Saturday, 1 March 2014

Calming the chaos


Thanks for taking the time to stop by and check out my blog!

I'm a twenty-something-home-schooling-self-employed-stay-at-home-"stepmother"-of-one - betcha can't say that 5 times fast. Sorry, this is the internet, where all the jokes are bad and recycled.

This is my very first attempt at doing the whole blogging thing, but hey, bandwagons can be fun!

Most of my blogs will not be about me, but rather, links and access to home schooling activities, work sheets and lesson plans. But I wanted to introduce you to the chaos first.

My partner owns his own highly successful and popular hockey training school in the Greater Toronto Area, and just over a year ago, I quit my job in retail to help him manage the school. After a very successful season, the opportunity to bring his son to live with us presented itself, and of course a young adolescent son should be with his father, so we welcomed him "back home" so to speak (before this point, he had only spent summers with us as his school and mother were on the other side of the country). Of course the question of education came up. The boy, K, had attended a Christian private school out west, and wanting to respect his upbringing, we looked into private Christian schools in the area. My partner and I weren't too keen on taking on a second mortgage, or donating major organs, so we toyed with the idea of home schooling.

Now, ironically enough, my original plan was to be a teacher. But with the market saturated with teachers, and a huge wait list in all school boards in and around the Toronto area, I decided not to go that route. But the passion was there! We quickly jumped on board with the concept of home schooling, and with less than 10 days to the "first day of school," I scrambled to get all the essentials and packages, and materials I would need to get K to absorb ALL the information that he could!

Of course, the "education industry" is a huge market, supplying the economy with millions, if not billions of dollars annually. $40 for a math work book; $80 for a science work book; and french, and grammar, and history... EVERYTHING costs money! We were better off putting him in the private school! But I figured that there had to have been a cheaper route... and of course there was - why should I pay for an elementary workbook, when 1. majority of the information is all online via useful resources; and 2. how do I know that the way the information is outlined in the texts, is going to be helpful to K? I know this child better than anybody over at Scholastic or Nelson is going to know him. So, I decided to create a completely custom curriculum. Yes, we still follow the guidelines of the Ontario provincial curriculum, but now, we're not limited to JUST the curriculum, and we can expand on any topic he wants to expand on.

From learning how to do long division, to conjugating french verbs, to the conspiracy theories in Ancient Egypt, I have been able to put together months of work and lessons all for my eager grade 4. Much of the information came from my own research, as well as tailoring activities that specifically suited K's interests. And, after 6 months of this, I have to say that I am quite please with K's progress.

So, this blog is meant to help other home schooling parents in Ontario with worksheets, activities and lesson plans; and also offer a support system for those trying moments. Teaching is one of the toughest jobs out there - and it's not just making sure 20+ kids get the information you're presenting to them, it's also teaching them life skills, developing their personalities. But trying to control 25 rowdy pre-pubescent children should definitely come with hazard pay.

I hope that some of you are able to walk away with something, if not a lesson plan, but at least knowing that if your child doesn't get long division right away, that it's not the end of the world, or that it's totally acceptable to have a field trip to Starbucks because you need the wifi