Our intention was for Ire to start school last Fall but we had to get creative and make some changes because of Covid. Homeschooling Ire is an idea that I’ve been battling with for some months now but didn’t feel like I had the patience or qualifications to go through with it. After being encouraged by friends and spending so much time pondering on this idea, I decided to give it a try. Seeing Ire constantly being bored at home definitely had a huge impact on this decision. I’ve been sharing bits and pieces on IG Stories and have been getting really good feedbacks from some of my mama followers over on Instagram. I wanted to do a blog post, sharing my experience so far and the techniques that I’ve been using. To see live action of me teaching Ire, tune in to my IG Story Monday through Friday, here.

My Experience so far

I honestly have to say that teachers are angel in disguise and I have another level of respect for them. I truthfully couldn’t do this job because teaching is truly a gift that I don’t think God has blessed with me (lol). With that being said, it wasn’t as bad as I thought because Ire loves learning and this also keeps her occupied. Before this, she would sometimes cry about wanting to go to school and she still does at times but it has reduced. The most important thing that I’ve learned is that not every day is the same, there are days where everything goes smoothly and I feel like I’m getting through and days where she is restless and doesn’t want to learn. When this occurs, I try to take a little break and also make the lesson fun. There are also times where I find myself getting frustrated and raising my voice at her and this is the part that really gets to me. When this occurs, I stop what I’m doing, try to relax and I apologize to her. I would sometimes say “Ire are you upset with mommy?” and after she responds I say, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have yelled at you, mommy is a little frustrated” and a hug usually comes after this.

Since she is 3-years old and gets easily distracted, I don’t teach for a long period of time. Homeschooling doesn’t exceed 1.5- 2 hours and this is broken down into two lessons. The first part is before nap time and one after. We have an Ikea Easel board that I use to teach her, also love this option. I’ve gotten many feedback and requests on where I got some of my supplies from, I’m going to list some below. I also have a video on YouTube that features most of them, here. The video shows Olu and I setting everything up from the table to the chair etc. Check out the info section for direct links to everything featured in the video.

Overall, I’m happy that I’ve decided to homeschool Ire because of all the benefits and I’ve also started seeing improvements. For me, the major keys are, patience, consistency and making it fun. We’ve been doing this for some weeks now and I’m already seeing improvements.

A Typical Day For Us

8:00am-8:30am wake up

8:30am-9:00am bath and breakfast time

9:00am-10:00am Ire plays with her toys etc

10:00am-11:00am school is in session

11:30am-11:45am read books together

11:45am-12:15pm paint or dance together

Snack Time and she plays with toys until it’s time to nap.

3:45pmish: Wakes up and eat

4:00pm- 4:30pm tracing

5:00pm: This is when I physically clock out and Olu takes over lol. She is allowed to watch YouTube on her iPad around 5 and 6ish until 30 minutes before bedtime (about 1.5-2hrs of screen time).

Teaching Techniques

I write down everything I intend on teaching for the day on the Easel board. The board typically has the date (month, day and year), Ire’s first and last name, age, names of the days of the week (Sunday- Saturday), 1-100 with an affirmation and short bible verse. we go over everything about three times and I’m also teaching her how to spell her name. She now knows how to spell her first name off the top of her head and her last name is next. One of her favorite things to go over is the days of the week because we have a song and dance for it. After this we either have a dance-off or her let her paint. To help with more activities, I bought this book some weeks ago. It had really good review on amazon and has many different activities with coloring, numbers, letters etc. For painting, we’ve been using Crayola washable kids paints and their  washable crayons.

After she wakes up we are meant to practice tracing but I’ve not been effective with doing this. This is the only part I dread doing but I need to get better. I noticed improvements with her tracing when I was consistent with it, so, that is going to resume this week. After seeing suggestions, I’ve recently ordered big pencil with grips to make the pencil holding easier for her. My plan for this week is to start helping her with tracing keeping in mind that it doesn’t have to be for a long duration of time and we will go from there. I’m going to start with about 5 minutes and increase the time as she gets more comfortable. Here is the tracing book we’ve been using, it has really high reviews on Amazon and it also serves as an activity book.

What I’ve learned about homeschooling

Patience: you need lots and lots of this, I don’t know teachers do it.

Routine works: Not every day is the same but I’ve noticed that Ire loves consistency. I homeschool her around the same time daily and she is now accustomed to that.

Repetition is good, this is how children learn. It may seem boring to us as adults but the more you repeat, the more it sticks to their brains

Singing songs is one of the best teaching techniques that some of my followers suggested via Instagram. This has really been helpful with the days of the week because like I stated earlier, we have a song and dance that we do to learn it. One thing to keep in mind is that studies show that music helps strengthens the memory. Ire is also more alert, happy and interested in learning whenever we do it through music.

YouTube: If you have any questions and not sure who to ask, google and YouTube it. You don’t have to be an expert to start, you just need resources and to do your research. There are many great techniques online, you take what is applicable to you and trash what doesn’t benefit your child.

Books that we recently added to our book club.
Bedtime Bonnet: hoping this would encourage her to wear her bonnet to sleep. If you want your child to be very comfortable with their natural hair I highly recommend this book.
Yoruba 101: Greetings: Ade visits his parents Volume 1

Photographed by SMN Studios