Adventures in Homeschooling and Freelancing
By Maricela Trevino
Sitting at the table with the computer in front of me, I glance down at Enoc, 4, and Tobias, 2, doing their “work.” Enoc is working on his butterfly nomenclature cards and proudly exclaims that he found the butterfly’s proboscis. Toby is working on a big floor puzzle that has continents of the world with animal pictures. He starts matching the tiny animal figurines with the pictures, naming them as he places them down. I smile and go back to working on my assignment. Is the homeschooling freelancer life always this perfect? Absolutely not. There are plenty of moments of chaos and lessons left undone. But, two years have passed and I am beginning to experience peaceful moments like this one more frequently.
What do homeschooling and freelancing look like? Messy, literally and figuratively. I would like to say that the kids and I get up early and have a set schedule. The reality is that we don’t. One-on-one lessons are determined by my work schedule, which I rarely know more than a few days in advance. Luckily, Enoc and Toby don’t need me for every lesson. Thanks to my Montessori training, I learned to design meaningful activities that they can do independently. I have child-sized shelves filled with baskets and trays, each with its own activity. Enoc and Toby select what they are interested in, work on it for however long they want, and put it back in its designated spot (most of the time). Sometimes they work together and other times they work alone. They can’t learn everything alone but a majority of their homeschooling consists of self-guided learning. It’s during these moments that I get my Newsela assignments done. When I’m not working, I give them the one-on-one lessons that they need. We read books, do math problems, work on handwriting and try science experiments. Every day is different.
Their learning also extends beyond traditional subjects. Fortunately, my husband also has a flexible schedule and they get to spend time with him learning about mechanic work, carpentry, and gardening. I also believe that my kids learn a lot through our travels. We have explored most of central Mexico as a family. For instance, we climbed the Pyramid of the Moon and navigated through an architectural structure in a subtropical rainforest. Enoc and Toby even learned how to swim in a lagoon where mammoth bones were discovered! We were also able to to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Toronto, Canada for two weeks thanks to the flexibility that freelancing provides. My kids went to the top of the CN tower, saw sharks swimming above their heads at the aquarium and experienced a boat ride across Niagara Falls. Traveling encourages their curiosity and often leads to new lessons at home.
These wonderful experiences wouldn’t have been possible if we had a regular schedule. And, they definitely wouldn’t have been possible without the freedom that Newsela affords me. We love our atypical life. Enoc and Toby are learning invaluable life lessons about independence, flexibility, and the importance of family that they could not get anywhere else. My husband and I are thankful that we get to spend these special moments with our children during their formative years. And, regardless of what life has in store for us in the future, I will always be grateful to Newsela for this gift.
Maricela Trevino has freelanced for Newsela since March 2017. She has an American Montessori Society certificate in Early Childhood Education and an M.A. in Secondary Mathematics Education from Stanford University.
Photo 1: Toby with Sandpaper Letters and the Moveable Alphabet
Photo 2: Enoc with the 100 Board
Photo 3: Sweeping Leaves in Mexico
Photo 4: Surrealist Garden in Xilitla, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Photo 5: Family Trip to Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Photo 6: Gardening
Photo 7: 100-Piece Puzzle
Photo 8: Visiting the Farmers Branch Historical Park in Texas
Photo 9: Digging in Chicago, IL