5 Home Schooling Lessons Learned as a Parent – #2

This one is one of my favourite lessons in this series, as its an opportunity to show up for our children in some really awesome ways. It was not an easy lesson for me, but once I got it, I wondered why it took me so long to embrace this reframing of home education.

#2 – Let Go of the Reins

So yes, you’re the parent, the adult and you’re in charge! And with that responsibility we tend to take control by default. What I have learned is giving my children autonomy in planning their learning is a gift that keeps on giving. Much like in the workplace how delegating can be such a powerful developmental tool not just for the employee but also the manager. Here’s how…

“Let them set their schedule”

First off this not only gets them involved but it creates “buy in”. At the start of each week I ask my boys what do they want a typical day of learning to look like this week. I hand them a blank daily schedule and let them fill it out and then I go with it. Does that sound scary to you? My experience has been that every time the boys continue to amaze and impress me with their approach to how their time should be spent, what feels comfortable for them and also the balance that they create for their day.

“Gift them your Trust”

Then I get the opportunity to gift them with my trust and confidence in their ability to make appropriate choices for themselves. Oh thats a hard one for those of us who need to control things, even when we can clearly see that some of the choices aren’t practical. But consistently showing them that they can’t “mess up” their own schedule sends a valuable message that their choices are valid. One time my youngest allocated 4 hours a day for math, because he felt he should get more time in with that. As much as I knew it was impractical, I told him ok sure lets go with it. On day 2 he came and let me know he thought he should adjust his allocation for math because its way too much, and reduced it to an hour and to that I also said ok sure, and commended him for being flexible and knowing what works for him.

“More than the academics”

I found that because they were setting their own schedule and “the adults” were accepting their decisions on learning, that the boys’ approach to homeschool was one filled with enthusiasm, it was their learning and it felt right and customised just for them.

What does it do for a child’s confidence and self esteem that their parents value and validate their choices, capabilities and intuition? It’s an immeasurable lesson, one that I believe is far more important on the home education “curriculum” than any other academic lesson. To know that by our actions we can nurture a growth mindset in our children, develop their confidence, and reframe their self talk is ultimate parenting goals! That’s the good stuff, the winning feeling we strive for with our children, that at night when you reflect on your day you can high five yourself. (what am I the only one who does this?).

The nitty gritty…

Ok so you may be wondering yeah well how will they know what to schedule into their day and this sounds great but what if they just decide to play video games all day. (they won’t though) Here’s the thing we do provide them with the options for learning. You may have received lessons from your school or have set times with teachers online. You may also have your own trusted resources (online videos, workbooks, activities, worksheets). We lay all these out, the different subjects and also throw in physical activity (of their choice), reading time, “productive time” on gadgets (where they use search engines and explore topics), rest time, hobbies (in our case the boys each play an instrument so they have music time)

Can you already see how a day can be filled. By giving them a blank schedule (apart from pre arranged slots with teachers/schools) they can then choose where these other learning activities can be fit in. It still gets done but its self directed. It also takes the pressure off of you to plan their days and be a timekeeper (as if you don’t already have enough to handle). – the gift that keeps on giving.

Thank you for letting me share this homeschooling lesson learned with you, what I love about this is that its applicable not just for homeschooling, what a wonderful approach to have in our parenting in general.

I hope that this is helpful to you today and that something in here resonates with you.

Look out for lesson #3 in next week’s post and remember to like or comment below so I will know if this article reached you. If you are interested in getting samples of the schedule that I use and /or any of the resources we use at home, please feel free to contact me.

5 Home Schooling Lessons Learned as a Parent – #1

A couple days ago my boys enthusiastically let know that the school term is done and they are officially on summer break. I am not quite sure how different summer break looks from the homeschooling term, but that we shall see. Anyway this made me reflect on how our homeschooling experience has been and to be honest, I think that it was more of a learning experience for me than for the children. So I thought I would share these lessons as you too may be reflecting on your homeschooling journey and thinking ahead on what is to come. I have broken it up one lesson at a time, here is the first….

#1 – Ditch the Schedule

For those of you who know me you might be asking who is really writing this article and what did they do with Elle. No schedule? Here’s what I mean though; I started my approach to home education by making a schedule for the boys much like how they would spend a day at school. What I failed to factor in were the facts that not only were they not in school (at home with me all day), but also there was no full time teacher. (cause well that would be me).

So my first week or so consisted of me struggling to keep up with this self imposed schedule, preparing for and creating content and lessons, coordinating activities and sourcing materials to fill up a day of “school”. Doing all of this while also working, maintaining a household and finding time for myself. Not possible or practical at all! It became very apparent very quickly that this was not working for anyone, it was stressing me out and by extension everyone else and how is that for a learning environment.

“Fit homeschooling around your everyday life schedule, not the other way around”

I realised that homeschooling would not be the boss of me. That my life, the life of my family, our rhythm and our routines did not have to change now that we were introducing home education into our lives. The same things we were used to doing, we would continue and then schedule in learning in the slots available and at the times most receptive for learning.

This approach changed everything, it created an ease and a comfort to our attitude as a family towards home education. In our case, we currently live in one time zone but primarily conduct business in another (5 hours behind), thereby my husband and I are most busy with work on afternoons and evenings (mornings for our work colleagues). Home schooling then happens primarily in the morning for us, with afternoons filled with more self directed activities like reading, watching videos, independent play and “free time” that do not require our hands on attention. Homeschooling then fit around our work schedule and normal routine.

And during our mornings, lessons fit in around morning routines, household chores and errands. You may be asking then how much time was really spent on home learning? I will definitely break this down in the next article as it was another valuable homeschooling lesson that I learned as a parent. (stay tuned – I will also share a sample of our “schedule”). The answer to that though is “enough”.

Thank you for letting me share this homeschooling lesson learned with you, I hope that this is helpful to you today and that something in here resonates with you.

Look out for lesson #2 in next week’s post and remember to like or comment below so I will know if this article reached you.