The term ‘Homeschooling’ describes a parent’s decision to take responsibility for their child’s education through schooling at home rather than sending them to school. It takes many forms, depending on a parent’s philosophy and the needs of their child(ren). If you are considering homeschooling, you can find more information here that may help you make your decision.
Andrea Nair is a parenting expert and psychotherapist who homeschools her children. On her blog, she shares her personal reasons for deciding to try homeschooling and her family’s story about how the homeschooling experience started off roughly. Below are the five things she did to push through the adjustment period and improve her family’s homeschooling situation:
Adjusted our schedule to allow for more fun and more choice.
I laugh now at how we started off doing homeschooling, as I outlined in this post for YMC. Some seasoned homeschooling parents rolled their eyes at me, and rightly so! I ditched this plan early on. Now we have a schedule that has much more flexibility. It includes French, keyboarding, cursive writing, coding, skating, skiing, and other things we do once a week, and math, science, and language arts four times a week instead of every single day. It took time to figure out the schedule that worked for us.
I chalk our rough starting period to this: we were mostly in our “back-brains,” which is certainly not the place to learn. It’s the place where the fight-or-flight reaction is activated and we think more about defending ourselves, and how angry we are at the person trying to control our behaviour, and less about how to solve our problems. We were triggering each other every day, which was incredibly draining!
Reduced compromising states and increased their sense of power.
I focused on how to reduce compromising states, and make sure my boys felt they had some power. For example, I’d let them pick between two exercises in their math program, and let them get up from the table as many times as they needed to until they finished it. I also try to get us outside more.
Got smarter about keeping things tidied.
One of our big battles was about tidying up after everything activities, so I used a technique I call “time-stacking.” I put tidying in front of each of the activities they really looked forward to doing. When they’d ask, “Mom, can we go play LEGO?” I’d respond with, “Sure. You’re very welcome to do that after the things on the table are put back in their away spots.” I’d smile and turn away: they have cleaned up each time without any backtalk!
Delegated some of the learn-to-read instruction to a new program.
Another thing I did was introduce some learning on a screen, which I was originally reluctant to do. I realized I needed to let this go and use screens in a responsible way. I was contacted by the developer of a new reading program called Ooka Island, and I decided to give that a try with my younger son. I agreed to use their iPad reading program in conjunction with book reading to give us a bit of learning time away from each other.
I just asked my son what he likes most about Ooka and he said, “Because it’s fun.” I love this because he is actually learning to read better—I can see that, but he doesn’t feel like I’m pushing him to do so. He asks to use the program on his own and we put a timer on for twenty minutes to signal when it is time to finish. No power struggles at all!
I had an opportunity to speak with the Ooka Island development team, and was quite impressed with the amount of research and in-the-field testing they did to create this reading program for children.
Took better care of myself
It’s pretty challenging to be present for my children all day, while still also building my relationship with my husband, enjoying my work time, and seeing friends. I’ve learned the hard way that I have to guard my time very carefully and make sure I’m choosing things that fill my bucket.