So we’re half-way through the first year of our homeschool and I’m happy to finally sit down and write about it. I intended to write about “Why we chose to homeschool” during our first month, but I’ve been neck-deep with work and chores and thought that the topic might not be relevant anymore. But for what it’s worth, let me just start with that.
Homeschooling was something I never thought we’d do due to many reasons. I’ve seen my son thrive in his preschool and enjoy the company of his friends. I’ve also seen myself (and the rest of my family) grow up in a traditional school environment. Though I have friends who homeschool, I just thought that it’s not something that would work for us.
But then the pandemic came.
I had to choose between distance learning (in an exclusive school we had already paid reservation for) and homeschooling. We explored many options. We let our son attend an online summer class to get a feel of how it might work, and boy was it a challenge. We asked our son what he thought. Fully aware of what’s happening around us, and what the different options are, my son said he’d like to homeschool. Yes, it wasn’t just a decision that me and my husband made together. Our son was very much involved in decision-making, just like he is in many other situations we faced together.
As for me and my husband though, we knew that we also had our jobs which we couldn’t simply let go of. I was in the middle of multiple consulting projects when the pandemic started and also had coaching clients to work with. My schedule, though flexible, just would not allow me to be on stand-by for distance learning. I also felt that my son would learn and benefit more from a face-to-face interaction.
And so here we are, half-way through the school year, with two Portfolio Reviews done, surviving and thriving.
To be honest, being a professional coach / trainer / facilitator, creating lesson plans and teaching isn’t really new. I’ve always been very much involved in my child’s education even when he went to school, so I knew a thing or two about it. Not to mention, the homeschool provider we chose also equipped us parent-teachers with skills we needed. I don’t claim to be an expert here, but I thought it would be useful piece of content or reference to also hear it from someone who is doing it for the first time, and due to current circumstances.
Yes there were challenges along the way. Availability of books was one of them, but we managed to get through that through resourcefulness. There were also days when I felt bad for not being able to sit down and teach him, and just left him with worksheets instead. I felt bad whenever he had to wait for me, when I was caught up in a series of meetings or urgent deliverables. I felt bad when we were ‘delayed’ with the lesson plans and targets I put together. What really helped was for me to embrace the flexibility of homeschooling. I reminded myself that the reason why we are homeschooling was so I can do my job. I reminded myself that I set the targets and timelines. I am in control. And if things go wrong, I can make adjustments myself. Phew.
To be honest, it’s not just my son who’s learning here. Homeschooling has been a great learning opportunity for me too. Other than learning Singapore Math (haha), I am also able to deepen my faith as we go through bible stories together, learn about Saints and the liturgical calendar. And then I remembered that earlier during the year, one of the goals I set for myself was to deepen my understanding of the Word. Who would’ve thought that it would be through homeschooling that I am able to do that?
I’ve also learned to be more patient and creative. I’ve learned to pace ourselves in our learning, allow my son room to ask questions and learn from mistakes. We also came up with different methods of learning beyond just books and worksheets. It has always been a partnership, if you ask me. It’s not just all about me teaching and knowing what to do. Many times, I’d ask for his ideas too. I’d listen to his thoughts. At the end of each quarter, I also put together a fun evaluation and reflection activity. It allowed him to rate how fun and challenging each activity was, and also reflect on what he thinks he did well or could improve on.
So you might be wondering, are we homeschooling again next school year?
Maybe. Options are still open at this time. But one thing’s for sure. We’ll definitely make the decision again as a family.
Would I recommend that you homeschool? I think the best person to answer that is you 🙂 We’re all different — with different needs, priorities and values. Do what works for you.