Someone told me it's so graduating students can "march in March". I wonder if that pun was intended.
I have already enrolled my kids with our homeschool provider, although, it's not a requirement for homeschoolers in the Philippines to follow the same schedule of the public and private schools. If I am being honest, I am afraid to go completely off the schedule of everyone else's, even though I could. There is that fear of slacking off, and following the government's mandatory schedule (for conventional schools) keeps me on my toes.
Homeschooling can be so broad and so simple at the same time. It really depends on the kind of personality you have and how you want to look at it. I prefer to simplify, simplify, simplify. So here are the 10 things that came to mind as I began to prepare the house for homeschool year 2013 - 2014.
1) Recycling. Books from last year will have to be stored properly and labeled so that the younger siblings can reuse them once they reach the grade level. My school-age kids are currently in prep, grades 4 and 8. Last month, I went to True Value and bought 4 pieces of underbed storage bags. It was buy 1 take 1, for only 250 pesos. Scratch papers will be ring-bound for doodling so I don't have to buy sketchpads. I bought a ringbinder a year ago for 2,000 pesos (see photo above, the item with teeth on the right bottom part) and it's been a great organization tool that saved me money. I'd also download digital books for free, print them, and bound them for my kids to use.
2) Space Saving. I just love space saving furniture. Racks and shelves have been installed on the walls so we can easily reach what we need. We have a step stool to reach higher shelves. As much as I'd love to splurge on hanging shelves that you see on IKEA, unfortunately they are too pricey for my budget. So what I do is just buy a plain coated board and get the handyman to drill on the walls to hang them. Space saving is necessary if you have a big family like mine and don't have a mansion to live in. We have 3 bedrooms and a basement - A master bedroom, the kid's bedroom, and a guestroom. The basement is for stuff I don't want to see but the handyman still can't bring himself to get rid of.
3) Delegating. I have four kids, a husband, a golden retriever, a yard with tall grass growing, and no house help or yaya. If I tried to do everything myself, I would go crazy. I have snapped in the past on one of those bad days for trying to be superwoman. Right now everything is verbally communicated, Cam sometimes does the dishes, Colin refills the water bottles, Codi puts away the toys. I'm thinking of printing out an actual schedule of chores so I don't have to say it everyday.
4) Decluttering. If I kept every nice drawing and every junk the handyman got for free, my house would be a hybrid of dump site and junkyard. Maybe some people can work well regardless of clutter being present. I can't. It just ruins my mood and I can't teach well. I'd like to believe that this way of life will let my kids know the difference between what's organized and what's not. My house is not spotless by any means, the best way to describe it: it looks like I am homeschooling 4 kids.
5) Focusing. It is said that you only need 4 hours a day to homeschool. I would say this is true, but in actuality you cannot study 4 hours straight. There are many distractions in between like kids getting hungry, needing to go the bathroom, phone calls, emails, etc. So it's important to be able to get back on track where you left off. It's a skill you have to continuously work on.
I am on day 2 in writing this post because I've had to cook, do the laundry, and put pants on my 3-year-old daughter. I kept her busy right now by suggesting she go brush her teeth, she then asked if she could also brush the teeth of her troll doll, I said "sure, sweetheart (anything to get my post done and for you to leave me alone)".
We plan to "officially" begin on the curriculum that we just bought by next Monday. Learning together as a family has not stopped though, I continue to read to them at night, play Monopoly together and delegate tasks to the bigger kids on a daily basis.
My kids also learn on their own. They draw, go online to research on origami, art, and yes they play online games just like any regular kid. They ask me about words they don't understand. My 6-year-old asks me to type stuff for him on the iPad, but instead I make him do the typing so he will learn to spell.
So that's it for part 1. I really am excited to homeschool this year because I have acquired new skills, I feel more confident in managing my home. You don't have to be a homeschooler to apply the 5 things I mentioned above. Do share with me what you do to manage your home, and subscribe on my blog for free!
Read Part 2