The days of homeschooling just one child are long gone, but the memories are still fresh of the easy planning, organization, extra time spent at the park and fun indoor play on rainy days. My reality is far from these picture perfect days, I once thought were eternal and now seem more like slightly organized chaos and loosely structured routine-more than anything else.
It’s no secret I’ve struggled with homeschooling 4 kiddos! And it’s no secret switching to boxed curriculum was my hail Mary pass! As usual, I bit off way more than I could manage and struggled to find a graceful way to fit it all into the days, weeks and months as they pass quickly from one to the next. While I can easily beat myself up for past hiccups and mistakes, I should actually congratulate myself on having the great idea to switch to boxed curriculum to save my sanity.
Don’t get me wrong I love the internet and computers! But I found the kids weren’t retaining the information as I expected, when using the virtual school environment. I know everyone learns in their own way, and kids have their preferences. My kids, apparently don’t like reading on the screen. They prefer written text in physical books where and workbooks they can fill out and refer back to. It’s old school and takes up more space in the RV- but we’ve found it works for us.
2 lessons I’ve learned ver the past several months using the Oak Meadow curriculum:
Plan to be flexible!
I love to plan! I really do. I have 3 planners going usually at any given time, with meals and bills, homeschool and then work in another. If I’ve learned anything about homeschooling multiple children is that you must have a plan, even a loose one! Flexibility is key but if you don’t have at least an outline fo the day or the week, you might find you’re still on lesson 1… three weeks in! I hate the thought of playing catchup and while I know we have the flexibility to not operate like traditional schools and follow their calendar to some extent I still find myself trying to keep up. This is stressful. I’d rather just go with the flow and let the school happen naturally, where the kids enjoy what they’re learning and we’re not struggling to complete everything in a crunch at the end. This has been one fo the greatest parts of the boxed curriculum! I can choose what we’re doing and how deep we will go into he material. No red X’s on the computer screen of things we chose not to complete or lessons we skipped. We choose the pieces we learn about and we go as far in depth as we wish.
Teach them All!
Trying to juggle 3 grades with 4 kids was madness. I was literally failing and the kids were getting nothing done, because I was stretched so thin. That wasn’t going to cut it. I received some great advice that I should try an old school technique of teaching all the kids at one time, as in a one-room schoolhouse. Thinking this would be even more stressful, I really put it off for a long while. When I was finally at my breaking point and realized it was a make or break moment, I figured I had nothing to lose so I tried it. Of course it worked, and make me feel ridiculous for putting it off for long but it also made the school day much shorter, which the kids really appreciated. Instead of having to work with each child on totally unrelated topics individually, I was able to just pick the topic from the oldest Childs text and divide up tasks for everyone from there. I used her workbooks and texts, because I didn’t want her to fall behind and have more trouble trying to catch up towards the end of the year. I can’t say for sure how long the bliss will last but for now it’s working just fine.