I know the frequency of these blog posts are slowing down, and that partly reflects a change of phase, I think, in homeschooling.
I spent the summer thinking a lot about pedagogy and objectives. How did I want to approach educating my kids? Was I going to use a set curriculum? What subjects would we cover? What were my goals for the year? What were the legal requirements for registration and evaluation? What support was out there? How were other people doing this?
I might have been procrastinating, but it might just be a part of my process; it takes a long time for me wrap my mind around things and get comfortable with a new mindset. I did a lot of thinking, and I wrote down some decisions, but I knew in my heart of hearts that all of these were more like hypotheses than conclusions. Who could say what it actually would be like?
Over the summer I did do some activities with the kids, but it was kind of haphazard. Get used to seeing each other all the time; go on a field trip here; try a little bit of that; clean up the house; la-di-da.
Once September actually hit, things started building momentum. I participated more in a bunch of homeschooling groups, online and off. I started attending park dates and playdates. We bought metro cards and started visiting museums in DC. I started signing up for events and webinars and shows. I began subscribing to lots of email lists and feeds and calendars, and I started to build in routines to scan through them nightly. I heard through word-of-mouth of popular programs like Compass and Ancestral Knowledge. And we borrowed lots and lots of books from libraries.
A few weeks ago, I started thinking that things had gotten a little crazy. We were spending a lot of time out — including eating out a lot. We were starting to spend a lot of money, at least to my cheapskate little mind. We were losing track of library books. And we were neglecting regular academic things.
There were other adjustments we had to go through. Sleep schedules. Domestic duties. How my wife and I saw each other. How the kids saw me. Re-evaluating my understanding of my kids and their personalities and competencies. Disciplinary tactics. Each of these can fill their own individual blog post (series), and most –if not all–of them are very much works-in-progress.
So, anyways, I’ve been tapping on the brakes a little. We’ve mostly settled our library accounts. I’ve settled on a couple of weekly commitments: Ancestral Knowledge on Mondays, UpCycle art classes on Tuesdays, park dates with other homeschoolers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’ve just negotiated with my son to take his Tae Kwon Do classes on weekday nights — because a lot of stuff for families and kids tend to fall on Saturdays, naturally. I’ve been getting better at prioritizing and passing on opportunities.
I’ve worked out a couple of routines and goals that I want to tackle daily as well as a set of academic things we could tackle weekly. I’ve given myself a checklist of things to do nightly to keep myself somewhat on top of preparation and management.
We’ll see. I’ve been joking with others that I’m always going back to the drawing board. I sense that things are developing in a pretty organic way, though. This year is an experiment, and I’m learning a lot through it.