“I hope to teach my children our values and not the governments, to never stop learning, to read as many books as they can and to truly see the beauty in learning something new every day.”
I am fairly new to homeschooling and as I mentioned on my Instagram we are learning through play and growing together as we go. I added a new set of series on my top menu and one of them is titled “Homeschool” there you will be able to easily locate free-printables like my free ABC Flash Cards, lesson plans, monthly themes, our current reading list + more. So I put together this blog post to answer some common questions I get asked a lot like.
- Why are you homeschooling?
- Why don’t you just take him to a regular elementary?
- Where do you find the time and energy?
- How do you teach a crazy toddler to sit still for more than 2 minutes?
- What does your 11-month-old do around this time?
- Is this permanently or temporary?
- What about your home chores?
Grab a tea or coffee and let’s jump right into it! I decided to take a few hours of my day to homeschool Sebastian because I notice he was very interested in the concept of “Attending School” and what you do during school. When I called our school district, LAUSD asking what type of programs they had to offer 3 year-olds the women on the phone explained that children ages 3 and 4 had the opportunity to attend a learning program called The California State Preschool Program Part-Day (CSPP Part-Day) which is a three-hour educational program for children ages three and four, with priority given to four-year-olds. She also mentioned that this program was not free, but families at or below 70% of state median income would qualify to get the fees waived. I knew we wouldn’t qualify and since I already stay at home why not give homeschooling a try + growing up I always wanted to become a teacher or a social worker and guess what? I became something better a MOTHER!
You don’t have to be a professional teacher to be able to do it well. It is so rewarding to watch your little one learn something new every day. Although homeschooling is wonderful in many ways it is also not for everyone, because it does require a lot of patience. This is just temporary for us and, maybe I will part homeschool later. My main focus right now is to teach Sebastian that learning doesn’t have to be boring and that in fact, it can be very fun. Sebastian is very, outspoken, social and outgoing I know he would love to attend school with other children his age, I can already see him making friends with everyone and bringing his teacher flowers. I hope to teach my children our values and not the governments, to never stop learning, to read as many books as they can and to truly see the beauty in learning something new every day.
Even though the internet is filled with free knowledge and information homeschooling can be challenging and confusing and you might not know where to begin. Our days are mainly filled with books, Art, and long conversation about anything that seems interesting to Sebastian, like why is glue so sticky? I hope Sebastian learns how to read at home and not in school, I would love to be there when he reads his first word.
I faced a few challenges during the first few days and didn’t really know what to expect. But as the days went by we finally have found our rhythm and homeschooling has now become a natural part of our day. You don’t have to be the smartest or most organized person to homeschool. You don’t have to have a spare bedroom dedicated just to homeschooling, that’s the beauty of it. You can take school with you to work (if you have your own business) the backyard, the library, the kitchen, you can even teach while folding laundry, cooking or washing dishes. I came across tons of homeschool bloggers and mom bloggers who have been doing it for years, but the reality is no one can really teach you how to homeschool, you must find your path and create your own learning curriculum that fits your child.
I am not here to tell you that our days are filled with sunshine and smiles because they are definitely not. It will never be perfect but, some days will naturally flow and be filled with accomplishments and those are the days you and your children will remember. This post is not going to tell you how to homeschool, I’m just sharing what we are learning and what has worked for us because maybe it can work for you too or it can spark some inspiration to create your own ideas.
When I started in September I received many direct messages on Instagram mainly from SAHMs (stay-at-home moms) like myself, asking how I had the time, energy and patience to teach Sebastian + take care of Max and keep a tidy home. The answer is very simple education is in our everyday life and you just haven’t noticed it yet! Like many stay-at-home moms, I am busy because I am taking care of the kids + cooking, cleaning, plus everything else in between and time is never on our side. We are constantly sleep deprived, running late, hangry and mainly just exhausted. But look at it this way you are already staying home with the kids, why not turn it into something positive, fun and educational! Remeber they will soon leave our nest and fly away in search of their own path, is true what they said, “the days are long by the years are short” and that my friend is called motherhood.
I love making most things from scratch but making popcorn isn’t one of them, and if you been following me for a while then you might already know Sebastian is obsessed with popcorn. So when its time to make popcorn, guess who makes it? yes, my 3-year-old. We grab the stool together and head over to the microwave. I read the instructions out loud and explain to him the required cooking time is one minute and thirty seconds. Sebastian can’t read words or sentences yet, but he can read and identify letters A – Z and numbers 1 – 10. So with his little finger, he locates the numbers 1, 3, and 0 all on his own. We then press the start button and enjoy our popcorn together. So you see in a task so simple as making popcorn we covered some language arts and practiced our numbers.
So just think about your daily schedule, take note of everything that could be counted as schoolwork. Through our day no matter where we are I encourage Sebastian to notice, numbers, colors, shapes, and sizes. While I am wash dishes or sorting laundry we have a math-lesson or reading-lesson. I hand Sebastian a worksheet to work on or a book and I have him describe what he sees on every page. Use the time to your advantage and don’t waste it, put your preschooler to work while you are working.
Maximiliano my youngest fatty is an early bird so by 8 am he is wide awake and ready for breakfast. Max usually take a late morning nap after his belly is full and I plan our most important lessons around that time. We include Max is mostly every activity we do, such as;
- Circle Time
- Free Coloring Session
- Arts & Crafts class
- Fine + Large Motor Skills
- Free Play
But I honestly think he only comes for the snacks! It is great for babies to explore but they also like to put everything in their mouth and some things are just not safe for them. That’s why when it comes to baby sensory play you want to make sure the activity is safe, taste-safe and not a choking hazard.
Homeschooling is easier than you think, if you have a preschooler like me, think about the educational things you already do. Maybe you already read together, do crafts and sing songs. The only change is going to be you now might have a scheduled time to do certain things. A sample school day at home for a 3-year-old can be as short as an hour a day or half hour even, all depends on your child. If I can do it so can you, search deep in your heart and find that self-confidence and get started. You are smart, creative and determine, so get to work and use things you already have around your home. The best advice I have for you is, plan ahead and never stop having time dedicated to taking care of yourself.
Make a list of what you are currently doing, adjust your schedule and only give up the meaningless. Perhaps stop meaningless scrolling on Instagram for hours, watch less tv or maybe wake up earlier. You don’t have to have a structured schedule, take it slow and see what works for you and your family. Use your schedule as a guide, not a rule, involve the kids and brainstorm together, ask them what they would like to learn. So if you are trying homeschooling to see if you like it or simply enjoy playing school you can try various schedules and routines until you find the one that best fits your family.
Get Creative and Start Teaching!