Homeschooling on Island Time
“Island time is one of those delightful double entendres. On the one hand it refers to pace, a certain slack attitude towards the clock. But it also refers to time well spent, away, in a place that refreshes the spirit and cleanses the soul.” – This Slow Life
We don’t live in the Caribbean. Ken has a regular Monday-through-Friday job. We don’t ignore clocks and we do arrive on time for appointments. But things definitely run slower here, and living in a place people come for laid-back vacations is a mighty big change from the hustle and bustle of metro Atlanta.
I. Love. It.
Life here is just slower and that makes it’s way into our daily lives, which of course, includes homeschooling. Some days, the sunshine beckons and we set the books aside. Some days, we do both. Kathryn prefers to do her work later in the afternoon, when the kids are likely to be outside.
Outside time is a part of every possible day, and not just for the kids. The long days of summer allow us to all spend some time on the beach after Ken gets home from work. Weekends often mean biking to lunch, or spending Sunday afternoon playing in the sand.
We’ve made changes since this year of homeschooling began.
Kathryn’s assignments are more about progress than completing X number of lessons. I don’t obsess about completing any given curriculum, and we’ve changed up much of what we started with at the beginning of the school year.
For 9th grade, she’s currently doing:
- Compass Classroom’s Visual Latin 1
- Excellence in Literature’s Introduction to Literature
- Khan Academy math (working on Algebra 1)
- Apologia’s Physical Science
She’s also taking driver’s education and still pursuing artistic interests like crochet and watercolor lettering. Just walking outside allows for some pretty awesome astronomy study; during part of the year we can even see the Milky Way from our driveway! We’re looking into opportunities for some sort of enrichment activities or classes next year that will fit Kathryn’s schedule, but since she still periodically goes back to Georgia for a few weeks at a time, that’s been hard to find so far.
This could be a post in itself, and maybe it will be later, but we’ve decided to send Scout to private school next year. It’s a lovely little school that teaches the way I’d homeschool her if I could give her the perfect-for-her environment. Things like tying living books into their history studies, and doing hands-on science and art, but in a setting with other kids. She is the most extroverted of all my children and she craves much more interaction than I’ve been able to provide. She needs more structure, too; this is not a child who does well with free time. Kids from trauma backgrounds require different parenting, and in her case, I believe she needs me to be just Mama, not Mama and Teacher. I’m glad we’ve kept her home these past few years to help with bonding and creating feelings of stability, but it’s time for a change.
Lately, I’ve been working through Saxon Math with her since that’s what the school uses, and she’s doing well with it. She’s practicing handwriting with Draw Write Now, and she loves that. We haven’t been doing as much reading as I’d like but she’s improving in comprehension, which is the area where she’s most been lacking.
Jem is mostly unschooling right now. He only turned 7 a few months ago and I believe in a delayed start to formal education, even more so for little boys. This article backs that up. Next year, with Scout in school, we’ll dedicated more time to schooling but still leave plenty of time for playing and exploring and Lego-building and skateboarding.
Despite the time we took off at the end of 2015 to move and get settled, I’ve “caught up” well enough with the younger kids to take the summer off. Kathryn will continue to work at a relaxed pace until she finishes the school year — but we’ll all enjoy our first summer of life at the beach.