10 Jan 2014

Hackschooling as a way of life

We have come to view homeschooling, as a way of life rather than as an educational ideology. The very idea of being with your children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for years, might make many parents light headed, let alone taking sole responsibility of their education along the way too! This notion gave us, goosebumps as well! especially as our son lives life at a 1000 miles an hour and our daughter is emotionally super sensitive and creepily psychic at times (though I am an expert at reading between the lines!). We started on this journey with great trepidation, not having been able to meet anyone actually home educating, made me feel even more uncertain about my impending decision. Waiting to be convinced, was not an option for us, when Mr Curious' well being was in question! So we jumped in, totally unprepared with how to approach the teaching, of the plethora of subjects taught in school.

Mr Curious being his normal self - running with a bouncy hopper
Our lives soon unfolded into bitter sweet moments, we were riding the roller coaster of homeschooling life. We had no experience or advice about how to go about the educational component of his life and now that we all had to be under one roof 24 hours a day, the duty of a mother became almost excruciating. Mr Curious' nature demand, that he is entertained, engaged, captivated, and exhilarated, all the waking hours of his life. Miss Delightful, who is a deeply sensitive soul, was only 2 years old, when we boarded the ship. I have myself, I must say, the propensity to become overwhelmed by my children's escapades. No longer dictated by the clock, Mr Curious made full use of this new found freedom. Sleep, which is certainly very much hated, was relegated to history! He stayed awake for the best part of the night and early morning, reading and reading and reading(did I mention that he keeps alive by reading, that books are to him what oxygen is to you and me? ). Mealtimes were another daily struggle on my behalf, as Mr Curious holds the belief that sitting down for a meal, is when he is wasting precious time of his life, as he could use that time to read, play, run, jump, hop, shout,play pranks on his sister etc and  would continuously do the same while eating. School time, was now debatable, according to Mr Curious, he was to have absolutely no boring content in his curriculum and the meaning of boring was also open to interpretations. The incessant strife with Mr Curious and the demand of a toddler, soon pushed me to the edge! I nearly, I do say nearly ( if you are reading this as an adult Mr Curious!) sent him back to school but the almighty god, who I must say, really loves the naughtiest and cheekiest of little children the most! gave me the strength to keep going for a while longer.

Miss Delightful watching her brother in awe as she normally does
Things soon fell into place. Mr Curious, who by now, was used to being free from the shackles of time constraints, started to seek some kind of flow to his days. His waking and sleeping patterns improved greatly (though not to my expectations- he still sneakily switches the reading lamp on his bed at 11 pm for that book that he can absolutely not wait until tomorrow for), we compromised that he could sometimes read while eating his meals (not in the presence of guest though) and we introduced the use of a timer (I really did not want to! but he asked for it, as he felt helpless at managing his mundane tasks within a reasonable time). With his brain now stretched by the various explorations of his own choosing, Mr Curious' intensity was noticeably more manageable. Miss Delightful, soon grew in maturity and was truly delighted to be spending time with her cherished brother (for she loves him dearly). Our days gradually and consistently improved.

The role of teaching or instructing, that I had envisaged myself taking, never actually took shape. Mr Curious' learning happens mostly by his own enterprise and I provide him with materials and opportunities that I take time researching for. The teaching that I do do is mostly correcting his work and drawing his attention to the mistakes committed, and reading with Mrs Delightful, is one of my weekly activities. Homeschooling had to become a way of life, for it to survive in our home. There is now, no demarcation between school time and home time and if there is, it is too fine a line for us to notice. I have come to look beyond or more aptly, into Mr Curious' endeavours and find astounding learning opportunities where I would not have done so before.

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