Lessons I learned from homeschooling my 3 kids over 13

Ja Mendez was a teacher until 2010. A mother of three, June and her husband decided to homeschool their children – a decision that changed their lives.

“Yes, I was a teacher but physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics were not my forte. I was an English teacher,” begins June, who is often told that “homeschooling became easy” for her since she was a teacher.

June made this decision when her eldest daughter, C’estlavie was in class 6, her son Zeus was in class 5 and the youngest, a daughter, Tenzin was in class 2. well in school or having difficulty doing face. I was looking to give them access to healthy education and experiences,” June tells The best India.

Even though June was a teacher herself, the idea of ​​home schooling was not one.

Learn important life skills.

She says: “I had studied in a boarding school and the experiences that I accumulated there remain special for me. So I wasn’t sold on homeschooling the kids and not allowing them to have those moments. It was June’s husband who came up with the idea when their eldest daughter was just starting kindergarten. She adds: “I was against the idea at the time because I didn’t think I was well equipped to take on such a huge responsibility.”

June began to notice that her eldest daughter and son were soon caught up in the desire to excel, not learning along the way. “I watched my three children turn into clones. I felt they were slowly losing their individuality and that was something I didn’t want for them,” says June. The joy of learning began to wane and the children just completed tasks to tick boxes. “They were spending so much time in school and at home doing schoolwork that they didn’t have enough time for themselves to enjoy the things they were passionate about and discover new passions without deadlines or schedules. “

“I didn’t want my kids to fall into the same rut.”

school at home
Spending time with his father.

“With the kids being dragged into the rat race, I found myself falling into this trap as a parent as well. I felt like I was becoming a typical pushy parent wanting my kids to be top of the class, finish their work on time, etc. Wanting to get out of this rut, June says the opportunity to homeschool has presented itself as an ideal solution.

June also recounts how she often found her youngest, then in Class 2, staying up late trying to finish her homework and then having to wake up as early as 5 a.m. to finish it. “I didn’t think a class 2 student had to be under so much stress,” she adds. June was clear that this cycle had to stop.

Since each child is in a different class, June says it wasn’t easy, but it was certainly an interesting experience. “We all grew together in this process. My biggest learning was to slow down, listen to the kids, and tune in to what would work for them individually,” she says. As June’s husband helped the children explore their creativity and taught them the values ​​inherent in goal setting, from June they learned to understand their strengths and weaknesses and adapt their learning styles to what suited them.

This homeschooling process came with challenges and highlighted some of them, says June: “At first, I was so wrapped up in wanting to do things right that I almost ended up doing everything. go wrong by designing my own system. I had schedules and timetables for everything – a well-planned schedule that I had to follow and it wasn’t until my husband pointed out to me that I was running a parallel school at home that I realized that I offered the same experience they were getting at their school.”

After the initial few hiccups, June says she saw how well each child adapted to the new way of learning. From playing various musical instruments to exploring their artistic side by painting and spending time reading, June believes her children have flourished.

Learn with children

school at home
Tenzin after a tennis tournament.

While C’estlavie and Zeus are only a year apart and have a lot in common, June says that for Tenzin initially it was a slight problem. “She missed having friends and that’s when I introduced her to books and pen pals. Both of which she took very well. She made friends with people in the world and it’s helped her see things in a very different light,” says June.

Like all other school children, June also had her own set of rules for children. This included a fixed bedtime and a healthy dose of discipline that was part of their growing years. “There was a structure in what we were going to do. We didn’t have a time breakdown of the day, but we knew broadly what would be covered on any given day. We learned a lot by watching documentaries and even with hands-on experiences. “Learning by doing” was our motto,” says June.

In moments of frustration, June says she would run off to her room and stay there until she felt calm. “I would make it very clear to my kids that they need to stay away from me for a while. It would generally help me feel better. It’s important to acknowledge all those feelings that one may face during this process. “, she says.

Today, at 23, C’estlavie works with the artistic department on a film set. After being homeschooled for six years, she says, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me. So much of who I am and the choices I’ve made in life stem from the experience of being homeschooled. C’estlavie says that although she felt a sense of nervousness when she entered the exam room to take her board exam, she never let it overwhelm her. “We were given the freedom to explore and learn anything and as we saw fit. That trust Mom placed in me worked wonders,” she adds.

Zeus, meanwhile, earned a gold medal at Jindal Global University, where he studied international relations. As a proud mother, June adds, “During his second year at university, he co-wrote a book called ‘Crafting a National Security Strategy for India’ with his professor. »

Tenzin is currently evaluating several interests that await him.

“Children will thrive if given space,” says June.

June tips for parents considering homeschooling:

Children painting the wall
Paint the station

1. Believe in the step you’ve taken – It won’t go smoothly, but it will eventually work.
2. Allow your children to explore as many avenues as possible – Eventually they will figure out which way to go. Otherwise, you as parents will realize their strengths that will allow you to give them better direction.
3. Don’t worry about exams or curriculum – Allow learning to be fun. Teach your children to be independent learners and success will follow.
4. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries – Sometimes kids need a steady hand. However, don’t overdo it. If you want to set boundaries, stand firm and lead by example. You can also reward them from time to time, but teach your children how to earn these rewards.
5. Most importantly, let go of preconceptions – Every child is unique, so what works for one family may not work the same for another. Your journey belongs to you.

(Editing by Yoshita Rao)