How we started homeschooling Pt 2
Posted by DAVID BC TAN under: Homeschool on 18 Mar 2014.
So we’re sold on the idea of educating our own children at home. The fun begins! Here’s Part 2 of how we started out as new homeschoolers.
IT’S THE STANDARD PARENTING SCRIPT – if your child is 4 years old you put her in a kindergarten. Not knowing better, that was where Ethan was at 4 years. Now that we had decided to homeschool, we would have to pull him out.
Dropping out of kindergarten
I spoke to the kindergarten Principal on the phone and told her that we had decided to stop. She expressed regrets saying Ethan would miss out developing “motor skills” as there would be contraptions and learning toys for his class in the coming weeks. Erm, yes, but he’ll be fine, I said, thanking her and her teachers.
One weekend after a miserable month in kindy, we told Ethan he didn’t have to go back there when Monday came around. We, his mom and dad, would be teaching him and his brother Elliot at home. Every day was going to be like a holiday and we were going to have fun learning and doing all sorts of things together! We said he was going to learn more at home anyway. The boys were nonplussed. There were shy smiles but no audible cry of relief. Ethan’s wide-eyed expression said it all: Yay!
It amazes me every time I see how trusting young children are of their parents. We offered no further explanation for our conviction except to say that we were in it together. Certainly, the boys were simply too young to appreciate their parents’ crazy notions or the significant turn their life was taking then. Double yay!
Starting out by slowing down
Cutting the umbilical cords of institutionalised learning set us free to take it easy. What joy to spend unstructured time with our children, being there for them, watching them grow! Not having a pile of expensive toys at home, the boys displayed an inventive streak stretching their imagination and making do with what they could lay their hands on. Ethan was like a bird let out of a cage while Elliot was content to play along and do what his older brother did.
Meanwhile, there would be a lot of exploring, figuring out our next steps: we dug into a mountain of information and resources available to homeschoolers online and in bookstores in the city. Like most homeschooling newbies, we were anxious about curriculum and were initially flustered. Sonlight? Alpha & Omega? Bob Jones? Thankfully we were advised by a friend to slow down and put all that aside for awhile. Where’s the fire? It’s okay to try stuff, she said. We made the best of what we could afford and took advantage of public amenities such as the Science Centre and the community library.
New routines for mom and dad
What changed most for us when we started was a deliberate ordering of our lives. We agreed on lines of authority, decided on boundaries (i.e, no TV or computer games on week days, etc), worked on values that meant most to us as a Christian family and as homeschoolers.
Parenting became an intentional discipline. We clarified our roles as mom and dad – Sook Ching would be the primary tutor, while I would do my part to provide leadership, read aloud to the kids on certain nights and tucked them in bed. We were quickly learning that homeschooling works, but parental involvement was key.
Next: Homeschooling one day at a time
[If you haven’t read the first part, click here: How We Started Homeschooling ]
Founders of HOMEFRONTIER David and Sook Ching Tan have two adult sons who were homeschooled all the way until college. Ethan (24) recently graduated and got married to a wonderful girl Katie. Elliot (22) is thinking through his options and will be down under to do creative writing before the year is up.