Homeschooling. I don’t even know for sure if that’s one word or two, but I’m doing it. And if that doesn’t describe our situation I don’t know what does. That may be a little extreme, considering I did study English and Psychology in college, but it’s a good representation of the fact that I know nothing about homeschooling. My husband teaches high school English, and even he has said that he would rather stick to his area than to venture into my new one. Granted, he went to school for his area.
I have a curriculum for kindergarten, and I have a kindergartner, should be easy right? But I also have an autistic three year old and a two year old who is the embodiment of “terrible twos.” So how do I carry on teaching all three? Well I’ve already gotten a few tips down. For starters, when the two year old, who always wants to play by herself anyways, is off playing, I let her. I learned pretty quick not to expect her to sit at a desk all day. And honestly, she’s not ready for this material. The three year old tends to last longer at her desk, so I change the directions for different worksheets for her so that she can think she’s doing what her big sister is doing.
While doing flashcards with the kindergartner, I attracted the attention of the other two. So I had the three year old use flashcards with colors on the two year old. She loved “teaching” her sister the colors, and I was able to focus most of my attention on the oldest. The oldest unfortunately requires a LOT of attention. We’ve worried about ADD/ADHD with the oldest before, and I am even more worried now. She’s ridiculously smart, and seems to be catching on to everything faster than the curriculum plans go. But that means she grows more restless and bored.
We started the curriculum two days ago and are almost done with the first week of the curriculum. So I got onto the homeschool/kinder teacher facebook page and asked what I was doing wrong. As it turns out, most people who homeschool don’t have it last all day. I was trying to do 9am to 3pm and according to those on the group, that’s simply too long. One mom said she does lessons for a maximum of two and a half hours, then does books and educational online programs. My reaction, “Oh wow.”
That plan sounds way better for my oldest. Two days of keeping her at her desk was a struggle. She was flying through the material faster because I was giving her much more time than was needed. Plus, only spending a few hours with the oldest will give me more time to focus on my middle, who starts virtual learning on the 24th. She is only three, but has special needs that I cannot do. I don’t have a degree in special education or speech/occupational therapy, and I feel I would be doing her a disservice by trying to do all that myself. In November we will assess the Covid situation and decide if she can physically go to school. She needs help with socialization skills that she can really only get from actually attending school and being around peers.
Today, I have a ton of phone appointments for the girls that will limit the time I can spend on actual lessons. But that may be a good thing. My instinct is to go all day with her at her desk. Right now I have thirty minutes between calls, so I’m writing this while they play on ABC Mouse. After this next call, I’ll be able to get a couple hours of lessons in. Maybe doing all five of my sections in those couple hours will both keep her entertained, and keep us from flying through the curriculum. Cross your fingers for our upcoming two hour test!
I will admit, that even though I mostly feel overwhelmed most of the time, I do kinda feel like a supermom. If I can get a routine down, I will officially be kicking butt in the mom department. I honestly think that homeschool, at least right now, is the best option for my oldest and I am thrilled that this is something I can provide her. I feel the “super” part, because it’s hard. Homeschooling is hard and overwhelming, but I’m pushing through. The last couple of weeks I’ve been using home resources to homeschool the girls. Most of last week I spent breaking down the curriculum I got and planning out our school days. It’s been a lot of work, and will continue to be so, but I have a confidence in myself that I haven’t had in a long time. A confidence that tells me that maybe I can do this after all. Not just do it, but excel and really give my daughter the one-on-one push she needs. However this goes, I’m still going to call myself a supermom, at least to myself.