The number one reason for homeschooling this year is, it is convenient! There I said it! We want to prioritize our mental health, love and compassion for the extended family and workability as a team this year. And homeschooling affords us the flexibility to do all that.
I spend so much time fixing meals and cleaning up the house after each meal and then some, thanks to zero help during the lock down, that I can’t have my 7-year-old glued to a screen for the better part of her productive hours. I know it would exhaust her, make her cranky and she would also not be available for her brother. The brother is a 2-year-old who has a world of his own. All he needs are his meals and lots of love and attention from the remaining three of us. There’s the father who’s clicking away at his startup from morning till late evening. And signing up my 7-year-old also for something like that seemed to me as being very fixed, unmoving with almost adult-like expectations. I knew I would feel badly stuck.
We chose to be unstuck and flexible. We can be flexible about a lot of things. Even though we have a weekly schedule in place, we know we can make changes. That keeps us in good spirits. We have committed time in our schedule to math (currently working on TIME), reading (currently reading Enid Blyton’s “The Magic Faraway Tree” collection), Sudoku and other puzzles, Hindi (reading small poems and doing lots of songs especially with the younger one), writing, piano lessons every day, Bharatnatyam, baking, science and art & craft twice a week, speaking and listening and Dramatics with a reputed group on the weekends. Here’s a list of 7 things we can be flexible about:
- We can choose our curriculum and subjects. We can change it if it doesn’t suit our needs. We have taken a look at IG, CBSE and ICSC books of content-based subjects like Science and made an exhaustive list of all topics through the year.
- My child can also choose the pace. She could finish the entire year’s Math curriculum in 2 months and then work on advanced concepts and go really slow on learning to spell new words. Research indicates that there will be learning spurts just like there are physical growth spurts.
- Our daily and weekly schedules were made after a lot of thought by everyone involved. We end up following the schedule 80% of the times. That is good enough for now. We can relook at the schedule every month and make adjustments.
- One of the biggest advantages is you can choose the tutors. You can choose the best tutor for each subject or at least the ones you would like to outsource. You can even change the tutor if the dynamics don’t work out for your child for some reason.
- We can choose what is important for the family on any particular day. If I have an important meeting during the day, everybody else can work around my schedule so I am supported to do my best. If there are days, no one feels like doing anything, we can take the day off and just catch a movie. We can decide that everyone’s day off is on Monday because weekends tend to be exhausting or even a Wednesday because a day off in the middle of the week works.
- We can choose the methods we want to use to study – whether it’s through reading a book or researching online or conducting an experiment. We try to make sure there is an element of play or activity involved. We can also choose leaders for any topic and also make it project-based. If we are learning about the Human Body or bones and muscles, we can reach out to an orthopaedic doctor we know and ask him questions that we have. We can choose to make it as interesting as we want or not.
- We can decide our place of study. We don’t have to be restricted to a table and chair, which is what is required when there are 20 pupils to 1 teacher. We could be lounging somewhere or pacing with a book or be sprawled out on the floor. The kinaesthetic child, like my 2-year-old, learns best when they can expend all the extra energy through some activity. My daughter on the other hand feels the need to be in close proximity with someone she’s comfortable with. So, the head is resting on my shoulder or in my lap and that’s when she’s most assured and also most receptive to listening/learning.
This is what is working for us beautifully as a family, given our goals, lifestyle and phase of life. I hope this gives you encouragement and helps you make a decision that will hold you in good stead. You may decide that this is not for you. And that is okay. Like the now-famous meme says, we are all in the same storm, not in the same boat. Your boat, your rules, your choices.