This is the second year my wife and I (mostly my wife) have homeschooled our two older children. They are currently in grades 6 and 2. Here’s a snapshot of what I call our homeschool pomodoro lifestyle.
First, what is homeschool? It does not mean teaching your children anti-social tendencies along with math and reading alone in your basement. Homeschoolers don’t have to be weird or particularly intellectual. Some are, but so are some kids in public school. For us homeschool means learning in a community based on families instead of one based on classes and age.
We are part of a group called the South Delta Home Learners. We chose that group because it is big and active. The group, along with our church, makes up our kids social and educational world. They do swimming lessons, choir, scouts and all kinds of special educational events with these same people. These are the friends they play with. They know all the parents and the siblings. Some they call auntie and uncle. The line between education, recreation, friendship and family is blurred.
What’s a Pomodoro? It’s the Italian word for Tomato. It is also the name of a productivity system named after a tomato shaped kitchen timer. Check it out at www.pomodorotechnique.com. The pomodoro system is based on focused work for short periods, followed by breaks. The idea is that by doing this you will be much more productive than if you work straight through the whole day. I believe that’s true. Our experience of homeschool is a lot like the Pomodoro system.
Every morning the kids eat breakfast and begin their work. They focus for an hour and a half. During that time they get ready, dress, brush teeth, make beds, read their bible, do their chores, and do all their Math, Reading and Writing for the day. What?! Only an hour and a half? Yes, that’s right, in that amount of focused time every day they can easily keep up with provincial learning objectives for those subjects.
After that their days are different. Sometimes they play the rest of the morning then go to a friend’s house. Sometimes they have structured activities: swimming, scouts, music lessons, church groups, etc. Anyone who went to public school, like me, would think their schedule is remarkably free. Every Thursday we take a rest day, as I have written about here. Our entire family essentially does nothing for whole day.
So far the results of this homeschool lifestyle are fantastic. The kids like school and even enjoy the subjects they don’t like a little. They keep up with school and are able to spend lots of time having new experiences and doing what they want. They have more friends than I ever had growing up and these friendships are of a different kind. They are friendships between families. We focus hard, then we rest and play. I am not suggesting homeschool is the only way, just that it can be pretty awesome for some families.
by Isaac Whting
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