In a long list of things I’ve said I would never do, however homeschooling my kids has always been pretty high ranking over the years. Homeschooling never appealed to me, not because I thought it was weird but I felt terrified of being with my kids all the time. I sure did love to tell myself “I could never do that” and sometimes I’d even said it out loud over coffee with my best girlfriends. It’s also likely that I never wanted, thought to, or believed I could because I did a lot of parenting in my 20s, when self-consciousness is at an all time high and it’s real being concerned with what other people think.
So why Homeschooling now?
Even up until the beginning of this year- yr 8 for my two boys, I had not idea that homeschooling was be our future. Through the last few years of school, the boys had experiences of bullying, biased treatment from teachers, as well as difficulties with establishing identity, and school work. I’m not not uncommon or singular to most peoples experiences. However, overall, the result of all the things going were two very angry, hurt, self doubting and depleted little men who I didn’t know how to help and make happy without making a change.
There was a serious incident between the boys at school one day which landed one at the hospital with possible concussion. During his stay there he was flagged by the Mental Health nurses and by the next week he was being admitted for observation. It was at this point I knew that we couldn’t keep going on doing as we had been.
Homeschooling had come up in conversation a few times with the boys when trying to discuss solutions, but their own hesitance to leaving behind friends and committing to such a huge change allowed me to mask my own fear. Things had escalated over the past six months with trying to get them to go to school, do their school work, deal with teachers-respectfully, and treat each other and themselves with respect. I truly believe that we may never know all the reasons the boys didn’t fit into the school system, but I definitely don’t think that a system that repeatedly didn’t have their back on matters meant that felt they couldn’t connect in a school environment.
Did I want to be Homeschooling?
Even now, I sometimes catch myself saying ‘ In an ideal world my kids would just go to school, not have any problems and do their work’, and yet I’m not sure if I really feel that way or it’s just what I say because I think it’s easier to digest than me ranting about how fucked I think the school system is.
What’s changed since beginning Homeschooling?
Well, for me, I have more home admin work to do- keeping track of stuff the kids are doing and planning work/activities for them.
For them- and this is purely observational on my part and maybe a little bit of what they have told me- They are happier, less aggressive, less frustrated and are starting to gravitate towards their interests more and more. They sleep better, eat better, shower more regularly and have more patience and interest in dealing with their little sister. They are easier to talk to, and even seek out conversations with me and hubby rather than excessive hiding away with computers or in their rooms.
Our overall atmosphere at home has improved.
How do we Home school?
So, I did get a bit of a fright from the moderator that came to visit us- and purchased textbooks for the boys. Originally I wasn’t going to but when we begun Homeschooling, a few weeks later it was the boys who asked for more structured work and planning. I didn’t know if that’s just because that’s what they are used to, but for now that’s partially how we are doing things. The boys still have a bed time- loosely enforced- there is still a nightly cut off from screen time- and chores have to be done.
Yes- for this week at least- I have relaxed about how much Xbox they are playing. Why? Because there is this strange occurrence that when they freely have access to the Xbox they still get their work done- read articles- engage in conversations and do their chores- if the Xbox is on lock down it’s like they go dormant. We’re still trying to figure out the best fit for us- ALL the teachers and Psychologists we have encountered think we’re neglecting our children because we let them play video games- too much- and I think when we’ve been locking down the Xbox it’s out of some arbitrary fear that we’re doing it wrong, according to THE MAN.
That sounds like we have a problem- but the boys do heaps of other stuff- digital art, drawing, reading, building Lego, going out places, ice skating regularly, self paced learning and helping out around the home.
So yeah, that’s a little bit about our start with homeschooling. We’re only three months in, so really still just starting out. If you want to ask more questions about any of this feel free to chase me down in the comments or email. I have some handy links if you’re considering homeschooling and some suggestions for some fantastic workshops you can attend that will help!