work done during school hours, or he could do it later, but then there would be not TV, electronics etc. until the work was complete!
7. HAVE A WRITTEN SCHEDULE
It is ok to be flexible, but have a plan. I know when we need to start and stop but I still have a written schedule and homeschool plan of his courses. I check his work regularly and mark off items that are done or not done. This is for recordkeeping purposes. If any questions are asked I have a book so that answers may be provided to the school we attend.
Homeschooling has become such a blessing to me, and I can’t imagine ever going to work again! I love my job, and my payment is the bundle of kisses and joy that I receive.
How do you complete your homeschool tasks with at teenager or a pre-teen? I would love to hear some idea’s!