When we first embarked on this adventure, we had no idea that these terms meant entirely different things.
Our virtual school is set up on a Monday – Friday schedule with a certain number of classes scheduled each day. The kids “log-in”, check their schedules, and begin their lessons. Within each lesson there may be writing assignments, workbook pages, notes to take, and any number of other activities.
For example, this was my fifth graders lesson for language arts the other day:
1. watch a video and respond to the questions
2. listen to a recording and respond to the questions
3. read/discuss pgs 536 – 537 and complete a writing activity
4. watch a grammar video
5. read.discuss p. 176 in grammar book
6. read/discuss p. 181 in grammar book
7. take spelling pre-test and complete p. 85 in spelling book
8. complete quick check for knowledge
WHEW!!!!!! Crazy, right?
When we began virtually schooling three years ago we had no idea what we were doing. During those first couple of months, we tried to complete every item in each lesson during the school day. This method was met with frustration at every turn and I was certain that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Until, that is, I had a very enlightening conversation with a veteran virtual schooler.
I asked how she was able to handle all of this and was flabbergasted by her answer. She told me that she gave her kids a certain amount of time for each lesson during the day and then assigned them their homework.
My first thought was, “Isn’t it ALL homework?”. After all, our kids are going to school at home, right? It was then that I began to understand the difference between “homeschooling” and “going to school at home”. I was trying to get everything done with them like a teacher would, I thought. This wonderful woman reminded me that in a traditional school the teacher assigns homework for additional practice and to re-enforce what was taught that day. I had one of those wonderful “lightbulb moments” myself.
As I began to understand the system, the stress level lessened considerably. Now, the older kids pretty much teach themselves and I guide them. They know what “homework” is expected of them and if they feel they don’t need to do it we discuss it and make a decision together. My 1st grader is still working out the kinks and I am very hands-on with him, but he, too, helps decide what “homework” he needs to do. We also supplement our learning with a lot of fun games, experiments, and stories—
—–but that’s a topic for another day!!!
God Bless 🙂