Good news is that it is 100% possible but it is not easy. However, with proper time management, different mindset about learning, enough learning budget and being highly productive, it is entirely possible, and still keep some volunteer activities without going crazy.
Complete Change of Mindset about Learning
The very first step is to change mindset about learning. If we are to keep the traditional thinking that kids need be “normal” by attending school for 6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 10 months a year, then that what would make homeschooling harder.
My husband looked at out kids playing on their own and tinkering around the house and they are amazing in what they do. So that prompted us to change the way our kids should learn. They don’t need the “school” attention for full 6.5 hours the whole day. Give them what they are supposed to accomplish for the day and they could enjoy the rest of the day learning what they want to learn.
Provide a Learning Environment at Home and when in Car
We love books. So instead of borrowing, we buy them and put up a mini-library of our own. So that cuts off our time going to a library for their media time. Instead they could go to the “library” inside our house, choose a book they like and read. It also doubles up as their pretend play scenario wherein someone acts as the librarian and the other as borrower.
We also have classic games in our library: chess, mastermind, scrabble, monopoly, clue, checkers, dominoes, and the likes. So that when they get tired reading, it is time for them to play classic games.
We also put up an art center where they could color, paint, cut, and anything under the sun. That space also doubles up as our experiment center for science.
We also spared some old laptop for them that they could use for computer time. They learn to type, use the keys, play games, watch videos about concepts that is better learned by watching.
When we are travelling we use that as learning time, too. I-spy games goes a long way of learning new words, concepts, and spelling.
In short, make your home and car surrounded with learning materials. Invest on them.
Choose your stress very well
See which stress you could handle. The stress of preparing kids in the morning, bringing and picking them up for school, and attending school activities. Compared to putting 1 hour/child of your Sunday afternoon to prepare for their lessons for the week.
The time spent preparing the kids, and shuffling kids in and out a regular school is already the same time spent one on one with them to learn new concepts. There is no struggle there. Just peaceful mornings and afternoons.
Buy a curriculum
Buying a curriculum that has preset lesson for the day saves a lot of time. Comes Sunday afternoon all I need to do is read the lessons, highlight those concepts that I know each one has to learn, and prepare the list of what each needs to be accomplished for each day. Viola! The learning for their entire week is all set.
Get them to learn anytime of the day
I work 9AM to 5PM, from Monday to Friday. So we start our day very early on. We are doing school as early as 7:30AM and that is spent with one on ones learning new concepts. Then, comes 9AM they are on their own with a complete list of school work that they need to accomplish. If we have missed lessons due to me being swamped with work, we use Saturdays and Sundays to catch up on the lessons.
Unless they have an activity ongoing, we also use the evenings to catch up on lessons. Otherwise, we reserved these for activities outside of our home school like music, sports, theatre, etc.
Learn to be highly productive and organized
Being highly productive is a discipline. This means we have to learn to say “no” for invites that may not fit into our schedule. This means we have to stop going to the mall. We shop online instead.
This means I would have to give up lurking on social media (like Facebook), or browsing the internet to get a lot of other things accomplished.
We also have to limit our kids activities to one at a time. If they have to do sports, both of our kids should be on the same sports. No different sport. We schedule sports during warmer months and theatre, music and the likes during colder seasons. So no two activities going on at the same time.
Easier said than done, right? I’ll put up another article about this. Stay tuned.
Teach the Kids the Love for Learning and Let Them Serve their Purpose
I would have to take you to a different perspective on this one. I can’t think of any other ways to put this in.
Children are gifts from God. They are given and entrusted to us to guide them towards God, developing their faith and character to have them fulfill God’s will into their lives. They are not here to compete with other kids or collect all the trophies and medals in this world. So expose them to the different intelligences available and allow that gift or gifts inside them to get ignited. Keep them interested. Let them love learning. Let them love serving others. Because through those small steps that they take towards learning keeps them closer to what they should be doing while here on earth. When they love learning what follows is independent learning. We don’t have to push them to learn. They would explore to learn. All we need to do is guide them and provide those opportunities.