Homeschool Life With Zé and Vito

Happy Friday Fabbies! It’s been a while since I’ve written a post on “Motherhood”. And actually, today’s post is more about childhood than motherhood, but you will see what I mean as you continue reading. If you read my blog post on how we moved to Mexico a few months back, then you saw that I mentioned that we homeschool Zé and Vito, and have been ‘formally’ homeschooling them since 2017. And I say “formally”, because 2017 is the year that Zé started kindergarten, so that is when Supreme and I began implementing specific lesson plans if you will. Before then, he and I would just teach the kids the basics such as learning to write their names (when they were like 2 and 3), sight words with flash cards, practicing writing their letters and handwriting, and so on:

Why did we decide to homeschool?

For many reasons! First, I have to mention that when we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 2016, we enrolled both Zé and Vito in a part-time preschool. They would go for just 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. Zé was 4 at the time, and Vito was 2, about to be 3. We loved the preschool and the staff, and the kids both loved the school as well. They went to that preschool from January until May, and while the teachers and staff were wonderful, they didn’t really learn anything.

Supreme and I had always discussed homeschooling, because we both knew that we already led pretty unconventional lives. We move often, we travel often, we are supremely free-spirited, and we just decided that doing what’s best for us as family always comes first. So having to continue to transfer schools, withdraw kids from school due to our traveling/moving, just didn’t make real sense to us. Plus, we both knew that if we committed to teaching our kids ourselves, they would learn a lot. I mean shit, Supreme and I are smart in our right! Ha!

But in 2017, when Zé was set to start kindergarten, we still explored the idea of her going to school, because Zé expressed she wanted to go. So we found a great charter school near where we lived, registered her, and gave it try…

Her first day of kindergarten

Ya’ll. Zé was NOT a fan. First let me give you a briefing about Zé: She is wildly artistic. She loves to draw, color, paint, you name it. She loves expressing herself through her clothes, she loves accessorizing, etc. (And I mean, she gets it honestly duh.) When I’m designing shoes, clothes, or handbags, I often make copies on our copy machine of the designs un-colored, so that she can have fun with creating her own version. She has been doing this for years. When we lived in LA, we enrolled them both in an art class for the summer, and while Vito liked it, Zé LOVED it. Since she was about 5 (she’s now just 2 months shy of turning 8), she would stay up late in her room, coloring pictures or “omg I just have to finish this design Mom!” before she went to bed.

So fast forward to her getting ready for kindergarten. We bought her the school supplies from the classroom list, which included crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. Basically, a DREAM for Zé haha. She got all these new art supplies, and was geeked!! After we picked her up from school after the first day of school, Zé was oddly quiet. She was not herself on the way home, nor was she herself throughout the day. After gently prodding and asking questions about her day at school, she seemed…sad. Oh naw naw naw. Our generally happy girl was not herself! Finally, after encouraging her to tell me every single thing about school, she looked up at tearfully and said:

“Mom, they took my markers. They took my crayons…”

Her teacher collected everyone’s school supplies to put into cubbies for later use. And Zé did not understand this. She went to school with her art supplies in her backpack, but she came home empty-handed. I explained to her that the teacher did that so that the students would not lose their stuff, and that there were designated times for her to use them. Well, being at school for 8 hours and not being able to create like she wanted during those times was devastating for her. She got to create freely at any time when she was at home.

She gave it try for 3 days, and after seeing her so sad after day 3, Supreme and I were like fuck this! I went to the school, thanked the office admin, and withdrew her. I told them that we would just homeschool her like we had originally planned, and would re-enroll her if we changed our minds.

We didn’t change our minds. Zé was over it.

She dropped out of kindergarten.

And what do you know, the next day of not having to go to school, Zé was immediately back to being her happy self. So this sprang Supreme and I into action. After a bit of research, we found so many great tools online to help with homeschooling. Specifically, Supreme found a fantastic tool at http://www.education.com, which is a WONDERFUL educational tool that provides school curriculums for grades preschool to fifth grade, that has interactive learning games, worksheets, activities, projects and more. Zé and Vito love it, and so do we. It requires a monthly subscription, but it is very inexpensive and worth every penny. We use that tool, along with a host of other things we find online, such as worksheets, art projects and more. I just love the internet because there is a host of online curriculums for all ages, worksheets, classroom curriculums and more. A quick google search of say, “3rd grade math” will lead us to a world of stuff. It has made homeschooling that much easier and so fun for the kids.

Here’s what a typical homeschooling day looks like for Zé and Vito:

They both wake up at different times. Not to an alarm clock, but just whenever they get up naturally. Vito typically wakes up first, which can be anywhere from 7:30 am to 8:00 am. He usually gets himself some fruit from downstairs, then comes upstairs, brings his toys, and plays loudly in our bedroom or just bugs me until I wake up. Thanks Vito. (Supreme usually wakes up at sunrise to read, workout, etc., so I’m usually the last to get up haha. I stay up pretty late at night too so, yeah, I sleep in a bit.

