homeschooling outside the home

it is an irony how much freeing, rather than confining, homeschooling can be

In my previous post I described how we’re trying to make some adjustments after four months of bahaySKUL with Ari. So far the changes we’ve made (and still experimenting) seem to be working and we’ve made a ton of progress over the past couple of weeks.

One of the major changes we did was to take our bahaySKUL outside of our home. And I mean outside literally. Every afternoon, we troop out, Ari with his “big boy bahaySKUL bag” containing his LifePACS modules, writing and coloring materials, math manipulatives, his calendar, a change of clothes, water bottle, and any other stuff needed for the day’s lessons.

Every morning I prepare his bag’s contents, marking the pages he needs to work on per subject per day. We cover up to 3 subjects every afternoon, 2 subjects when he needs to take a test so as to lessen the pressure.

This week, we have our bahaySKUL classes outside Uri’s school (Uri still attends regular preschool). We start class after we send Uri to his classroom, and end when we hear the kindergarteners sing their goodbyes.

We found a nice spot in the school’s waiting area, where there is a large table, and looks over to the playground, which is also a huge motivation for Ari to finish his work on time. Our afternoon class takes no more than 3 hours, breaks included, and ends with super fun playground time with Uri and his classmates.

Considering that Ari used to be a hyperactive toddler, building focus and concentration, and maintaining good behavior are important objectives in our bahaySKUL. And we found that it was easier to instill these in an environment that is more controlled, than when we just do it in the comforts of our own home. Of course our home will always serve as a learning environment for our children 24/7, just as we are their teachers 24/7.

But because we have fixed, structured goals for education, it is necessary to provide circumstances that resemble a type of structure and rigidity to our bahaySKUL learning process. And we find that we are able to accomplish this more effectively by finding an alternate learning environment outside the home.

It is realistic to assume that come rainy days, we would likely opt to stay indoors, and scrap this whole homeschooling outside the home idea. However, the lesson we learned here is about putting some real structure into our bahaySKUL – a kind of structure that our children would respect and follow, even happily oblige. Whether this structure will be in the form of going to a separate classroom or wearing a uniform, ringing a homeschool bell or posting a class schedule, will probably depend on the age of the child or what homeschooling phase we are in. We just need to keep in mind that enforcing this structure will be the backbone of our educational path, and it serves us, as parent-educators, just as it does our children.

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