Calling all homeschooling mums!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have a list of questions I was wondering if you would please consider answering for us. Since we've now got you wondering- yes we are considering & praying hard about homeschooling Ellie due to health problems that make it a little awkward to go to big school (although we are praying that those are resolved quickly). She is however more than intellectually ready (we've already started doing worksheets at home - on her prompting). In Australia our school year starts in January, so that's why we are looking at all our options now. So here goes:

* How do you fit it all in - your housework, schoolwork & lesson prep?

* What about younger children - what do you do with them? (one of my biggest concerns would be Eli & Jud missing out).

* How do you do the different grades?

* How many social activities do your kids do?

* How long per day does it take to complete your schoolwork?

* What about your own needs?

Thanks for answering - if you want please feel free to email me your answers if it's easier.


Bird, Frizzy and Our Little Yaya said...

This is a tough one. I'll keep this in my prayers for you as well.

Mum-me said...

I will be very interested in reading the replies you get in your comments on this topic, as I have often considered homeschooling too but I just don't see how everything would get done.

Bobbie-Jo said...

You do ask the big ones...and lots of them.

The first thing I have to say is not very practical...but it's very real. Despite all the reasons homeschooling is hard, if God calls you to it, He will empower you to do it. He's not into leaving you hanging, so keep praying about it.

*How do I fit it all in? Honestly, with all my kids and some of their special needs, I have help. Someone helps me take care of my littlest one (the most affected) and cleans my house. I don't know the extent of Ellie's health issues, but if she requires a lot of attention, maybe God will provide someone to clean the bathrooms and wash the floors once a week. If that's not an option, there are many, many scheduling websites that can offer help. I'll give you a linklist of one if you'd like. The other area to work on is deciding priorities. Cut out what isn't important and be disciplined.

*The younger children join us for some of the lessons, play near us for some, and play away from us when safe or appropriate. They had to learn to entertain themselves at times and we had to learn to include them at times. I make sure to have a special time with them, reading a story or playing a small game every day, and especially if they are having a tough time of it. It doesn't have to be much, 5 minutes of cuddling fixes a lot of things.

*We only do different grades in Math and English. I give each one instructions, then set them to work. I go around the table and spend one-on-one time with each one, working on different skills. For Bible, Science, French and History, we do all the projects, worksheets and experiments together. I just expect less from the littler ones, and help them more.

*We meet with our homeschool group several times each year. The girls have been involved, in the past, in violin, guitar, craft club, sign language and soccer. As a family, we visit many friends who have children of all ages. They also participate in Sunday School. Remember, this is never at one time. Right now, we have no "lesson" commitments.

*We shool from 9-2, with 15 minutes for recess and 45 minutes for lunch. That's for four students, ages 5-10.

*My needs - I get up an hour earlier than the family to read my Bible and exercise. I blog. I have coffee with friends. Sometimes I read. Pray about it ... what are a mom's needs? Many of the things that we think are essential are worldly distractions. I can't point them out (and I don't want to step on any toes) but the Holy Spirit will guide you.

This could have been a whole blog post in itself. :) Homeschooling is hard, but so is being a nurse, or salesperson, or chef. It's a calling that is not impossible. --If you know you have been called into it.


Aunty Sel said...

hey narn,
great to talk to you earlier.
can't give you any advice but I thought Bobbie's was amazing. :-)
Suppose I should get back to this assignment ;-(
luv you all,

Saminda said...

Oh Renata, I feel your heart on this one! I don't have time to fully respond right now but hope to email you soon.
This is a big decision, but Bobbie-Jo is right....... if it's God's plan for you to do this, He will enable you! Keep praying and remember, all things are possible with Him.

There is SO much on the web, so explore and read as much as you can. There are so many approaches to homeschooling, and so much literature available, so many ways to do it, etc. etc. I have several friends who homeschool and we always planned to so I've read widely on this topic and have ideas swimming around in my head! Charlotte Mason was a great Christian lady who's approach to home learning is gentle and family-centred. Try and read the "Charlotte Mason companion" if you can.

Queen to my 3 Boys said...

Hi Renata -

Before we started homeschooling, I was not a homeschooling advocate. My best friend was doing it and I've got to say, I didn't understand it at all. I mean, get those kids socialized, already!

Then something unsettling happened...God started prompting me. Really prompting. Kicking and screaming, at first, I had all sorts of reasons that it wouldn't work mapped out in my mind and many, many concerns. Many of the concerns I had are the questions you asked.

* How do you fit...In the morning, I am ready before the children awaken. This is crucial to my day going smoothly. I can spend time with the Lord, shower, have my coffee before the chaos starts.

