Christian? Nope. Hippy? Nope. Unschooler? Nope. Let me tell you about it.
I’m doing this thing on Wednesdays, and, oooh, has it been ridiculously lovely for August and I. One day at home, mid-week: a day that is equal parts recovery, connection and inspiration.
I could spend this post explaining all the reasons behind it but let’s just say that August has landed in a wild Grade 2 classroom (meaning much of the day is spent on discipline over inspiration) with a new teacher who hasn’t quite got a handle on the gang, rendering August a sudden school hater. I wouldn’t suggest this for all kids—this is situational and manageable for us. (My son, for example, is just where he needs and wants to be in his Grade 6 class.)
I realize this is a great privilege. Not every parent can take a day a week of unpaid work (there are trade offs: for example, our car is held together by duct tape, our family doesn’t do new clothes, and Santa leaves Value Village gift certificates- which works great by us), but since I find myself freewheeling freelancing again (anybody got ten bucks?) I felt lucky to be able take on a homeschooling day.
And, oooh, is it fun getting to know my 7-year-old this way. (Don’t kid yourself though, it is work, paid or not.)
I am not an elementary teacher nor do I want to be one… I do teach in other areas for my work, plus I am a relentless learner, full of curiosity and questioning– qualities I don’t see prevailing in the public school system. I also speak French, which, in order to keep continuity with her time in class (4 days French Immersion) this was essential to maintain.
It was important to me to work as a team with the teacher and principal, and that August be made well aware of this mutually respectful endeavour. It is hard to argue with one-on-one learning where I can hone in on August’s areas of need (she has fallen behind in the class chaos).
Here’s how our home day unfolds.
We get Trygve (11) off to school (SUCKER!) then start our day with a hug and an intention. Mine is usually patience; August’s is usually having fun.
We use a chalkboard to write out things we need to get done (the learnin’) and things we want to get done (the adventure!). August’s teacher provides us with a homework package of things to complete (from her day plan) and we create the rest. The day is full of the ‘at desk’ essentials (usually writing assignments and math) but includes lots of hands-on adventure (building geometric shapes, treasure hunts, dance breaks, making healthy snacks, outdoor learning at our river fort (the Duck Den), art, story writing, skating, documentary watching and old people visiting…) I learn just as much as August does.
Anyhow, it isn’t a big undertaking as it is only one day (hats off to you fulltimer homeschoolers) but our flexi-schooling has a big impact on both of us.
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Love it! Did something kind o similar w me own kiddies when things weren’t going so great at school. No so consistent. Reading this makes me think that perhaps I should have planned it. Yes it is priveledge to be able to do it.
Nice one dawn.
My grandmother, a lifelong teacher of children, teens and adults all the way to her days at Laval University used to say, “all kids learn at primary school is ‘bad habits’. Until high school there’s nothing you can’t teach them yourself.” She home schooled my mom for a couple years. The truth is, when you’re one on one you get all the work done in 2 hours, rather than 6 and the rest she spent climbing cherry trees.
I had my own version of flexi homeschooling. With my parents in their 20s we moved every single year and lived in places for such a short time often the boxes were never unpacked. One year I stopped grade 3 at the end of April as we were moving to Guelph for two months (yes two months before a 3 month stint in Dundas!). The teacher said to my mom I just needed to read 1 hour every day and I’d be fine. I also took weeks off with my grandma to visit family in Quebec and BC. I went on the transcanada VIA, I was a translator for my French speaking grandma at Eaton’s. I went to art exhibits with her, drank tea at the Royal York while waiting for our next train to goodness knows where. It was totally an adventure, always. I hope to do the same with my son one day…some version of this flexi schooling. Even though we had no money growing up, there was no house, there were many apartments, and often no car, I recognize the extraordinary privilege I came from: an educated family who recognized the value of teaching their children and experiential learning.
Wow Mary- coming from you and at teacher- great comments.
I love this idea, Dawn. August is going to remember her days with you, but chances are she’ll forget a lot of the days she spent in school. Not the learning. She’ll remember that. But school days all seem to roll into each other and your Wednesdays will cut through that. Have fun…and yes, have patience.