This is my mid year assessment of homeschooling my 5 and 3-year-old sons, the first year. If you stumbled upon this post without reading Part One, 5 Reasons Why I AM Digging this Homeschool Life. Check it out here.
A 27 hour road trip, regardless of how much you prepare, will have it’s good and bad and even ugly moments. Stretches of one road can have an amazing view while another stretch along that same road becomes isolated and uninteresting. Well, this is the stretch of homeschooling that turns a beautiful scenic road trip with a friend into a pain in the butt.
5 REASONS WHY HOMESCHOOLING IS A TEST OF ENDURANCE.
1. THE FREEDOM: What freedom?!
I can remember after having my second child and becoming a “stay at home”, sneaking away to a quiet empty bedroom just to hold onto a thought. I remember thinking how unnatural it is to never have a moment to yourself. Well, welcome to homeschool. Non stop action and noise. Once my son’s heads hit their beds, I tell them Mommy is off duty. I will be available for cups of water and long-winded questions about birthdays in the morning. Although they are amused by this declaration, it’s my feeble attempt to carve out time to myself.
2. FLEXIBILITY is necessary whether you want to be flexible or not.
It’s home-school. My home now has a dual function and the lines are easily blurred. Things do not always go according to well prepared, thought out, brilliant plans. Besides being kids, they are MY kids. Instead of a teacher, they see their mommy which means I get tested in ways a stranger may not. They see their toys, their kitchen, their food. And yes, all of those things are tools for everyday learning. Yet, distractions abound. Because of the home dynamic, I have to make room for adjustments to take place moment by moment, lesson by lesson. Let’s not mention the younger sibling, in my case, the preschooler, who subvert all lesson plans longer than 5 minutes.
3. THE COMMUNITY of opinions, ideas and advice can be overwhelming.
I love to read other homeschooler’s experiences but I have had to narrow my daily or weekly intake to 2 to 3 bloggers that fit into my homeschool model. I branch out to the others when I need to research something in particular. It’s easier on my brain that way.
4. PERSONAL GROWTH: Education is in the eye of the beholder.
The word “school” has become a reason to “hem and haw” even from the comfort of one’s pajamas in one’s home. I made the error of associating “school” with sitting down and being still to a child who can barely sit still in his sleep. He is turned off by the “school” part as a result. I set out to inspire a love for learning and may have done the opposite in my first 6 months. UGH!
A friend asked my son during a park visit, what part of school he liked most. My 5 year old’s response was a stunner. He said, “The part when it’s over”. Incredulous! Yes I took it personal. That’s the downside. There is no one else to blame. It’s all me. I am his teacher. I am solely responsible for how he views school. I wonder often how to engage my sons creatively while still personally trying to break free from the traditional school structure I’ve grown up with.
I have yet to crack the code on what will make their home education more exciting and inciting. I also grapple with the idea that every part of school will be fun and games. Part of a full education is understanding some things are tedious but must be done. Right? Although I want my son to wake up each morning excited to practice piano and to take on reading lesson in the ways that I present it, I know I have some work to do in this area. My approach, experience, educational goals, my son’s personality and the circumstances surrounding his discontent is always under evaluation.
5. SPIRITUAL GROWTH: A battle zone.
The burden of raising children can be daunting by itself. Then to take on homeschooling too, in a land where traditional school is often hailed by the majority as the best and only option, is doubly intimidating. Yet, here I am. Self doubt and all. Fears come a’ knocking quite a bit trying to poke holes in my confidence. Am I doing enough?
In spite of the onslaught of attack on me and my children and husband, I have to labor to rest in a God that I believe equipped my husband and I to pour into our son’s lives, teach and train them up in spite of our shortcomings. They will be just fine– better than fine. Like most promising investment options, we will just have to wait until they mature before we can see the fruitful return God promises. In the meantime, I will trust.
I imagine most of this list is first year problems. First year or twenty-first year, what has been a constant test of endurance on your homeschool journey?