My standards on housework have lowered. Our home is not dirty, but may be seen untidy. I train the children to help - even at 2 years old, they can do simple chores. This takes much effort at first, but they quickly become be a real help (and their chore-time takes away from their mischief time *wink*).

Sometimes, when I can afford it and when my pride does not get in the way, I bring someone in to do my bathrooms and floors. That is a treat!

I have also become very scheduled with laundry and don't go anywhere when it's laundry day.

Oh, and I don't answer the phone! My answering machine and caller ID are my two best friends!

*I rotate the younger children with different activities. If we are doing read-alouds, they are involved. If I am working one-on-one with Dylan, they are within eyesight in the toy room. If we are doing table work, they can come colour, play with counting bears or coloured tiles, play with Play-Doh. Dylan can read to them. The key has been not to let them just wander the house the whole time - small activities, short intervals. It is amazing how much they learn, too, when they are playing within earshot of Dylan's lessons.

*I don't have different grades. My children are 6, 2 and 11 months. The science and the history/geography/social studies program I use is easily adaptable to different levels. Phonics, language arts and math will need to be level-specific. I also plan to use Dylan to teach the younger ones occasionally. It will reinforce Dylan's learning - nothing tells you if you know it like trying to teach it - as well as help the younger child.

*We have a very small homeschool group that we belong to. We try to meet once a month. Dylan is involved in hockey twice a week. In the summer, he plays soccer. We get together for playtime or the occasional casual lesson with another homeschool family. We have Sunday school. We are talking of guitar lessons.

*We school from 9-noon. In the afternoon, we play games, read stories, have outside time, draw pictures, write letters, or just play. On days that we go skating (10-noon), we school our leftovers in the afternoon.

*I go to the gym! I sneak out for 1 1/2 hours when Dwayne's home or I hire a student after school to watch the children. I used to think that working out was drudgery ~ now it's a luxury! It clears my mind, gives me time to pray, spikes my energy levels and gives me time to myself.

I have coffee with friends - although not as much as I'd like.

I don't get the time to myself like I used to before I had children or if they were going to school or daycare. It's that simple. I take the responsibility of raising the children God blessed me with very seriously and they are high-priority. I do recognize, though, that if I feel refreshed and rejuiced, it's so much easier to be the mom I want to be!

Keep praying. He will lead you to what He has planned for you. It's much too hard to do on your own, so you will need His help anyways!

Keep us updated.

Kimmie said...

Hi Renata;

What is God saying to do? I bet if you ask Him, He will guide you.

We do school until we are *done* ...for my wee ones that usually means from 8:30-12. This covers most of our subjects. My big girls (High school) somedays have heavier loads, so may go into the afternoon with their lessons.

In all the years I have never had 'lesson plans.' I pray and buy our curriculum (or great old read out louds, depending on the subject) then hand them to each child ...some they can do on their own, some with a little the beginning (prereading) it is all one on one time...but as reading takes place they can do a bit more on their own.

This year activities:
17 yo...2 youth groups, Irish Step class (teaches and takes), worship team, teaches Thursday afternoon Bible club, piano lessons with our Worship Pastor once a week, plays piano at church Wed. nights or helps run the Kids meeting, Plays piano three services every other Sunday, (for 3 services at our church), Leadership core for one youth group, oh and an ice skating lesson.
14 yo- ice skating, teaches at Kid's bible club, two youth groups (or church and at my girlfriends church)
all my wee ones: Wed. night Bible club for wee ones, ice skating lessons, Kid's group Thursdays, occasional field trips with our homeschool group through our church.

(we cut out piano lessons last year for the younger ones to save for our adoption. This year they also aren't dancing (ballet), to save money and to simplify before Little Beauty comes from Ethiopia.

Everyone chips in with housework. Many hands make the load light. But still not good at putting away the laundry. ;-)

When I had little ones, I made a basket of things they could do while the others needed my attention. It worked out, sometimes a morning nap helped too (babies not me) lol.
We buy math,language, spelling, cursive...many of our other books are not *curriculum* but just great living books.
Not sure if this is too much.

I will pray for your decision.
I've been at it for 13 years now...and I am so glad that God opened this door to is joy to be with them and to teach them.


I recommend Charlotte Mason style homeschooling too!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Bird, Frizzy and Our Little Yaya said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I received my package today. I am going to try to post pics and start the pass it on phase. Thank you!

Cassandra-ann said...

Hi Renata, i actually just did a post on my blog on how we go homeschooling and fitting in everything else in too, if you have time come over and have a read...

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