Ever considered homeschooling your child? We asked Shiang-ling Bissonnette to write a guest post about her decision to home school her children and their experiences with homeschooling. Enjoy!
For us the idea of homeschooling came with the choice to completely change our lifestyle. Admittedly, I was that parent that was semi removed from my kids education. I assumed that they had it handled at the schools and I did little reinforcements when they came home. Its ok, I am ok with it, most of the time I was doing everything I could to just survive. With my husband working or deployed, it was mostly my responsibility… for the kids, house, my business and trying to take care of myself. I’d check homework, but shoot sometimes I didn’t even remember how to do it or know what they wanted me to do. It was a defeating moment as a parent and adult.
Why We Choose To Homeschool
This January my husband returned from his last deployment and was involuntarily separated very quickly ( you can read more here). There was an immediate need to figure out so much so fast. While we were navigating through the options we just felt broken by the cycle we felt our life was in. Work to live and squeeze in experiences when we could find time or money (which both were sparse). After evaluating our lifestyle and realizing we wanted to travel and experience more adventures as a family we decided to do a skoolie conversion and live nomadically. Obviously one of the considerations of how to logistically do this will all 4 of our kids was how were we going to educate them.
What we love about homeschooling
We will control the curriculum.
Today’s classrooms are overfilled and under resourced. Teachers are even paying out of pocket to try and provide the materials needed to create a full curriculum. The reality is the teachers are overwhelmed and doing all they can, but that also means kids are not getting the one on one assistance needed to ensure they are properly absorbing the lesson. Now we are able to go at our own pace and ensure that they are learning and not just memorizing content for tests.
Freedom to learn differently.
Both my husband and I love learning new things and researching the unknown. We’ve both traveled around the world over the years and have an appreciation for the submersive and adaptive learning style. I traveled more in my youth while he travel more as an adult and both of us feel the experiences are humbling (we both went to under-developed countries) and feel that exposure to the unknown and new will be healthy character builder for our kids.
At first I was looking at this experience as if I had to duplicate how they were learning in school, and that was what I was trying to get away from. We frustratingly attempted two weeks of a schedule with back to back classes and it was awful, I put so much pressure on them, myself and my husband trying to teach them the traditional way.
Then Hurricane Florence decided to come crashing into NC. Around day 3 of no power and living off grid (kind of like a trial run to bus life). They were learning, maybe not the way that we are all so deeply aligned with but they were learning a ton. How to prepare for/ track the storm and understanding terminology, how to stay positive and push forward after a natural disaster. They learned to cook over a charcoal grill, start and clean/troubleshoot generators. We taught them and they have first hand experience living off grid for 5 days. The did problem solving, physical activity, games, reading and we got to watch them become closer and care for each other just a little more.
We spent most of our time together whenever Johnny was home, but he missed a lot over the years due to deployments, training and everyday military life. So we are excited to create the opportunity to just spend time and experience things together.
Currently, we decided to take time to “deschool”; evaluate the kids and getting everyone used to our new lifestyle. We have the opportunity to go deeper into what our kids want to learn, how they like learning and how we can support them. We have 4 kids and they all want to learn different things and while we will ensure they are meeting grade level learning we want them to explore and expand into more life skills that will help them succeed as adults.
Alexis (10)- loves animals and enjoys learning about different species, loves singing and wants to songwrite and learn an instrument, she wants to restart her clay charm business (she will be making some of thebhivefamily merch). Enjoys baking and cooking and is very independent.
Matthew (8) - He is our practical applications/ hands on/visual learner. He likes building, tinkering with electronics, fixing things and helping Johnny fix/work around the house. He’s a man's man and enjoys learning new skills from my husband. Engineering and STEAM classes are up his alley.
Chloe (7) - This inner unicorn kitty loves My Little Pony and I love that her mind is still in imagination land. She loves to do work, it doesn’t really matter what the task is, she is always trying to just help. Homegirl will bleach clean the entire kitchen if she hears me mention needing to clean before dinner prep. She learns a lot of life skills right alongside of us. She is still kind of figuring out what she likes and wants to learn about.
Jacob (4) - The baby sponge. This kid LOVES PJ Mask and the iPad. He started out earlier for sure playing on electronics and with a healthy dose of outside play this kid is intelligent and intuitive. We will be working on reading this year and handwriting but he knows most of the basics taught for Kindergarten already.
Our goal is to raise intelligent, thoughtful and considerate humans that can be a benefit to their community and not a burden. I stressed out SO much overthinking how I was going to teach my kids, because I don’t want to mess them up! Now that I have spoken to other parents that are homeschooling/roadschooling/worldschooling/unschooling my fears have dissipated. I’ve begun to understand that we are breaking away from the norm and that learning is going to be more of wholesome and about experiences!
Shiang-ling Bissonnette - a dedicated entrepreneur and passionate mother. With headstrong motivation she raises four remarkable children and maintains a successful business. Her well rounded personality leads her to friends of every facet. She finds joy in the little things in life and love for her family.