One thing I have learned in life is that no matter how much we plan – things can change in an instant. You cannot live a life well-lived if you’re constantly making contingency plans to accommodate your original contingency plan and on and on. Where and when would find the time to enjoy life? With that being said; this past year has been TUMULTUOUS! When school started in the fall of 2019, we had great expectations. We would have an exciting and successful school year filled with football games, Kindergarten programs, Homecoming and Jr/Sr. Prom. A month into the year we were hit by a tropical storm that flooded our home and our rental property for the second time in 3 years. Living on the Gulf Coast of Texas makes us quite familiar with hurricanes and their offspring tropical storms and depressions which have proven to be even more devastating. We would spend the next four months in a cramped apartment while our house was being repaired, but we planned to make life as close to normal as possible for both of our children. School was not closed as long as the last flood and things on the education front got back to normal fairly quickly. Homecoming, football, and school programs continued and we attended – in between meeting contractors, picking paint, fixtures, tile and everything that comes with a renovation. This was done while mom slowly descended into insanity and dad worked 12 hour shifts, overtime and descended into insanity somewhat quicker than I did. The new year rolled around and moving home was becoming a reality. I was THRILLED! Hagrid had moved in upstairs from us and he would start his days at around 3am, most days I felt like Chicken Little and I thought the sky was falling. When I finally ran into our upstairs neighbor, he was more the size of Harry Potter than Hagrid, but the sound of his feet said differently.
The third Friday in January was officially “move home’ day. We had the apartment through the end of the month so we moved the major things and took our time with the rest. We were just happy to be home. We did everything as quickly as possible because dad was having surgery the first week of February and would be out of commission for a while. We begin to hear rumors of this novel virus and friends, family and classmates I know overseas started making their way back home to the states at an alarming rate. When the kids leave school for Spring Break in March, both of their schools alert us that they may not restart after the break for a while. Learning turned into Zoom meetings and Google hangouts until the year ended. My descent into insanity continued and it met anxiety and depression along the way.
Fast forward to July – Texas is a HOTSPOT, uncertainty is commonplace and all anyone is saying is, “Send the kids back to school, no matter what!” Yes, I agree that children need to be in school or in some sort of classroom setting, but at what cost? I knew that my youngest would not be able to attend anyone’s school because he has severe allergies which compromises his immune response and I wasn’t prepared to take that risk by any means. The studies surrounding how his group is affected were not concrete enough for me to be “good” with him in a class of 20 or more other children who generally are “germ carriers” once school begins anyone – any parent knows this. I consulted people whom I deemed, “homeschool MVPs” to find the best way to approach my new found situation and job title. They all said the same thing: make it fun. Approach it according to his learning style. Don’t throw everything at him at once because you don’t have to. Our Sensei, who homeschooled all 5 of her children and one is in law school and one I know attended an Ivy League University said to me, “Don’t move on from one thing until you know he’s got it!” Have class at the beach, the backyard, the park – you have full control and your classroom can be anywhere you want it to be. I’ve read homeschool blogs, books and visited any teaching website that I could. I wanted to be prepared because I know that his success depends on me and how well I can get him to comprehend each subject. I then turned my spare bedroom into our formal classroom setting for the days we need to get serious and the days we take our learning on the road – we may take you with us. Our entire house, well the living room and playroom may be our art room and gym, but we are going to succeed no matter where we are in the house or out in the wild.
If you follow me on Instagram; you saw some of the process of me converting my spare bedroom into our official classroom. That meant giving up my spare bedroom that we planned to turn into a closet/office so I could move my desk out of the playroom which was being converted into the family room. So, now when we don’t have class I can shut the door and get some work done. The background work and putting work together was an arduous task. It’s not like I had a particular curriculum in mind, but wanted to pull from many. I had to find everything I was comfortable with teaching and what I knew he would consume without fail. Did I want to make it easy for him? Absolutely not. Did I want something challenging yet entertaining? That was my goal. Curriculum isn’t created to be entertaining but to be informative, but when homeschooling your child you want to create that ‘enchantment” as Julie Bogart explains in her book: “The Brave Learner.” Our curriculum will be one full of surprises, mystery, risk and adventure! He may find that his mom may come dressed as one of the characters in the books we read (one he really likes) and teach every subject using that book.
Again I say, the choice to homeschool was mine to make and I am grateful that I was in a position that I was able to make it. We have two mottos that I chose and we will say them daily. He will know these statements as well as he knows math, reading, spelling and other subjects because I chose them for their importance. The first is a statement from Albert Einstein, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” The other one is from an unknown source and it is simple and meaningful: You’re AMAZING just the way YOU ARE!” So be brave, be counted and be AMAZING just the way you are. If you find yourself like me, having to decide whether you have the capacity to homeschool your child…you do. Do your homework, research, talk to as many people as you can and believe in yourself above all else. I also urge you to remember that even well made plans fall apart, but be patient because in homeschool, winging it is what makes it fun from what I hear.
If you have any homeschool experience you would like to share, please do so. It is more than welcome. Follow me on Instagram @wife_woman_mother_ for more behind the scenes prep.