THE AWP JOURNAL

Amanda Wose is a wedding and portrait photographer serving clients in Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, and beyond.
 Based in Maryland. Available for travel worldwide.

Adventures in Homeschooling!

I can’t believe we’re six months into our unexpected journey into homeschooling! Back in July, I shared that we were planning to homeschool due to the uncertainty surrounding this school year. Now that we’ve successfully completed our first semester, it’s time for a check-in!

How’s it going?

Really, really well! I am so impressed with our curriculum from Moving Beyond the Page. Most days, there is zero whining or complaining when it’s time for school, and Caroline plays an active role in choosing our subjects. At her request, we added an extra unit all about ancient Egyptian history this month!

We just completed our portfolio review with Calvert County last week as well. I was super nervous about this, but we passed with flying colors! It’s really not as scary as I’d built it up in my mind to be. The school system just wants to see that students are receiving regular instruction and making progress!

What does a typical day look like?

Our school day starts at about 8:30, and we’re usually in our pajamas! Before we begin, I review the lesson plan, gather all the materials we’ll need, and clean up the homeschool room if it’s a mess (spoiler alert – it usually is.)

Each week revolves around reading a particular book, then completing lessons related to the book covering an array of subjects. For example, one day always includes handwriting practice with key words found in the book, and another day might be a social studies lesson or a science project. Then, there’s a separate math curriculum as well. Math is Caroline’s favorite subject, and definitely where she’s made the most progress!

The entire homeschool day is wrapped up by 9:30. If there’s extra time, we’ll read a book for fun, practice sight words with our flash cards, assemble a puzzle together, or skip ahead to the next day’s lesson. We also take one day off per week – typically Mondays or Fridays – so that I can prep for the coming lessons and catch up on other obligations.

Field trips and extracurriculars

This has been a tough requirement to fill thanks to COVID, but we made it work! In October, we learned about the plant life cycle and took a trip to Bowles Farm for pumpkin picking. Caroline came with me to vote in November, and waited three hours at the polling place for our turn without a single complaint! The morning of, we learned about the three branches of government and what democracy is. She loved getting to participate and slide the ballot in herself!

We enrolled both of the girls in a weekly art class at Artful Playhouse in Leonardtown, which we loved! Earlier this month, Caroline and Ellie both started ballet at Ballet Caliente, which will fill the physical education requirement and hopefully help them make some new friends and have safe experiences outside the home.

What does Ellie do during school time?

While there’s no actual educational requirement at Ellie’s age, we still want her using that time to learn and prepare for kindergarten! I set Ellie up with a separate educational activity in our homeschool room while I’m teaching Caroline.

If we’re doing something particularly captivating, Ellie will come over and participate with us. She’s also perfectly happy doing something on her own for a bit, such as working on ABCmouse or in her own workbook. She’s always in the homeschool room with us during school time, what she does is up to her!

How has it been juggling all the things?

Honestly, it’s been easier than I thought it would be! I hired an editor last fall to help me stay on top of my AWP workload, and we’ve all fallen into a good rhythm with school and work. The girls know what they need to do when it’s time for school, which is a huge help!

What will you do next school year?

Ah yes, that is the question! While I do greatly enjoy homeschooling right now, I have no plans to do this forever. The commitment is manageable now, but as they got older and the time requirement increased, it’s just not something that makes sense for us in our current workload. If Calvery County schools are open next year and it’s safe to do so, Caroline and Ellie will be going in person!

Any advice for someone considering homeschool?

Just give it a shot! If you’re struggling with virtual schooling, asynchronous schedules, and the constant uncertainty of what’s happening from week to week, give homeschooling a try. As the public school system continually changes plans and reverses course, homeschooling has been such a source of peace and stability for us this year – something we didn’t even realize we desperately needed.

One word of caution, however: a commitment of about an hour a day may not sound like much, but it really does add up over time. That’s a minimum of five hours a week you’ll lose, and if you have multiple or older children, homeschooling could very well become a full time job.

This means you’ll have to give up things that used to fill that time, or even better, outsource tasks that could be done by someone else! Hiring a housekeeper or enrolling in a grocery delivery service are a good starting point, but be sure to weigh these costs when deciding whether or not to homeschool.

That’s all for now! Enjoy a few favorite snaps from our first semester of homeschooling!

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