We have now been homeschooling for almost seventeen months, and some days it feels like we have just started and the novelty hasn’t worn off, other days it feels like I can’t remember doing anything else. There are some things I miss and things I don’t miss now we are homeschooling so I thought I would share them in an honest post to give you an idea of what it can be like and how we manage.
What I miss now we are homeschooling:
The big one – time to myself – The reality is that school does give you time away from your kids, and chunks of the day and week where you are not with them and you are working, or able to do the things you want, or just have some child-free time. It is hard, and it was an adjustment. For me, it is things like “I need my smear test done, ok, let’s see if we can arrange that during the hour that he’s at dance class” or a friend will want to grab lunch with me, and I have to either plan it for a weekend, which isn’t ideal, or they have to adjust to the fact that the boy is my sidekick for now and comes with me. He is very good at keeping himself occupied, so I can do things at home and at work when he is busy or working on his schoolwork, but it is a change that we have got used to. That being said, I went into it with open eyes and I know that this time will pass and he will either go off to school or some sort of academic place and things will change or he will get to a stage where he can be left safely at home (when he is a bit older) I do plan my time so that I get up early in the mornings to have some time alone to do things and the husband and I do work together so that I get downtime and space.
Educational input – don’t get me wrong, I have a strong and helpful community around me, of homeschoolers and plenty of resources but there are things that don’t happen easily when you homeschool. Resources like Occupational Therapy happen via school, and when you homeschool it’s on you as the parent to make sure that happens and you don’t access all the things the schools’ input, and you often don’t realize that straight away. That has been hard to adapt to.
Assesment – yes, that sounds silly, because I am one of those parents who is rampantly anti the SATS tests and other things our schools enforce but it is useful to have a teacher to talk to about how your kid is doing and what areas he might be less able in or need input on. It’s now my job to work out what he needs, and where he needs more work and what his weaknesses and strengths are, and it’s all on me to get that right so he is getting the education he needs.
I think that is about it, for what I miss.
What I don’t miss:
The slog of getting to school, the school run, the anxiety of the school run – and then the side effects of dealing with a child who has coped all day in school and then lets loose at home and having to bear the brunt of that. The last year of school was a lot of guesswork and anticipation as to whether he would have a meltdown about going to school and need to be pried off me at the school gates, and how he would be after school and if it would be a calm and peaceful or a nightmare of tantrums, and stress.
The homework – yes, we do work every day. But we don’t do homework. It was stressful, pointless (often needing me to do more work for him due to the demanding nature of the work that certainly was not age-appropriate) and the stress of getting him to do it.
The hideous lack of sleep, bedwetting and manic weekends – I don’t say it lightly when I tell you that shortly after we told him that he didn’t have to go back to school, he stopped bedwetting and started to sleep better. Our weekends also became much calmer, because there was no winding him down from the school week, to then have to get him ready to face the next one.
School uniform, lunchboxes, short notice dressing up requirements, the PTA, and school swimming lessons (which are, THE biggest waste of time)
Parents in the playground – don’t get me wrong, there were one or two parents who I clicked with and who used to stand in solidarity with those of us, not in the cool mums club, but I don’t miss the petty backbiting, sniping, playground politics and general adults should know better playground behavior. I hated it and I don’t miss it one bit.
Homeschool has been, so far a learning curve but one I am mostly enjoying. It feels strange as someone who was so used to being in the school system to now not be. We shall have to see what the next couple of years bring, won’t we?