four months into homeschooling and we barely covered ¼ of the lessons for the first semester
We are officially homeschoolers since July. As much as I’d like to say we’re making tremendous progress homeschooling Ari, things aren’t really going as easy as I had hoped. We are way beyond schedule with the lessons and modules. At the rate we’re going, there is no way we could finish our bahaySKUL year in sync with the regular school year, which was our original goal.
There are many reasons why we are behind. I had been constantly travelling in the last couple of months and so Ari’s lessons in Language and Math are practically at a standstill. I’m still struggling with the use of the LifePACS modules. From time to time I find myself complaining with the way the modules are designed, and constantly looking out for other learning resources to use in place of the LifePACS modules.
It certainly is becoming frustrating because I feel that we are going on a pace that is probably not at par with other homeschoolers we have been acquainted with. Add to this a major concern that this is Ari’s education and future that we are talking about, and not just some project or assignment up for late submission. As a parent and first-time homeschooler, this situation is getting to be too overwhelming.
So we need to improve our pace, but we still don’t want to burden Ari with long bahaySKUL hours. We don’t see it necessary to have formal lessons for more than 2 hours at a time, considering that we actually have all day to reinforce learning in our day-to-day, ordinary life setting.
We used to do lessons only in the afternoon, covering 1 to 2 subjects per day. This was based on our original bahaySKUL schedule, which still included Ari attending classes at TLP in the mornings. But we had to scrap the TLP classes because we’re having a hard time coordinating with TLP on the activities that happen in regular school, and integrating this into our bahaySKUL activities. We feel that this is confusing Ari and complicating instruction that happens at home. Instead, we have Ari attend P.E. classes, which is basically playtime with kids his age, on Friday mornings, and taekwondo lessons on weekends. All the rest happens at home. Except for some occasional field trips, of course.
Starting this month, we’re changing things up a bit. First because we need to keep up. Second because we feel that both Ari and us are getting the hang of things and we may be able to take on more and longer bahaySKUL time in a day than when we started. We now have morning and afternoon classes that allows us to cover 2 to 4 subjects per day.
Aside from the changes in schedule, we’re also changing the format of how we teach things. My previous teaching method was LifePACS + learning games on the computer. I used to use computer games as a motivation, and as a way to check how much Ari has learned. This method worked for certain topics, like phonics concepts, but not with more complex lessons such as addition or subtraction. Also, searching for online games takes a lot of time, and bandwidth.
Turo and I did a little brainstorming on our experiences teaching Ari, and on the little guy’s learning process in general. And we both arrived at the conclusion that we need to break down lessons into common themes and topics (LifePACS don’t work that way so we need to really sit down and re-organize lessons as we deem necessary), reinforce learning (review) along the same themes and topics, and have a series of mini-tests before having Ari take an end-of-the-chapter or end-of-the-module test. Turo is experimenting with more types of written tests. I am focusing on oral testing methods.
So far, the changes we’ve made are working really well. Ari’s test scores have remarkably improved. And he constantly relates some of the concepts he’s learned to ordinary, everyday situations. We’re actually seeing real learning taking place. And to us, this is an assurance that maybe we’re doing some things right homeschooling our child.
Homeschooling is not a walk in the park. It’s hard work. And it requires some serious motivation. Be prepared to make a ton of mistakes. Just make sure to learn from them. We did. Sort of. So now we have little glimmers of success lighting our bahaySKUL path. Homeschooling can get really tough, we know, but we just always need to tell ourselves that we can totally do this, and I know we will.