Back to school blues even happen for homeschoolers

We are back at ‘school’ after almost 3 months of summer holidays, and it seems that ‘back to school blues’ even happen for homeschoolers. Funny…. this time last year the kids had to go back to real school and they were pretty much exactly like Calvin. This year we are only going back to homeschooling, but nothing much has changed!

I have to say, I feel a bit guilty taking summer holidays from what is already pretty much a holiday kind of lifestyle (despite what the kids say)… But I realised that holidays aren’t just about doing nothing… they are a punctuation mark.

Our first 8 months of homeschooling were fantastic but incredibly stressful at the same time, as we started out as curriculum- based homeschoolers, then developed our own curriculums, then we tried out unit studies, and experimented with unschooling as well. Meanwhile the kids went through every emotion possible about homeschooling… starting with elation at leaving school, followed by devastation when they realised were were still going to have to learn stuff, wild enthusiasm about the topics they loved, and outright rebellion about others they hated. (In fact there was more rebellion than anything else most of the time, and that meant me learning a whole new set of coping mechanisms). I think the only constant thing in our whole first 8 months was my driving belief that this was the best decision I had ever made.

In hindsight it was all a bit of a mess, but looking back at our books and materials as I was packing them all up before we left for Australia, I was seriously amazed at how much we had managed to do amidst such chaos.

This year is going to be more organised!! (I am pretty sure these are famous last words).

Now we know we are not much into curriculums.

We know we like unit studies.

We know we like having flexibility to do or not to do, depending on our day.

We know we want to make time for swimming, horseriding, karate and rock climbing.

We also know we want to focus on Islamic topics more.

I know that learning objectives are a big priority, to teach discipline and commitment within subjects they are really interested in.

So with all this in mind, the plan is an hour of Islam first, then an hour of formal topics (science, maths, english etc) and then an hour of personal learning objectives each day. Three hours… that’s it. Each child has started a learning blog and their personal objectives plus anything else they are interested in, are recorded here. Apart from that they have ONE exercise book each for the year, in which anything else they do will be recorded. Last year we tried an exercise book for each subject but it just felt like school, where they used to spend half the lesson writing the date in the OCD way the school prescribed.

I have joined a great science site called Supercharged Science and I, at least, am really excited about the huge range of experiments and applied learning (the kids claim they ‘hate science’ but the other day when we launched a rocket with vinegar and baking soda 50 metres into the sky, Shams didn’t seem to hate it too much). My mission this year is that they will say ‘we LOVE science now’ by the end of the year… here’s hoping Supercharged Science does the trick.

Maths will continue as before with Khan Academy and Adapted Mind and Shams will work on writing particularly through his blog and Grammaropolis.

So that’s our year in a nutshell… who knows…. this organisation may only last for a couple of weeks and we may descend back into homeschooling anarchy again, but we sure have learned a lot from last year … so onwards and upwards!





5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bec
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 08:52:02

    Wow, 50 metres! That’s incredible! I can just imagine his face.

    We haven’t taken a break since we started homeschooling again, but that’s probably because we’re extremely loose unschoolers these days.

    It’s great to hear honest accounts like this of the fact that it’s not always easy. I really admire how flexible you are, being responsive to the kids’ reactions and interests. Your year sounds great, and you certainly seem organised! Much more than me at the moment.


  2. dalishah
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 09:23:09

    The most amazing thing was that we had no idea it would go so high… we set it up and were stunned that it even worked in the first place, then flabbergasted when we looked up in the sky and couldnt even see it any more! It was sheer luck that it landed on the roof of my mother in law’s house next door and not in some other house because we would NEVER have found it hahahahahahaha.

    Bec, since it is your learning objectives idea that I poached, i give you full credit for the very basic level of organisation we have now… I, on the other hand, am in awe of parents who can keep on doing school without a break 🙂


  3. Bec
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 09:26:38

    Well wait and see if it works first, then I’ll take credit :p


  4. safiyahalishah
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 10:45:29

    Lol for “famous last words” XD.

    That was just hilarious when the rocket flew off!! I remember that you said “oh my God” and then “OH MY GOD!!” when you saw how high it went. And Shams was going crazy!!

    I’m pretty sure DOING science rather than reading all the boringness will be much better, but I think it would be a ginormmasaurus miracle if you got Diyana to say that she loves science O.O. But you can try, of course!

    If I may, I’ll say how I think we’re going so far:
    I need to work on making my own decisions but until then, I’ll be more than happy to take up yours Mumma (e.g. PHOTOGRAPHY FTW!!)

    Islamiat is… AWESOME AWESOME!! Especially since all my questions that have been buried somewhere among the junk in my brain emerge and I get very good answers ^.^. I also get to realize just how awesome Islam really is… and of course, LOVE MY LIFE EVEN MORE >:D! (And btw, you always get upset that I never tell YOU that I love you, but if I say that up there ^ it must say something, right? XD)

    Ok I’m done hehe.


  5. dalishah
    Sep 07, 2012 @ 14:55:01

    It certainly does say something. I’ll wait.


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