As you all know, we have been homeschooling our children for a year now and I can happily report that I still thank Danielle every single day that she convinced me.
I was a little reluctant to homeschool because we had to become full-time educators, and sacrifice a lot of our time that could be spent otherwise. Although Danielle and I still allocate at least a couple hours each day to work on our personal projects*, teaching our kids is by far the most important thing we do.
Danielle is in charge of homeschooling and she does an amazing job. She spends hours every weekend planning the following week’s curriculum. She sits down with the kids and asks them what they want to learn about and then designs a custom program every week that incorporates all their learning requirements into specific topics. The kids love it. One week they learn about earthquakes while calculating probabilities, writing and presenting warning announcements, and learning the science behind this phenomenon. The next week, they learn about careers and starting a business; where Mia made a business plan to start her own salon, presented it to me and later on even cut my hair in her new locale.
Again Danielle does all of this. I just come in as a guest to watch presentations and act in specific roles.
I’ve been given the task to teach our youngest, Quinn (2 years old) which lines up well with my preparation abilities. I spend the first hour of every school day exclusively with Quinn while the other two get moms undivided attention. With Quinn we review numbers, letters, shapes, colors and read 82 books per day.
Today I worked on the letters N, O, P and spent half an hour discussing with her every animal or object that starts with those. We then read some really good books about emotions. During career week we read books about the police and she even got to act like one for a day by locking everyone in their rooms.
The benefits of homeschooling is our ability to incorporate anything we want and to teach them above and beyond the regular expected learning goals of the traditional school system. Our curriculum typically only takes us two to three hours every morning to cover so I’m always trying to find ways to teach the kids additional skills.
This past week we ordered Caleb a new loft bed to give him more space in his tiny room. Caleb’s trade to explore during career week was construction so I told him once the bed arrived, we would spend the afternoon building it together. He literally counted down the days with more excitement than he had for Santa’s arrival. Every morning he asked me if today was the day. Then finally it arrived and he rushed to put his new tool belt and got my tools ready. It didn’t matter that all we would need was an Allen key, he kept that tool belt on for 3 hours and neatly divided all the nuts and bolts we were going to need in the pockets.
Nothing beats the skills he learned in putting together a pretty complicated bed that day. And nothing beats the bonding we had and the gratification we shared once we got to enjoy his awesome new bed which gave us way more room to play with LEGOs and cars underneath.
Caleb also has taken an interest in making videos and editing them so we started putting aside an hour per week so I can teach him how to use video editing programs.
Mia is obsessed with ballerinas and gymnastics. If it weren’t for COVID we probably would have her in some classes but our inability to do so has actually been a blessing. Instead, Danielle looks up classes on YouTube and spends an hour each week giving her the most customized and flexible ballerina and gymnastics lessons for free.
On top of that Danielle with her infinite skills, gives Mia weekly piano lessons and Caleb guitar lessons. We also downloaded the Duolingo app on their iPad and they do a half an hour of Spanish lessons three times per week. And last but not least, we teach them skating and hockey a few days a week on our massive pond ice rink.
Some people’s greatest concern about homeschooling is the social aspect and I have to admit I worried about this too. But we have met and connected with so many local homeschooling families which allows us to socialize our kids with amazing people on a regular basis. Our kids still socialize with kids their age multiple times per week. Mask free and with no social distancing.
We also have the flexibility to visit who we want when we want because we are in full control of our school schedule. The three kids enjoy middle-week sleepovers at grand-maman and grand-papa’s. We also almost never say no to any outing since we are not constrained by school timetables, or work schedules.
That’s it for now. In the coming months look out for some more updates on my next book and also the newest documentary episode we will be featured in. If anyone has any questions about homeschooling, reach out to Danielle or I. We aren’t experts but can share what we know so far.
*For me that involves blogging, writing my next book and questioning our local politicians.