Zé typically sleeps longer than Vito, and wakes up between 8:30 am and 9:00 am. She does the same thing as Vito: grabs a banana from downstairs, brings her toys to my room and either waits for me to get up, or wakes me up herself.

After we’re all up and at ’em, I go downstairs, prepare their breakfast which is usually some fruit oatmeal, then I make smoothies for me and Supreme, or fresh juice, and go up to my studio to prepare their lesson and answer emails.

Depending on the day or what I have to do as far as answering emails/work stuff/Nonprofit Stuff, we usually begin their lesson around 10:30. While I’m in my studio working or preparing their lesson, Zé and Vito typically are either playing in my studio, or playing in their rooms or somewhere in the house until I call them to get started.

And of course, every day of learning is different. Some days we do a mix of lesson plans and interactive “games” on education.com, followed by worksheets. Supreme or I usually sit with them at the computer and guide them while they are on that site. Other days we spend the whole morning learning a new subject. For instance, this week, we introduced division to them, so we spent a good bit of the morning/early afternoon on Monday going over division problems. Some days, they do crossword puzzles. Other days, they ask us to have the day off, and we oblige if we feel like they’ve earned it. When we are out and about eating at restaurants, riding in taxi cabs, or sight seeing, we sometimes let the kids pay for the taxi ride, or pay for the food, or make requests or ask questions. This totally empowers them and makes them feel like “big kids”, and encourages them to speak clearly and loudly to the adults they are talking to.

Zé paying for her own ice cream in Mexico.

We do our homeschool thing Monday-Friday like traditional schools, and give them off on the weekends. And like I mentioned, they get random days off or “light” days (like doing crossword puzzles or art projects and that’s it) weekly too. We spend about 3-4 hours (if that sometimes) learning. It’s efficient, and it works.

Zé going over sight words when she was 5 years old
Vito was 4 years old here

Zé is technically in 2nd grade now, and Vito is in 1st grade, but they both are doing lessons anywhere from 1st to 5th grade work. On education.com, they both have their own different lesson plans and “syllabi”, but when we do worksheets and projects and such, they’re both typically working on the same thing. Weekly, Supreme also gives them what he calls “Money Tests”, where he gives them math word problems where they learn about investing, earning money, and learning about profit margins. They’re always different, and cater to what they both are individually into:

We feel like this is so important because growing up, kids typically don’t learn about money. A lot of what we learned about money is through trial and error, so what we want the kids to be prepared for whenever they start earning their own money.

I know many of you will ask: “But what about socializing? What about interacting with other kids? Sports?

For extracurricular activities, we typically let them decide what they want to do, or whatever they’re interested in. They both love to skateboard, and have been doing that since they were 3 and 4. They both played on a YMCA basketball team during the winter last year when we lived in Arizona.Vito took karate lessons all summer and into the fall last year, Zé has done ballet and gymnastics (and a little bit of karate too. She’s joined in on Vito’s classes a few times), they both did swimming lessons for about 6 months, and then they’ve made friends where ever we have lived. Before we moved to Mexico, our next door neighbors in Phoenix (hey Ash and Ben!) have 2 boys that are the exact same ages as Zé and Vito, so we would go over to their house often and the kids would swim, go their parties or get-togethers, trick-or-treating, and whatever else. They were the homies for sure. They also made friends with many of the kids in the neighborhood while we lived there as well, so socializing was a part of their everyday life.

Now that we are in Mexico, they haven’t met any “friends” yet, but they interact with kids at the parks in our neighborhood, at the trampoline park, or other kid-friendly places. And event though they don’t speak Spanish yet, they manage to run around and play with the Mexican children. Kids in general tend to speak their own language anyway and that language is “let’s have fun!”

Speaking of Spanish-speaking, I still plan to get a tutor to teach the kids Spanish here at our house, it just hasn’t happened yet hahaha! But we have a full staff at home including a housekeeper, jacuzzi maintenance man and a gardner, and they both speak Spanish to Zé and Vito whenever they come, so they know many words thanks to all of them.

I asked Zé and Vito this morning what they think about getting homeschooled, and this what they said:

Zé: “It’s fun! We learn a lot and we get to stay in our pajamas.”

Vito: “I like it because we learn new things and get to play and plus you’re (talking about me) are a crazy but fun teacher.”

How long do we plan to homeschool? Who knows? I do know that as I grow Raven Collection into a multi-million dollar empire (hehe), and as Supreme’s businesses flourish, life will get even busier, so we’ll have to figure something out. And we do listen to our kids’ requests, so if they show interest in going to school later on, we will definitely look into it. Of course, who knows where we will be living in the world hahahahaha. But until then, we’re doing what works perfectly for our family, so we’re going to ride this wave indefinitely.

And for fun, here are photos of Zé and Vito enjoying their lives in Mexico, which is home for now:

Have a wonderful weekend Fabbies!

xoxo

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