Well, this has been an adventure. When we learned that we would be moving just a couple of months into the school year, and that Covid has placed all European countries on notice for potential distance learning again, we made the commitment to homeschool this year. This was never part of the plan, but then, the ‘Crona has quite a reputation for tossing all plans out the window. Once we decided this was the direction that fit our family best, we got right to work figuring out what kind of curriculum and extra curricular activities we wanted to schedule. That was the easy part. I have since given every single ounce of my time, love, patience, and energy into making home learning fun, creative, and engaging for the kids…and I must say, we are doing great with it! Sure, there may not be any brain space left for me to devote to other things (a pandemic? Travel planning? Chaos in America? A big upcoming move? Myself?) but I think that’s just normal human adjustment to a greater capacity. At some point I expect I’ll be able to squeeze in more time for meal planning (not just lesson planning), self-care, and definitely our move! I’m so thankful these kids are up for anything. We are having all kinds of fun and it has been the best opportunity for us to grow even closer – just as I had hoped. I love being able to see their learning processes and be flexible with my approach. As a former teacher, I’m tapping into all the old strategies that worked in the past, just with three different age levels at once! Phew! It has been a true joy to see their progress so far and watch them blossom in spite of the huge changes. All in all, the things being put on the back burner are worth the sacrifice, if the outcome is this positive.
We are loving the Right Start Math curriculum for all three kids, as well as Brave Writer for their Language Arts and Torchlight for Cultural Studies, supplemented by lots of aps, workbooks, games, programs, experiments, field trips and fun projects. Didi and Beau are continuing to practice their cursive and all three kids have pen pals they’re writing to, which has been tons of fun! We have our own little library that has been a hit – they haven’t been bored for 2 months! Whenever they’re not sure what to do next, they grab a book. I never though I’d see the day! Hallelujah!
We’ve had a lot of fun at weekly PE class with our friend Meryl, the strength and conditioning coach behind Wicked Iron Strength & Conditioning. They’re learning proper form and technique, as well as some great tips to take with them about how their little bodies function. It has been fun to watch their determination in beating PR’s and competing against each other, but also being good sports. Meryl has been a good sport too, as she’s used to working with older kids and adults, but has been very creative in keeping their attention! Thanks, Meryl!
We also try to allow for ample time for the kids to be creative and artistic – and even better if the project coordinates with our “country of the week”! We made La Boca house collages when studying Argentina, painted the northern lights on the week we learned about Scandinavia, made fireworks when we learned about the US Constitution and American holidays, and made mosaic tiles when learning about Morocco and northern Africa. This is definitely one of their favorite parts of homeschool. We have also had fun with science experiments, although that is one area I’m looking for more good ideas!
Didi is tinkering with her new ukulele with YouTube instruction, and Beau has been taking lessons with his new guitar. I’m so impressed by how quickly he’s picking it up and it warms my heart to hear him strumming along. Similarly, the girls have continued with aerial lessons, and although we won’t be able to continue with those in Belgium, we will hopefully be able to practice at home with our hoop and silks. We will look to see what else they can do instead – gymnastics? Swimming? It will be fun to explore! Beau is taking swimming lessons once per week with a friend as well, and it has been a special way for them to connect before we have to leave.
I have been teaching the kiddos some basic French in preparation for our time in Belgium. It has been good for me to have the refresher course, too! It’s been a while since I have spoken French fluently, but I hope it all comes back. They are loving it – and they can’t wait to be able to speak to their Nannie Annie in French!
One really fun field trip was when we met up with a group other homeschoolers and went to the observatory nearby in Bakonybel. There were really nice exhibits about outer space and astronauts, as well as a great planetarium show about the universe! So cool!
Most days the kids have the greater part of the afternoon off to go outside and play, ride bikes, maybe have a playdate, practice for their lessons, or, like below, come up with a project of their own. Beau picked a bunch of apples from our tree and has now processed them over the fire into applesauce three times! He’s such a little nature boy. And the girls love the fruits of his labor!
We had lots of fun at the Bakonyi Adventure Park with friends – riding zip lines, doing ropes courses, and generally jumping, zooming, and climbing all over the place for a whole day. Perfect for a bunch of monkeys!
We know big changes are coming, but we are excited to see what Belgium will be like for our family. We are hoping for a little bit more space (our home in Hungary isn’t best suited for homeschooling) and plenty of new places to explore!