How To Homeschool: Our First Week Experience

 

Our decision to homeschool did not receive the warmest of reception by all of our closest friends. Our immediate family (parents) supported or choice, while others scoffed at thought of us becoming teachers, with no formal teaching degree. Even when we showed them the curriculum and explained the steps, we were met with ignoring responses or just the good old “oh, okay.”. I guess it’s better to say nothing if you can’t say anything nice. Essentially we celebrated this special decision with ourselves.

Did it make us a little conscious of our decision? Yes.
Do we regret it? Not one bit.

 

Coincidentally, a video from the motivational speaker Prince Ea found it’s way on to my feed shortly after we had gotten all the paperwork finalized. It beautifully put in to words how we felt about traditional schooling, you can watch it here. The thing is, in addition to wanting to explore more together as a family, we were not satisfied with the stress that traditional school comes with, which you can read more about in my previous post Why We’ve Decided to Homeschool Our Kid(s). There’s clearly an issue if the second leading cause of death with children ages 10-14 is suicide.

As for his social needs, we are connecting with other homeschooling and world schooling families as well as his extra-curricular activities.

Now for how we got started with homeschooling/Worldschooling. We are currently in the state of California, so we had to follow California law and file the correct paperwork to declare Brian officially enrolled in a homeschooling program. There are a couple ways to do this, but we decided to go with a private school that handles the administrative work and follows up on the legalities but allows us too choose our own curriculum and schedule. It cost us a total of $400 to enroll into the private umbrella school.

The curriculum we use is Time4Learning.  While it isn’t perfect, we are very satisfied with the curriculum and it’s pacing (self-paced). We are also able to adjust the lesson planner. We supplement extra science with a third grade level textbook that we found online. For Language Arts we also supplement personally picked poems to critically assess together, this week it was Langston Hughes’ I, Too, America. If there are ever things we feel we need to work more on, we can just pause on the computer and use notebooks, a whiteboard, etc. to further dissect a subject.

Time management. My husband and I agreed that 4.5 hours a day/4 days a week is what would work best. We try to start anywhere from 8am-10am. We break up “school time” in 1-hour to 1-hour and a half increments. We’ve found the best way to go about this is to set a block of 5-6 hours aside to commit to his schoolwork. So we don’t have specific times or blocks for each subject (ie: at 2pm-3pm we will work on social studies) we just get what we have to get done. If we notice his focus is off we step away from the work take 10-15 minutes to shake it out and jump back in.

 

I keep a log of his daily work which and add very detailed notes. I specify what was taught/learned for each subject area. If we feel he needs more work in an area we spend the first 15 minutes during that subject time revisiting until we feel it’s mastered, if it’s a broad subject or a subject that will take time we note how much time was spent on it for that day and continue on with no “due date”. The great part is that we can move on when we feel it’s mastered, and if we get behind it’s okay because it’s all self-paced.

As mentioned above we are keeping it at 4 days a week, Monday-Thursday, However, because of labor day we concluded our week today, Friday. We rounded the week off with a nature walk field trip on the backside of Runyon. We plan to do 2-3 physical activity/nature walk/field trips more often. Next week, we will start implementing more of the arts into our curriculum and integrate it with social studies and language arts. I won’t be doing weekly updates but perhaps every month or few I’ll update everyone on our experiences thus far.

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