The town we live in started off the school year with two options: a hybrid model of two days in school and three days remote, or five full days of remote.
As you know, Number 4 (9th grade) is away at boarding school. She is super fortunate to be having full, in-person school.
That leaves Number 3 (10th grade), Number 5 (6th grade), Number 6 (5th grade) and Number 7 (4th grade) here at home.
Number 3 and Number 5 are both doing the hybrid model.
They go to school two days a week and have distance learning the other three days.
Number 3 is in high school, and he is able to switch classes and eat in the cafeteria (at desks spaced 6 feet apart).
He much prefers to be in school. Aside from having to wear a mask all day, he is pretty happy with how things are going.
He does not love the remote days.
Number 5 is in middle school, and the kids are not allowed to switch classes as they normally would. She spends the entire day in her classroom. Even for lunch.
Middle school begins in 5th grade here. So to go from being able to switch classes and have some independence last year to being stuck in one room for the entire day and having to wear a mask is not fun for Number 5. She is really not enjoying being in the building.
She does enjoy being home for distance learning and being able to get up and move around and eat lunch with her siblings who are also home and to go outside for a decent stretch of time when she would have lunch.
But the online school is super boring for her.
So she’s not really loving either one.
Because I know how Number 6 and 7 would be with 1) wearing a mask all day and 2) having to sit in front of a computer for 5 hours a day, they took a different route.
I am homeschooling them for the time being.
I was a 4th grade teacher for 6 years and a 6th grade teacher for 3 years.
So I’m super familiar with everything they’d be learning in traditional school.
It’s no secret that I’m not a major fan of the direction traditional school (even pre-COVID) has taken, so for me this was a no brainer.
I’m fortunate to be my own boss and have a flexible schedule and be able to do this.
It’s definitely an adjustment and a challenge to schedule everything so it works.
But we are figuring it out.
In our first week we did a mix of some really traditional stuff and some holistic, integrated, unschooling.
We worked on place value in math and we started on some good, old fashioned map stuff because one thing I learned when I was a teacher is that nobody knows where the hell anything in this world is.
(Also, if we’re gonna be totally honest here, I had no idea there was now a 5th ocean 😳)
The kids really like working up in their room where they have one whole wall that’s a chalkboard, and they like writing on that.
So we do some more traditional math on the chalkboard.
Number 6 likes working at his desk.
Number 7 loves to be able to spread out on the floor.
We are working on spelling by playing lots of hangman right now.
We do that upstairs in their room sometimes and other times we do that in the kitchen.
The kids and I take turns making the puzzles.
When Number 7 makes the puzzles the words usually include bodily functions and they make no sense.
You know, like
Poop is chunky and farts LOL
We are still spelling.
On Friday we took a field trip and went for a hike.
Along the way we discovered a fenced in (or out) area with this sign:
We talked about prefixes and the difference between enclosure and exclosure.
The stuff the kids learn usually learn about in school at a desk was made more clear in a real-life context.
We collected leaves so next week we can learn about the different trees that are in our area.
I will ask their dad who is a carpenter to show them what lumber from those different types of trees looks like and talk about the differences in the types of wood and why some are better than others for building different things.
And equally as important we got some fresh air and exercise and just had a nice time outside.
It’s a serious juggling act with everything else that is going on in our lives right now, but I am really enjoying being back in the “classroom” with Number 6 and 7.
And they are really enjoying it, too.