hey friends! its been awhile, but i’m finally getting around to finishing off our Q&A series! all of these questions were asked by my readers, so hopefully you can relate to some of them!
today’s questions are going to focus on homeschooling, or our version of it…
What age did you start homeschooling and what was the deciding factor?
we started homeschooling at kindergarten for grace and lily, and jr. kinder for silas. we sent all of our kids to a tiny, wonderful little preschool for 1-2 years, and silas also did 1 year of jr. kindergarten at the girls’ school (he was in the first jr. k class offered there). so all that to say, we have never put our kids in public school, but both sean and i were educated publicly.
so what was the deciding factor? hmm, lots of things really. our school that we are part of is really unique, and i was able to watch it build from its very beginning. a good friend of mine started the school about 8 years ago, so we have been able to see what an amazing place it is, know its core values, and see the results of the school in the incredible students it’s producing. i used to think homeschooling was nuts! i never ever thought i would homeschool my kids. ever. but when it came time to make a decision for school for our oldest, i couldn’t imagine her being away from me 5 days a week. that honestly was my first reason why i kept her out of public school. then the more we researched public education vs. classical education, and our hybrid model, choosing sloca was the obvious best choice for us.
i’ve said it before, but i don’t love teaching at home, but i love having my kids home. it doesn’t feel that way every day. in fact, most days are really hard. but i have finally learned after years of struggling against it that not all good things have to be easy and feel good. lots of good things and right decisions are hard. and thats ok.
What exactly is classical education?
for a really great explanation, go here. but for my quick version, here goes:
classical education may be gaining popularity now, but it is not new. some of our greatest minds in history were classically educated. our school specifically focuses on “ the forging of character, the fostering of wisdom, and the nurturing of a lifelong love of learning.” how can you not love that?! one element of classical education is the trivium: the 3 stages that a student’s learning progresses through (grammar, logic/dialectic, and rhetoric). these 3 stages align with developmental stages children go through. another hallmark of classical education is reading and discussing great books. we also study history in a four-period cycle of ancient cultures (especially greece and rome), the middle ages, the renaissance, and early american history. we are just finishing up the last of the cycle, so next year we will be studying the ancients again. i am so excited, because this will be our second time learning about them, only grace was 6. she will have an even greater understanding of all that we learned last time, on a new level!
How does part time homeschool work?
its awesome! apparently, some parents who do this don’t consider what they do as homeschooling, but co-teaching. but i’m at home, with my kids, teaching them. i’m calling it homeschooling. i feel like i get to do the best part of it. so my kids attend school 2 days a week, and are home the other 3. each week we are emailed what we call “the grid”: each teacher sends out their plan for the week, along with what we’re supposed to do on our homeschool days. so i don’t have to choose all of my curriculum – its awesome! no writing lesson plans – yay! we do choose a handful of our at-home programs, like spelling, grammar, reading/phonics, but other wise, the school decides on all of our other subjects, which i personally love. so what the kids do at school on monday is followed up with us at home on tuesday, and so on.
and the classroom setting is pretty traditional, other than the small class size (max 14 students). its not a co-op. real teachers. real awesome teachers. the kids are at school from 8:30 -2:30, and best part? there is no homework! so we are never assigned extra work to do on the kids at-school days – love it!
How do you balance the kids with school and the blog/shop?
oh this is a tough one! as you can see in the pic below, my work space is in the kids’ playroom/homeschool room. that is good and bad. mostly good.
since my kids are at school 2 days a week, i try to get as much work done as i can while they are gone. and then i work pretty much every evening once they’re in bed. but since my work is so fun, and it sits behind me while i’m working with the kids, and emails are constantly needing to be answered… distractions come easily. so i try my best to not do any work during homeschool time. i keep my computer closed and try not to answer work-related texts (i’m not very good at that one). i’ll check my email in the early morning before we start school, at lunch, then after we’re done.
the balance is always hard and i’m always trying. harder sometimes than others. i think the key is not in finding balance because thats impossible, but in always trying for it.