So...I'm Homeschooling My Kids

July 24, 2020

It wasn't in my plan.

 

I had many reasons why I didn't want to homeschool: It isn't healthy for our family dynamic. My kids LOVE going to school (they truly do, which they didn't get from me). I run a business, and while I have built that business while having small children at home, I was just getting used to flying solo for the first time in 8 years.

 

And yet, here we are. I'm Teacher Mommy (or to borrow from Sid the Science Kid, I'm Teacher Susie). And to be honest, I'm excited about it.

 

But I wasn't initially excited.

 

When the reality set in for my husband (also an educator) and me, I threw myself a pretty big pity party. Let's be honest: Life is only going to get more complicated for me. I thrive on routine and schedules, but as said in the previous paragraphs, I had gotten used to my kids finally both being at school. I certainly can work with them around, as I have done for years, but it isn't fun. To be honest, it requires a lot of self-discipline and long hours. Alas, the pity party ended, and I got down to work in typical Me fashion. I plan my work and work my plan, and then I feel better.

 

Let's back up a bit, though. Why am I homeschooling my children?

 

One word: Kahunavirus. At least, that's what COVID-19 is called in my household, thanks to my 6 year-old. When our public school experience ceased to exist on March 13, there was no going back. K-12 is not adequately equipped to teach little people virtually. No way, no how...at least, not without extensive training and support ahead of time. My kids had a ton of fun at school and loved their teachers, but our NTI (non-traditional instruction) experience looked like me spending a couple hours with them to check off pointless activities on a school-provided grid and then teaching them meaningful things. I was doing double-duty with little control over their learning. This is after a largely-lacking academic experience at school for them on a good day (no fault of their teachers, as we live in a highly impoverished area crippled by low-performing students and behavior problems). Then, I'd finally get to do my work. I haven't been that tired since having infants. As things continued to look sketchy at best for the fall, and after our state knew what was coming and put no plans/training in place for teachers all summer long, homeschooling was clearly the best path for us. Our teachers have been failed by their governance, and I'm not about to let my kids suffer for it when I can do something different.

 

I'm very fortunate. I've written curriculum for some big names like Achieve Inc. and KET. I've literally written the book on instructional support and soft skills infusion. I've led standards implementation in states all around the country. So, I got to work. I started with creating a Google Sheets standards map for both of my kids (entering 1st and 3rd grades). Of course I would start with the standards. I had to search to find standards for art and music appreciation, as well as social studies. (Neither of my children had science or social studies instruction to date.) The CCSS are the basis for all ELA and math. I then sought out resources, knowing I'd use Zearn (both online and the textbooks) for math and Abeka for grammar, phonics (1st grader), and spelling (also not taught in my district). Science went to McGraw-Hill, and social studies is a combination of a few things, driven by themes from the National Council for Social Studies. I'm working on a scope and sequence map. I have grade-appropriate reading units lined out and guest teachers in my dugout. 

 

I recognize I'm one of the lucky ones. Not only do I know what to do and have the flexibility (more or less) in my schedule to do so, but I also have bright kids who are well-rounded people capable of this adventure we're embarking on together. Each has his/her challenges. It will be a learning experience for all of us, but I plan to document some of our journey here. Maybe it'll help someone else who finds themselves stumped by Kahunavirus. Either way, it'll be a year of learning for all of us.

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