I decided several weeks ago to homeschool over the 2020-2021 school year. When Covid disrupted schools, and we were all waiting to see what school would look like in the fall, I decided that I didn’t want to be yanked around by every news article, gubernatorial decree or increase or decrease in the virus. I HATE being in limbo. Now, more than ever, I need peace in my life. Since I have homeschooled before, it’s not a big deal to homeschool again.
But circumstances are different this time around. I have this blog, a part time job, and teenagers with busy schedules, so I have a lot less time than I used to, and more plates to juggle. As I was going over and over the different options in my mind, (I know you’ve been there, too!) I decided to approach my sister in law about team teaching. She has a son the same age as mine, and I wondered if she would be up for it. Thank goodness for answered prayers- she was! Our kiddos are in 4th and 5th grade, so it’s pretty easy to lump them together.
This is how things will look. It’s not my “ideal” set up, but I am so, so grateful that things are working out as well as they are. It also fits with my educational mission statement in many ways, so that tells me this will be a good thing for our family.
How Homeschooling is going to work Day to Day
My sister in law will be doing some subjects, and I will be doing others. We will switch off every other day. That means the kids will be doing two lessons per subject per day. For example on Mondays, they will be doing two lessons in language arts, two lessons in history, etc when they are with me. Then on Tuesdays with their aunt, they will do two lessons in math and so on. We will correct their work as soon as they finish, and if they get 100% the first time, they will get a coupon that can be applied towards various rewards. If they don’t get an answer right, they keep trying until they get mastery.
We created a schedule and hope to be going from 10am-3pm, with lunch and breaks. This gives my kids time to do chores and the other family does a lot with horses, so it gives them time to work on that project as well. Winter hours might change a bit.
We will be using Abeka curriculum this year. We chose this because my in-laws educated their children for years with Abeka and had good results- plus they also have a lot of the resources that we could reuse. A big point for us this year will be to train our kids to be self directed, and to be able to read a text, understand it, and find answers without a lot of guidance.
Sometimes (my) kids can be dependent when it comes to researching and doing the hard work of reading carefully, deeply and finding answers- they just automatically ask for help. Developing a mental work ethic such an important life skill! This particular curriculum is geared towards more independent work.
In the past, I have used Sonlight, The Good and the Beautiful, A Well Trained Mind, and a few others – either as an entire unit or for individual subjects. I have enjoyed things about each of them, (and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me about them!) but since my sister in law really wanted to use Abeka and I have limited time, I’m pleased with our choice.
Supplementing our Homeschool
Day to Day Living
This next idea is more day to day living, but I also love to find new experiences for our kids. My friend’s son has a forge, and he graciously agreed to teach my kids about blacksmithing this summer. It was so cool and they brought home a homemade knife they helped to make! I live in a tiny town and can still find cool stuff- I know that you can, too!
In addition to Abeka, I will also be doing some group time when it is my turn to teach. This will focus on current events, critical thinking, character training and some really fantastic history-based read alouds. I have a degree in history and political science, and I really want to help the kids understand in an age-appropriate way what is going on during these turbulent times.
For example, yesterday I showed them various clips about courage- a Bug’s Life, Karate Kid, and a boy their age who does triathlons- but comes in dead last every time. This is because he pulls his younger brother with cerebral palsy in a trailer behind him. It takes courage to be last all the time, doesn’t it!?
Then I pulled up some current events and people with a variety of beliefs and viewpoints. We talked about people on both sides of the aisle who have shown courage. I explained to them that it didn’t matter if we agreed with that particular person’s actions or not- we can admire the way that they listened to their conscience and showed courage when they had a lot to lose.
All in all, I’m thrilled. I teach part-time, but still get the benefits of homeschooling. My kids get to be with their cousin and aunt, we have flexibility, and I get to have some peace about this school year without being yanked around by every new development in the pandemic.
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