We’re nearly done with our first week of school – virtual public high school for my new freshman and our first year of homeschooling my 6th grader. It’s been a tiny roller coaster of emotions for me and probably the kids as well.
The first two days for my son mostly involved figuring out how to connect to his zoom classes and waiting for his teachers to actually post the right zoom links, upload assignments to Google Classroom and respond to emails.
Today was his first day of classes that almost resembled what “normal days” are going to look like for the foreseeable future. A mix of logging into video classes, completing assignments as they were posted, and still finishing before 3pm and disappearing to play video games while the rest of us trudged on. Basically his life is looking very smooth sailing for the time being.
As for my sixth grader, we kicked things off on Monday with a field trip to Cave of the Mounds (we invited her brother and the hubby since they both had the day off) where we explored the cave, learned about how it was formed, and got a sluice kit and panned for gemstones. Why yes, exploring a cave with masks on while trying to avoid other people was weird. But the kids had a great time so I’m going to call it a win for first field trip of the year.
The rest of Monday was spent doing science experiments (read: putting Mentos in Coke to watch the chaos) and starting our heath art, music curricula.
Tuesday was our first full book day and personally it walloped me over the head. I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I was practically calling for smelling salts and have a Scarlet O’Hara style meltdown about never cooking dinner again.
Then my amazing husband told me to order a pizza, calm down, and remember that the first day was going to be hard because we’d never done it before so we were still ironing out kinks and getting used to the curriculum. I also eventually remembered that I’d purposely done literally every assignment side by side with my little trooper so that I could be certain about which subjects I was comfortable calling independent work.
So after scarfing some pizza and grumbling to myself, I looked through the assignment planner and marked every assignment that I felt she could do on her own with little help from me. Then I followed the advice of literally every homeschool mom I’ve been stalking on YouTube this summer and sorted our schedule with all the independent work clumped together.
So Wednesday morning we did all of the other stuff and then after lunch was… you guessed it, the independent work. Being a smart, clever eleven year old, there was a lot of independent work. But she handled it like a champ and I was mostly only needed for keeping her on track, answering a few questions and grading assignments as she finished them.
Today we did it all over again and had pretty much the same results. It’s still been a long day as far as total time committed, but at the same time we aren’t even starting our schoolwork until 9am and my daughter seems to require a lot of wiggle breaks, cocoa making, granola bars and dance parties in the middle of assignments. And she’s finishing the day in good spirits. And my afternoon can be spent cleaning, cooking dinner, reading, preparing for future lessons or playing Angry Birds or whatever. I could probably even go to the grocery store.
So overall, I’d say so far so good. I like the curriculum we chose, my daughter seems to be enjoying herself but also learning and working hard, and I even managed to make dinner the last two nights without being sent to an asylum. So – win?