More Learning and On Full Time Commitments

So we kept to the routine I wrote up for about a week and then things devolved, but not to complete and total chaos, but rather into a nice rhythm.  We were doing Duggee Badges daily, but A’s not asked for these lately.  And then I’ve been devoting time to self-care, getting myself out of the habit of putting everyone else ahead of myself and doing some things for myself, which was massively burning me out.  To that end, I also joined a gardening class on Saturday mornings.  Thereafter, I spent some time setting up my home office.  And then last week, the rotovirus stomach flu struck.

Hard at play, programming
Hard at play, programming

A’s been cracking on with maths.  He’s doing addition up to 5 at his own asking and motivation.  He’s shy about doing it to show his dad, but A did come home this past weekend from visiting grandparents and announced that ‘five plus five is ten!’.

A also took a keen interest in robots and programming.  CBeebie’s Nina and the Neurons has a ‘Go Digital’ series of games that explains how computers work plus a little robot game where you program instructions that the robot would need to complete an obstacle course.

‘Go Digital’ also lead A into other Nina and the Neurons learning modules about the senses, so he’s been excitedly telling me about how his nose is for smelling, his ears are for hearing, etc.; what sort of things he smells, that sort of thing; all in greater detail than how he’d describe things before.  So, not only is he learning about his senses, he also seems to be expanding his vocabulary to describe his world.  All good stuff.  Though when I tried to explain other senses like balance and proprioception, he wasn’t willing to accept what I had to say about it.  Ah well, we’ll approach those subjects again later.

A has also taken an interest in an app, Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Street.  He’s gotten a little hooked on Sesame Street in the form of the Furchester Hotel series and this app’s been on both kids’ tablets for more than a year, but he’s not been interested in it until now.  I think the ‘Breathe…’ app reminds him of the ‘Countdown to Calm’ technique that we use to ease him out of meltdowns and he’s also started being much more sensitive to my feelings and this seems a good gateway into practicing mindfulness.

A has also taken mild interest in Melody and Peter Rabbit.  Melody is pretty good for classical music recognition and appreciation and then of course Peter Rabbit leads to all things Beatrix Potter.

5am, suited up for dinosaur exploration in the local woods
5am, suited up for dinosaur exploration in the local woods

Weekends have started to become easier.  When I was working, I used to be terrified by weekends, “what are we supposed to do with the kids?” coupled with the feeling that I’d never get a moment to myself.  But now between gardening class and A being settled into a rhythm that D happily follows, weekends have become incredibly manageable, much to my relief.  Usually while I’m at gardening, their dad take them to Run and Jump playland and he’s getting better and better at solo’ing them for that or for going on their scooters in the park.  We’re continuing nature walks on Sunday mornings, now that we have an extended Sunday morning with the kids (more like a Sunday half day) since their grandparents’ caravan season has started.

Oh and how could I forget to mention the eclipse?!?!  I thought it was awesome.  D seemed very interested in all the material I pulled out for her brother to review prior to it.  A?  Not in the least interested.  So while I was running around the house geeking around over it, A just played on his laptop.  He took notice that it was getting dark and turned on the lights downstairs, but that was it.  Anyhow, I made a mirror projection viewer that shined the eclipse onto the wall for safe viewing that I’m very proud of even if A didn’t have the understanding to know how totally cool it was.

Today A and I were out in the park and I came across a parent of some children near to our children’s ages who attend the same nursery.  Their dad hadn’t seen me for a while since in January, I stopped working at work and pulled A from nursery while D continued going to nursery.  Having two (or more) young children with little age gap has its own set of challenges and there were always secret, knowing smiles between my husband and I and this set of parents– all the well knowing how the stars must align to produce smiling, polite happy faces in BOTH toddlers at the same time… it takes some truly sterling parenting.  I’ve continued collecting information on children from their nursery in an effort to stay in touch and enroll kids in same holiday and after school activities. A lot of after school activities are outsourced to third parties and paid straight out of pocket rather than paid for or managed by the school, so we’re not barred from these just because we homeschool.  So I was explaining all that to this dad so that I could get their contact information too.  He was all like, ‘Wow! Homeschooling!  That must be a full time commitment!”

“Oh no… its not.  Entertaining a 3 year old toddler– That’s a full time commitment.  Homeschooling a four year old?  Easy peasy, by comparison!”  And it really is.  When its become embedded in what I’m doing every day, its no hassle, especially with the self directed learning that A is doing.  I explained a bit about self directed learning and topical learning as opposed to subject based learning, where one builds all the skills surrounding a topic to learn more about it.  There are more resources out there on the internet every day.  Most of my information collection on where these resources are happens every time I’m checking my social media.  Vetting that information collected takes some time.  But with tagging on my Pocket, vetting resources will probably become something A and I do together when he comes asking me for information on a topic.  Also though, in a way, there’s been some vetting of information resources already, else a homeschool mom or mum wouldn’t be sharing it on homeschooling forums and that’s where I’m getting almost all of my information resources.

It might get busier later… and it might not, we’ll see.  It’ll likely be in the form of creep and I may not notice right away because I’ll be into it too.  But consider how much time spent in school is spent in crowd control and how much time is spent actually learning.  A lot of homeschooling parents say that perhaps two hours learning happens at school each day– I’d actually imagine that to be less.  The time spent at home learning, I believe, is more quality in that its uninterrupted, in a comfortable environment where the child feels free to fully explore, assisted by one of their number one adults championing them along the way and free from distractions, time and attention lost to having to manage too many kids at one time.

It’s not a full time commitment.  I’m keeping house, managing the household budget, and starting in on taking back my old work duties but at home and I still have time to myself, without overwhelming myself, or without having to do fancy Pomodomos or whatever they’re called– all relaxed and in stride.