A few weeks before Christmas break, I told my daughter we were going to do some flash cards to review her math facts. Up until that point, she had been cruising through her facts and didn’t seem to need much extra review.
“Oh, like when we used to homeschool?” she asked.
I tried to hide my puzzled expression.
I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to that. Ummm. In case you haven’t noticed, honey, we still DO home school.
But I actually loved her way of thinking. We are halfway through our new schooling arrangement, and I wasn’t sure how my children would react to this idea of having teachers on Mondays who give them all of their assignments. My hope was that they would see me more as the mom who helps them get through their homework and less as the teacher who is giving them all of their assignments. Apparently, it’s working.
This arrangement has helped me with a few of the aspects of home schooling that are hardest for me. I wanted them to be accountable to someone other than me to do their work. I have found that they try a lot harder to write a good research paper, for example, when someone else is grading it.
I wanted someone else to set the standard by assigning how much work we have to complete. Sometimes, I wish they had harder assignments. Sometimes I wish we could blow stuff off and go on a field trip. But overall, I have really liked not having the pressure on me to figure out what we need to accomplish in a school year.
I also wanted them to experience the fear and anxiety of taking tests. Now, they take tests on a regular basis in class and at home. Sure, we took tests before. But they never took their tests as seriously when Mom was grading them. I like them to experience the healthy stress of going to class to take a test and handing it in to their teacher.
However, I do love the home schooling life style we have been able to enjoy this year. I feel super privileged to get to be with them during the week and be part of the learning process. I also love our network of friends in the home schooling community. And we all enjoy the fun social stuff we get to do.
The week before Christmas, they had their first experience taking mid-term exams. I was nervous when my 5th grader came home and reported, “Those tests were my worst nightmare.”
All of their teachers post their grades and assignments on a web site called Engrade. I get a message every time a teacher posts a message. I couldn’t even bring myself to log in during the two weeks of Christmas break and go through all of the messages waiting for me.
When I finally HAD to look on Tuesday, I was pleasantly surprised. They did better than I expected in many subjects. The ones that were a challenge weren’t a shock. And the teachers went easy on us with the assignments the first week after Christmas.
It gave us some extra time to enjoy this week that has felt more like spring break than the first week of January! We still don’t have any water in our backyard skating rink. But hooray for 56 degrees in the middle of winter!