Some parents who are considering homeschooling or are just starting homeschooling are worried that their children will not be getting the best un-interrupted learning time with the younger siblings running around and making noise and all that. Or that the children will not have their parent's undivided attention.
Well, to that I have to say, first of all, homeschool is different from school school. All our expectations of what "school" is supposed to be and how teaching and learning is to be conducted- most of the time were learned from our own schooling experience. But I cannot expect to have the same kind of "structure" and "class room management" that needs to be practiced in a class of 30 - 40 kids who are all the same age.
There are really so many stories I've read of homeschoolers who were schooled under less "rigorous", by our standards, styles of teaching and learning and yet they excelled in their studies. I think, somehow, we've been ingrained with this idea that educational success somehow must involve a great amount of pain and bitter hours of silence at the desk. hahaha...
There was one homeschooling family in America I read about. In the summer months, they spent their days outdoors, enjoying the sunshine, doing loads of projects and experiments. In the winter months, they zipped through their books and written assignments but it was very fast and easy for them because they had already learned it, hands-on, in summer. See?
One family did a set of subjects for half a year, and then another set of subjects for the next half a year.
I mean, there're so many ways. We in Singapore only think teacher, copious amounts of worksheets, and loads (and loads) of time sitting at a desk. We produce educated zombies.
For me, I now have two official students (aged 7 and 5) who have work that needs to be done and marked and recorded. And one un-official one (aged 3) who does some tracing and colouring when he's up to it. He does like to visit the shelves of story books we have available for them in the schoolroom. And one "hang around-er" (aged 1) who is a cute distraction. Oh yes, baby likes to look at the pictures in the books too!
We all understand that and work within in this reality. Sometimes it can be frustrating and no. 1 will shout "quiet lah!" (rememer, my children are fluent Singlish speakers.) Or I'm in the middle of teaching something and I have to clean someone's poopy diaper. But the fact is, the kids are progressing in their school work just fine and we feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
And anyway, learning time is not only confined to time at the books or even in the school room. One afternoon at lunch, the kids asked me what was this supplement I was taking and I launched into a mini lesson about bones and joints and how glucosamine can help to strengthen the joints. All very naturally. All waking hours. It's our way of life!
So, please stop and smell the roses and don't worry too much about the schedule. With the heart and mind to work, we'll get there. :O)