I know that a lot of you have been waiting for an update and the God's honest truth is that I have had a draft sitting in my files for two months now. I meant to do a two month update and now I'm late on the three months in, but heck, I'm going for it anyway.
We're doing ok.
Sure, I could pretend that everything is peachy keen, that every day is full of sunshine, roses and unicorns, because I'm a crunchy granola hipster mama trying to homeschool her kids. Or something like that.
What I am, is a worn out, frazzled, full-time food/life/travel writer who has another job of working on her cookbook over the next year and was also crazy enough to homeschool her kids.
Oh, I'm tired. Perhaps December isn't the best time of year for me to write about this, but why not. It's a good glimpse into my life because I'm always honest with you.
This is what our kitchen table looks like when we are all working. The kids are downstairs with me and tackle their work while I also try to tackle mine. My own – excepting cookbook work- is a solid 4-5 hours a day, not including all the work that comes up in December and not including cooking/baking time. I try not to think about cooking time because I might cry if I think about how long my days are in actuality.
Enough whining from me on that subject, however, my point is that I have to try to get those 5 daily hours of writing and photo editing/taking time done while helping the kids homeschool.
And you know what, we're doing ok. I could not, however, in any way, shape or form, do this without Mike working from home as well and helping with the school. He's lucky enough that he has a writer for his websites, which helps out his workload immensely. Otherwise, we would be screwed. Completely.
Mike will take over when I need time to write and take photos and the kids will go upstairs to our computer area and work there.
My kitchen looks like this FAR too often lately and I can't work like this. I just can't. I might have had a little teary meltdown last week when my kitchen was oh, three times worse than this?
I just cannot function like this. This is my workspace. This is my creative space. This makes me cry.
The curriculum we are doing is aligned with what they do in school and has me thinking that it looks good on paper, but doesn't translate to real life. I look at the amount of paperwork in binders and think my kids never brought this amount home from school. My daughters math binder is almost full, three months in. I NEVER saw this amount of work from them, from their school and that's not including the fact that with homeschooling all tests, quizzes and even some assignments are online. I am really starting to wonder if this curriculum was just written out on paper and it “appeared” there was enough time to do it.
The warning bells went off when we were told that the schoolwork should take up the same time as an entire school day. Um, say what? No, it shouldn't. Homeschooling is supposed to be faster because we aren't dealing with disturbances from other kids, wasting 15 minutes settling kids in after recess, have one on one time instead of 27 on one etc. I know several homeschoolers and one of them – my mother's teaching aide in her classroom – was done in two hours in the morning every day and she homeschooled 3 different grades. What's happening here with this curriculum that homeschooling should take this long?
So to sum up, while I didn't want to plan out the curriculum, I am not so sure that aligned and teacher planned was the best way to go. The supplies needed as well have had Mike and I raising our eyebrows – some of the experiment materials are a little crazy for Grade 4 and 6. Yes, we luckily get our allotment to purchase supplies, but I think if you planned it yourself you could streamline it SO much better. Sometimes I really feel that we are running in 6 different directions just to get the supplies for each day. There's no list of what you need, you have to go ahead and read all of the upcoming lessons. Pain in the …you get my drift.
My mom, who just retired from teaching, commented on the amount of work expected, and SHE taught 9 grades at the same time. It's not just me.
However, the truth of it is, with the extra work this year of writing my book, I don't have to time to plan out a curriculum. This is what we have to do.
I have also discovered that Monday's suck. Oh my sweet Lord, Monday's are the worst day of the week. Do teachers deal with this at school? The kids have no interest in getting back into a routine. I have threatened – with a grain of truth – to just homeschool them 7 days a week.
We suck at transition, that's all there is to it. If any parental yelling is going to happen, it's on a Monday. If there are tears over hating math, it's going to happen on a Monday.
Mondays can bite me.
So after the complaining, there is a lot of good.
When there are good days, they are so good. So very good. To be honest there are way more good days than bad. My Rose is learning how to work on her own really well and when we have good days we are done by noon, usually. We manage to be done early enough most days that we have fit in rock climbing, gymnastics, piano lessons and Cubs/Scouts for the kids. They are getting enough socialization, to be sure.
We have travelled already to BC, visited the island and will be staying in Phoenix for three months this spring. I can't wait. This is one of the main reasons that we homeschooled this year, to travel.
My kids have not been sick for months (touch wood!). No back to school colds, nothing. We are out ALL the time, germy grocery stores and malls, shopping centres, all cesspools of germs themselves, and my kids are around other kids during the week but obviously there is something about school classrooms that are beyond a breeding ground for germs. I have been amazed that we have travelled, shopped, gone on ferries, been worn out and tired from all of it and nobody has been sick.
So is it what I expected? Mostly. I didn't think that there would be so much work involved because like I said, I based it on what I saw come home from school. It also doesn't match up with what I've learned from other homeschoolers. So if anyone out there can comment on what I see as a discrepancy in the amount of work, I would love to hear it!
Anything you want to know that I didn't cover? Ask away!
I'm off to drink my wine for lunch, *
*hahah kidding. Sort of.0