In an effort to help new homeschoolers feel confident or perhaps find the inspiration they need, I am interviewing a few families about their homeschooling experience. In this post I am sharing the conversation I had with a Montessori-Waldorf inspired homeschooling family who is currently educating their 4 and 6 year old while they are stationed with the military in South Korea.
When you came to South Korea, you decided to homeschool. What helped you jump into homeschooling immediately?
Before coming to Korea, my kids were enrolled in a Montessori school. I really loved the impact that I saw the environment had on my kids, not just on what they were learning but the calmness that the Montessori culture created for them. When we came here, I was worried that they would lose their love of learning. I felt like my passion was never cultivated and I wonder if it had been, what my life would be like. I don’t want that to be a missed opportunity for my kids. So when I thought about what was important for our homeschool, I knew I wanted to focus on creating the kind of environment that would nurture and support their passion to learn and grow at home.
What is a resource you wish other homeschoolers knew about?
Computer Coding Through Storytelling!
Right now, what do you like learning?
6 year old: Learning math with the golden beads!
Where do you homeschool?
We have a room that we setup in the Montessori style:
What does your schedule look like?
Our schedule is pretty flexible and will vary day to day. In the morning they watch a couple of cartoons and then we come into our homeschooling room to see what we can get done while I have their attention. A lesson will last as long as we have their interest. While we have the full Montessori curriculum, we try to focus on getting at least a math and a reading lesson done each day.
Right now I’m trying to teach my youngest to recognize numbers and working on getting him involved in the activity, but once a child’s attention goes somewhere else there is really nothing you can do. Instead of fighting it we move on. In the afternoon we head outside and enjoy the outdoors.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of homeschooling?
The feeling like we are falling behind and I’m not doing enough for them. At first I was worried if we were doing enough, but I made sure nothing was forced and after a couple of weeks I saw they were actually learning a lot. Sometimes we watch a lot of Netflix and I feel guilty on those days.
Honestly, the biggest part is just sitting back and observing them. Each kid is different but kids will often tell you without words what they need. When we first arrived here in Korea, my son was throwing huge tantrums. It was shocking for us. At first we thought it was maybe because he was having a hard time adjusting to the time difference. It took me taking a step back to observe and see what was actually frustrating him.
What do you feel is the most rewarding part of homeschooling?
Being able to see something they hadn’t done before and that I was here to see it. On the playground they had monkey bars and for the first time ever my son was able to grab on the bar. To watch him confidently hold on and drop off felt huge! Another win for us was when my son experienced a developmental jump by learning to ride his scooter. Somehow learning to ride strengthened the fine/gross motor skills and we saw the benefits transferred to other areas. His temper tantrums immediately stopped and the drooling resolved itself.
Earlier this week my daughter saw the “C’ words and a couple of long vowels for the first time. She walked off with the book and before I knew it-she figured out the rest of the words! It is in these moments that I know that even when our every day plans change, on a large scale it is really these small moments that matter the most. Homeschooling my kids mean I get to be a part of it all.
What is your favorite treat?
Making smoothies! To make it we grab a handful of pineapples, cherries, and strawberries. Then we add almond milk and spinach! Another easy win is to soak cashews for a couple of hours. Then puree them into a dipping sauce for our apples!
Do you have any tips or advice for homeschoolers?
When we see other people succeeding with a curriculum, we think we all need this perfect system. I have caught myself feeling like I need the same curriculum, the exact same materials. But then I realize I already have good materials and I don’t need more stuff to distract me from spending time with my kids. We can get stuck in the mindset where we need to do things in the right way and in the right order. When in reality I think we need to realize we all are doing our best. Our best success comes when we are prepared to change our plans in the interest of our children.