I can’t believe I’m saying this but we are already 6 months into our homeschooling journey. Two terms down, half a grade complete.
Never say never
If the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that we should never become complacent. If you had asked me in Jan last year if I would ever homeschool my kids, I would have laughed my head off and then went home to tell my husband about the crazy question I was asked that day, then I would have given myself a stomach ache from laughing again. Now, I can’t imagine going back to traditional schooling.
It ended before it began
I have been tracking our progress over on Instagram but here’s a little summary of how we ended up homeschooling our girls. When Covid hit, my eldest had just started Grade 1 in ‘big school’ and my youngest had started at a new preschool. It was an adjustment period for all of us as it was a new environment for both girls and it was also the first time in 6 years that I had some free time while the kids were at school. It was a new chapter in our lives and I couldn’t wait to start it.
We pulled the kids out of school in early March 2020 before Covid forced us into lockdown. The rest of the year was a bit chaotic with school starting and stopping but we were fortunate that online lessons were provided for Grade 1. My then 3yo was content to play independently and keep her sister company during lessons. Playdates and lunch dates were the norm for us previously so we were worried that the girls would struggle being at home all the time. Instead, they thrived. There is a certain freedom that comes from not having to rush to be anywhere. Suddenly, there was no need to wake up at 6am. There was no hour-long commute to school. There was no rushed breakfast or anxiety about walking into school late. Instead, we had room to breathe. Room to ease into the day. Room to just..be.
Towards the end of 2020 it was time to make a decision about schooling. The only option that we were open to was homeschooling because we didn’t want to send the kids back to school. Besides the obvious danger of Covid, all the upheaval at schools was just too much. Plus, I didn’t want the girls to live with that kind of fear. And so, we decided on homeschooling. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t happy about it. I knew it was the right decision for the girls, I knew that this would give us peace of mind, I knew that they would not only thrive but that they would learn so much more at home. I knew all of this but I resented the decision. It felt so unfair that I had finally found some freedom, some time alone to pursue my other interests and now I would not only have the kids at home 24/7 but I would also be responsible for their education. ME! I’m no teacher. I don’t have that kind of patience. How would I ever manage this massive responsibility???
Acceptance is the first step
After a while, I resigned myself to my fate. I figured that this was going to happen so I might as well embrace it. And so I did. And now I can say that this has been the absolute best decision for us as a family. The girls are enjoying their lessons. My 4yo old has picked up loads of Afrikaans words and they are learning about a broad range of topics. My husband, my mum and my dad have each picked a topic that they excel at and are giving the kids classes on it. The kids are learning about Business, History and Gardening and loving all the variety.
Aside from the academics though, they have so much more time now. They have time to play without having to be anywhere. Time to explore the garden and do experiments. Time to invent games and play make believe. Time to have a midday nap in a sunny spot or bake some cupcakes. They have time to enjoy being a kid. It’s like time has slowed down for them and I love it.
As for me, I couldn’t be happier. All my fears of being overwhelmed or feeling stifled flew out the window because time didn’t just slow down for the kids, it did for me as well. Being able to watch the kids learn and grow is a gift. Knowing that they are safe and happy is a gift. Having this time with them is priceless.
But it isn’t all roses. The girls miss their friends. They miss socialising. They miss having classmates. From my side, I’m constantly worried about whether I’m teaching them enough and if they are up to scratch academically. I’m not entirely happy with the CAPS curriculum, it just doesn’t feel challenging enough. But I have found the answer to our problem and I think this is going to make our homeschooling journey perfect (from next year)
Have you heard of Wingu Academy?
They are an online British curriculum provider and they offer LIVE classes! The kids can see each other and interact with the other students and teacher. And yes, there’s an actual teacher there so the weight of responsibility will be off my shoulders. I’m fine now with basic Math and English but I’ll be the first to acknowledge that Afrikaans is already kicking my butt so I can’t wait for an actual, qualified teacher to take the reins. Wingu will fill all the gaps for us. They even have Houses for the kids and online social events. It’s like a happy medium between homeschooling and classroom schooling.
You can head over to https://wingu-academy.com/ to book a session with an admissions specialist – they give you advice on the best way forward at Wingu for your child, walk you through the platform & they can sign you up for an exclusive free trial.
One of the biggest weights that have been lifted from my shoulders is that I no longer have to worry about my girls being bullied. This was such a deep seated fear and worry for us as parents and to have this removed is just…unreal. With Wingu they can interact with their friends but in a more controlled environment and I will be around to keep an eye on things as well. There’s also a really great wholistic approach to learning with the Wingu blended learning platform. There is the tradition teaching done with teachers but that is balanced out with loads of simulations and games that appeal to this new tech savvy generation.
Our lives changed dramatically in 2020 and by forces out of our control but I am so grateful for the path that we are now on. Want to know more about Wingu? Check out this post here.
This post has been sponsored by Wingu Academy.