Last week ended our 3rd week of homeschooling. My brain floats with so many things I want to document and write about daily. But I never seem to find the time. I think that kind of sum up one aspect of how it’s going so far.
We had 2 weeks of prep that gave me a chance to see how the 3 hour work period would go and things went very well. The fact that the children have had months to have a home routine established, with long periods of unsupervised play time, have really helped. Teachers spend the first few weeks and month establishing classroom rules and procedures, getting to know the children, and creating a community. You need a good environment that’s conducive to learning. I hadn’t meant for it to happen this way. But I ended up spending a number of months establishing these routines, rules, and environment.
We then had one week of Fall Break (more about school schedule later). I had a schedule of what I was supposed to do daily while the kids are away at grandparents. But what I actually ended up doing was watch a lot of TV. I did manage to finish organizing the home room spaces and plan this year’s curriculum as well as make a list of activities I want on the shelf. However technically the shelves aren’t ready.
This week I kind of did assessment of Mandarin and Math level for Thumper. I was really mad for a day that after 2+ years of Montessori preschool (she started at 4), she did not have her math operation facts memorized and hadn’t touched some of the medium level Montessori Math materials. But I thought about it some more and realized that the curriculum isn’t there to be completely covered by age 6. It’s the work habits that are important. And I saw this this week. When Thumper has something that truly interests her, I have observed that she can sit there for 2 hours doing it. Now I just need her to clean up and put things away. She’s inherited her mother’s habit of just dropping them where they are. This also reminds me on why I want to homeschool. Then I have no one to blame but myself when she doesn’t know something.
This week, in addition to assessment, I’ve been putting materials on the shelf during the work period to try them out. I know it’s a no no but honestly I don’t have the concentration and time at night while the kids sleep.
I like documenting what we do each day as it gives me an idea that the kids ARE learning in some fashion. I know it’s probably boring to read for other people. But that’s always been my problem with the actual teaching: the classroom management and what happens when you have issues. I don’t read a lot about other people dealing with it.
My priority for next week is to not do more assessment. I’ve been really stressed this week because the house is a mess once again due to travel suitcases and the 4 bags of used clothes we got for Astroboy that’s been all washed but just sat on the living room sofa all week. It is yet another thing I learned about myself. A messy house messes with my motivation to do anything else. I have all these ideas on what to do in regards to teaching Mandarin, but NO TIME! Every night I’m so pooped I just go to bed with the kids, and then stay up to watch TV too late as a way to relax. On top of it, I’m in the midst of transferring files to my new computer (which is lacking a mouse and keyboard).
It’s all driving me nuts. I’m trying to get to Z, but in order to get there I have to do Y first, but in order to do Y, I have to do X, ad nauseum, till there are a bunch of other things I have to do first, some involve time by myself that I do not have yet, and others involves not wanting to do things due to that lump of clothes on the sofa. Yeah yeah, hear me whine. I hate it when I know what’s stopping me is some emotional roadblock that I have a tough time crossing.
Honestly 3 hours a day of school feels so short. Compared to the first two weeks, now I think, “What! Where does the time go? I still have so many things I want to show the children!” We have time to do maybe 3-4 activities and then it’s lunch time. We’re doing 3 straight hours of work, with no time for enrichment classes, or circle time, and it’s not enough.
The way the schedule is working, we also don’t have enough PE time. I figured that Thumper needs 2 hours daily and Astroyboy needs 1. This seems to be the minimum to get the kids properly tired by the end of the night without crankiness and ensures a fast, no fuss, no playing, sleep time. I also want to do music, nature, gardening. No time!
Other than that, the overall scheduling is working out really nicely. I find the spontaneous learning the most fun and enjoyable moments in the day. I love that we’ve got a routine down and I don’t rush the kids or myself often anymore. What makes me the happiest so far is that the kids have got the house routines down. And I can see them slowly forming the living habits I wanted them to have but we never had enough time for before when they were in real school. In addition, I love the way fact that they are learning the language to get along with each other and ask politely to borrow something. I like the fact that I have some quiet time daily in the afternoon. Now if I only can figure out how to squeeze in prep time.