Five months into homeschooling and I think I finally have it figured out for now (until I don’t and change things, again). And by homeschooling, I mean mostly outsourcing and supplementing at home. Outschooling?
September started with the intention of full-on homeschooling. I had it all figured out. HAHA. Spreadsheets and calendars, even daily schedules by the hour. I’m a planner. And I’ve realized I’m better at planning than following through. I had already signed them up for Outdoor Explorers on Thursdays and Wilderness Awareness on Fridays once-a-month—two outdoor programs—before we started in September. They went to outdoor preschool for two years and they wanted to continue in like-programs. And a bonus for me was they’d be with other homeschooled kiddos.
As I was reviewing our weekly schedule and deciding if we’d join a homeschool co-op, I came across a post on Facebook about the homeschool program at DigiPen. They offered a reading and writing class on Tuesday mornings. It just so happened that we had Tuesday mornings open. I signed them up. I’m reactive. I’ve realized this about myself as I get older. I react and deal with the good or bad later. DigiPen, good. The kiddos went the first day and loved the class. They asked if they could stay all day. I said sure (reactive). I didn’t even know what class was offered when I agreed. It turned out to be physics. Sold.
Tuesdays and Thursdays became our outsourcing school days. And once a month on Fridays with Wilderness Awareness. We fell into a nice routine. Mondays were homeschool days. Wednesday we met with other homeschool friends for science lessons and experiments. Fridays became whatever days; we’d meet up with friends, have friends over, go on an outing, stay home and watch a movie. It was a nice end to the week having nothing official on the books.
October was a great homeschooling month. I managed to check off most things on my spreadsheet. We did official lessons and started in on several workbooks. It felt great.
November was rough. It felt like a letdown. After a successful October my expectations were up… only to be shot down. Laine and I were butting heads. Saige and Vaile were going through sleep issues, which lead to me being extremely sleep deprived. And in turn, moody. I wasn’t feeling homeschooling either. I was still loving the idea of homeschooling, not the desire to homeschool.
Me, reactive. I knew about the PARADE program up the street. It’s a partnership with the school district that gives homeschooling parents the option to send their kiddos to school part-time. They offer classes and resources for kiddos that supplement teaching at home. It was something I had my eye on for maybe third/fourth grade. Then November happened. I remember the morning I made the call. It was a Monday and Brian was home sick. The kiddos were driving me nuts—in fairness, I was tired and they were only being kids—and we were in a homeschooling rut. We all needed change.
There were a few openings. I could tour Wednesday and start the process to get them enrolled if we liked what we saw on the tour. I was sold. The tour could have been miserable and I still would have been sold. (The tour was lovely and the program is perfect.) I signed them up. They were able to start a few weeks into the quarter. Mondays and Wednesdays are now PARADE days.
December shaped our homeschooling life. And as we’ve started into 2017, our weeks are great. There is a nice balance between the kiddos having school and us schooling at home. They really love the school experience and look forward to going to each program. And I’m happy with the variety. We are able to pick and choose which programs they get to do, much like selecting college classes. It’s still up to us, which is a huge benefit of homeschooling. They’ve made it clear that they don’t want to go all day, every day. And I can respect that. I wouldn’t want to, either.
Our Homeschooling Week
Morning: PARADE program.
Evening: Dance class, tap and ballet.
Morning: PARADE program.
Morning: Outdoor Explorers.
Late afternoon: Drama class.
Morning, monthly: Wilderness Awareness.
Between all the classes, we find time to do things at home. I’m still working on incorporating official home learning on a set schedule. I’d like the kiddos to know that at set times, we’ll be working on things at home. And, what specifically we’ll be working on. Right now things are sporadic. I’ll never have it all figured out. But who does?