Here’s our segment today that we filmed a few weeks back about our schooling from the road RV plans. Since taping, we did decide to homeschool the girls versus remote learn. Homeschool means we aren’t affiliated with the school unfortunately, for this year only (we hope).
Harper is going into 3rd, Everly 1st, and Lola would be at a different preschool for Pre-K. We love Harper and Everly’s school. I like being there, meeting the girls for lunch, working in their classes, and just feeling like it’s a safe and happy place for us. Our decision wasn’t because of something our school did or didn’t do, or even about Covid. There were a few reasons that made it really clear to us how much easier our year would be if we made this choice from now.
First, with 3 kids 8 and under, it’s really hard to teach at home. Like, really hard. They’re all still at ages where they require help and in the spring when we were remote, I felt really pulled having to explain lessons to Harper and Everly while also trying to keep Lola entertained, who was a trooper but spend way too much time in front of an iPad. I spent my day bouncing back and forth to help get the girls’ work completed by the end of the day so we wouldn’t fall behind. It felt mechanical, like we were hurrying through to get it done and not like their experiences in their classes, which were collaborative and hands on. There was frustration, tears, (from me too!) and a feeling that it just wasn’t very much fun. It wasn’t the school’s fault, it was just a process that didn’t fit with the ages of our kids and how they like to learn.
I can teach all 3 at once.
What I’ve learned is how there are table subjects, like math and Lang Arts where the girls will all work at their levels, and couch subjects like science, social studies and reading that we can all do together. Even Lola. We can learn science together, go on hikes, talk about what we’re seeing while we’re camping, like this outdoor journal that the girls have been obsessed with doing, and this one called “The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs” which helps you to find water when hiking, know when there’s a storm coming, and navigate your way when you’re lost which I can’t wait to get through. Or even reading George Vs.George to them all at once to learn about both George’s views of the Revolutionary War which is beautifully illustrated. During reading, Lola colors or plays legos or something quiet while we read comfortably somewhere- not at a table or desks. To my surprise, Lola also absorbs what we’re reading as much as the other two.
I’m excited to teach them.
Because I’ve hand chosen our curriculum, I’m actually excited to teach it to them versus trying to learn what lesson has been sent over for them, then having them just get it on the page, or worse iPad (which is always so time consuming because the girls aren’t yet typing). It feels different, there’s ownership there. We’ve been following Brave Writer’s Poetry and Tea since spring and the girls actually ask to do it now. I have always loved writing and want them to love it too. I feel like this is a program where they will build confidence in writing and start to love it. I’m so excited to teach it and write with them every day.
When we’re on the road, we don’t have to wait for their lessons to load on iPads which we might not even have coverage for, so knowing what our lesson plans are in advance is literally what makes schooling on the road doable. Also having the flexibility of skipping a day and making it up over the weekend, or doing it later in the day if we’re out on the water in the morning is easy when you don’t have zoom calls you need to make with your class.
It’s just a year…
This is the magic phrase that keeps me sane. I have no idea why I’ve personally chosen a year as an expiration date for a pandemic, but that’s what I’m telling myself to get through. I’m hoping that next year school is semi-normal, whatever that means and we can return to our school next year. I know this isn’t a lifestyle for us but for this year, we can do it.
And here’s the thing. I’m still sad. We will miss so much about school, our routines and friends, and everything that has become familiar to us over the past 4 years. I also completely understand that it’s a privilege to be able to school our kids, buy an RV, and learn on the road. I grappled with having the crew come to film the segment knowing that so many families are seriously struggling right now. I never want to share stories that will make others feel badly and that’s something I’m constantly aware of. This is why I’m always sharing the struggles too. The truth is, this has been really hard for me. I’ve felt isolated and afraid and just upside down through so much of this ordeal. I feel like I’m playing mental Whack-A-Mole with different worries that pop up. Being able to get away and spend this time with Mike and the girls is the best part of everything that has happened. We have all learned so much and hope to continue to do so.
So while I’m figuring some of these things out, please understand that I don’t have the answers, I’m searching for them too.