Well here we are. September is just on the horizon with a new school year, and guess what? We’re still homeschooling. Putting the children into conventional school has been a serious consideration this year. We’ve even been and looked around several options locally. But nowhere feels quite right, so it’s back to homeschooling for us. It’s a decision that I’m surprisingly okay about. I’m still no teacher by any stretch of the imagination. The last year was spent unnecessarily beating myself up that the kiddies will be ruined by this homeschooling debacle, which they haven’t been. And I think, finally, I’ve come to accept that fact.
The homeschooling guilt and reluctance has lifted somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, I still find myself questioning this responsibility on an almost daily basis. And I’m pretty convinced that I don’t actually know enough to do this. The irony is not lost on me that I was not exactly a model pupil during my own school days, and here I am now, passing all I know onto the next generation. That’s a big ask. It is also quite daunting to realise that I manage to maintain minimal levels of law and order in my classroom of TWO children. My own children at that. Real life, proper teachers have classes of twenty or so of others peoples offspring to deal with. How do they do it? What magic are they taught at teaching training college? Obviously I am greatly disadvantaged in this situation.
However, this year I am determined to be strong. I will have the resolve of a teacher who’s been listening to kids stumbling over the same three letter word all lesson. My kids won’t give up and neither will I. And I definitely, definitely, won’t give in to my kids mind games and distraction techniques. “Snacktime Mama?” will no longer be in my classroom vocabulary. Neither will “shall we go to IKEA so we can go in the softplay and you can have some peace and quiet?”. Obviously I won’t go as far as to make the kiddies call me Mrs Abbey because that would be weird, but I will command some level of respect. Hopefully.
I’ve even gone as far as to create a place that’s our equivalent to a classroom. I know. Shit’s getting serious. If we were some affluent family in, say, America we’d have converted our basement into some sort of homeschooling heaven. But our three bedroom condo in Singapore isn’t up to that. We’re not THAT committed to the homeschooling thing. But we have managed to squeeze a playroom / classroom into our apartment set up, which at least means at the end of the day I can close the door and say goodbye to the brightly coloured alphabet bunting and number charts. This, from the perspective of a mother / wife / woman / human being, is vital in maintaining some level of sanity.
But what of these alphabet bunting and number charts? Yes, the homeschooling resource game has been upped. I’ve even bought…wait for it…a printer. And although I have talked about workbooks and some other education related stuff before on Instagram, up until now I haven’t taken it all particularly seriously. Think, more of a bonus than a necessity. Which might explain why my kids are superbly well educated in terms of the world around them but less so in terms of reading, writing and mathematics. But that’s all okay, it’s not too late (they are only four and five), and the clear benefit of homeschooling’s increased rate of learning (thanks, 1:2 ratio) will rectify this in no time.
The other development (for me anyway), has been taking inspiration from, and advantage of, the online resources available to primary level teachers. I’m a teacher of sorts. Albeit a homeschooling one without the fallback of colleagues and a school. You only have to type “free homeschooling resources” into a search engine to realise what’s readily available. There are several excellent websites offering professional resources that for the most part are paid-for, but even on sites such as twinkl.co.uk you can find the odd download for free. Just sign up and you’re good to go. More on all that to come though…
All in all, I think homeschooling might work out better for us this year. The kiddies seem more receptive to the idea of “Mummy School”. And I feel more prepared. Mentally mainly, but also in terms of what we’re doing, how to do it, and where to find help.
Is this an optimism for the year ahead felt by all teachers just before term starts? I don’t know, but I’m definitely feeling good…
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