This is the second week of homeschooling for us. As you can probably tell from the title, homeschooling is not going well. This is bad news because we plan to take a year off to go travel around the world. That means homeschooling on the road. If homeschooling at home is so difficult, how can it work on the road? There is still hope, though. We will use this spring quarter as a trial run and try to make it somewhat pleasant. Big changes like this rarely go smoothly especially when the world is in crisis mode. I’m pretty sure we can turn it around, though. What can I say? I’m an optimist at heart. Alright, I’ll vent some steam first and then see how we can improve homeschooling.
What’s going wrong with homeschooling?
Many families are homeschooling their children this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems like most of them are doing quite well. We only have one child. Why is homeschooling such a big problem for us? I’ll try to figure this out today. Writing things out is very helpful, that’s why you should start a blog. See my tutorial on how to start blogging.
I am not a good teacher. Whenever I try to teach someone anything, it never works out well. I expect the student to focus on the work and improve quickly. Also, basic concepts (steps) should be followed correctly and careless mistakes avoided. I get impatient if the student keeps making mistakes or doesn’t grasp the concept quickly. I think I sound mad when this happens. Mrs. RB40 can attest to this. I tried to teach her to speak Thai and it didn’t work out too well.
Our son doesn’t like school. He’s smart, but he hates school. He is a very active boy and he has a hard time sitting still. I don’t think that’s unusual, but this makes learning new things difficult for him. He can’t focus. Also, he’s very emotional. If he makes a few mistakes in a row or gets stuck on a problem, he’d break down and cry or get mad. It’s a tough transition from spring break to homeschooling for him.
New learning environment
Nobody planned for this school shutdown and it’s new to everyone. Our son’s teachers weren’t familiar with distance learning. They had to figure out how to teach the student online from scratch. The district must have put out some kind of guideline or training sessions because we are doing it. It has been a struggle for everyone. We had all kind of technical problems on the first week.
- Logging on to Google classroom, Dreambox, Khan Academy, and various other accounts.
- Links didn’t work.
- We couldn’t turn in school work online.
- We couldn’t find lessons.
- No access to edit worksheet.
- Disappearing spreadsheets.
I guess I should be thankful that we are getting any guidance at all. Some families don’t have a computer for their student and they’re even further behind. The district is giving out loaners, but the distribution hasn’t been smooth.
Too much school work
I love our teachers, but I think they are expecting too much. They are assigning a ton of work.
- Daily reading assignment
- Daily math lesson and worksheets
- Weekly writing project
- Science project due in 3 weeks
- Social studies once per week or so
- The kids were supposed to put on a play in April. That’s canceled. Instead, their music teacher asked the student to do their part at home and make a video. That’s a great idea. The music class is actually pretty good for us. We could take a break from academic work and practice some songs together. It still takes time, though. She is also assigning a music project once per week.
- Weekly art project
- The teacher asked us to log into various sites to practice typing, math, and reading skills.
- He sent out some videos for us to watch. We’ll check them out later.
- We have 6 online meetings this week. That seems like way too much to me. The teachers, counselors, and TAs want to be involved, but meeting takes a lot of time and energy. We need to reduce the frequency somehow.
All these school work + technical hiccups + impatient dad + unfocused student = 5 hours of frustration every day last week. We are doing school work from 9 am to 2 pm and we are still behind. By 2 pm, we’re both angry and hate school. The first week of homeschooling did not work out well for us. If he focuses and has a good attitude, we probably could finish by noon. Also, I used to have 6 hours to myself every weekday. Now, I spend most of this time being a teacher. I don’t like it either. I didn’t retire early to become a homeschool teacher. I’d rather do my own things so I guess my attitude isn’t that great. Luckily, the weather is nice so we can go out for a bike ride and play basketball a bit afterward. That improves our mood a lot.
Room for improvement
The second week of homeschooling is a bit better. There are fewer technical issues and we are both trying to improve our attitude. The school counselor gave us some ideas on how to get through these emotional outbursts so RB40Jr is better. Also, I’m trying to be more relaxed this week. So what if he doesn’t finish today’s math assignment. It’s not being graded anyway. As long as he understands the concept and practices a little, that’s good enough. (He still needs to learn to avoid careless mistakes, though. More practice probably would help there.) Lastly, we’ll probably skip a few projects from the other teachers. We’re a bit behind and it’s too hard to catch up. Let’s just skip to the current project.
Anyway, this is a good test run for our year off. Homeschooling while traveling will be more challenging in some ways and easier in others. My wife would be able to help a lot more so I think it’ll be easier for me. She is more patient so it’ll be easier for our son too. Also, we could take more field trips to see the sights. That should be a lot more fun than being in lockdown at home.
Okay, what about you? How are you doing with homeschooling? Do you have any tips for us? Thank goodness we only have one kid. I have no idea how people handle 2 or more kids with all these lessons.
Jim @ Route to Retire is holding up better than I am, but they had more practice. Early retirement with kids is wonderful… but frustrating.
Source: Retire By 40
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