I haven’t written in so long. Not because I don’t want to, but the words haven’t been flowing. There is so much in my tiny little brain that everything gets scrambled and I can barely write or talk. So here is another attempt. Everyone keeps asking for my final “report” on homeschooling.
In a nut shell, I LOVED IT!! I feel like singing it from the mountain tops. It seriously has been one of the best decisions of my life. I am kind of kicking myself for not listening to my gut sooner. I have been contemplating homeschooling for years, but it never seemed like the right timing. God has a timing all His own that is always perfect in the end. This year, was the right timing. When people ask me about the year and why it was so good, I am often at a loss for why it was so good. I know I end up looking like a fool when I can’t explain it well. I am sure so many have lumped me in the crazy homeschool person club. I don’t care, but I really would like to articulate what has happened this year that has made it so joy.
I guess the only way to explain, is to know where we started and where we ended. I was a crazy mom of 4 kids (I still am a crazy mom of 4 kids, but I am happier) with a large age range of children (1-12 years of age). My oldest was going off to middle school and starting to develop all those middle school, pre-teen attitudes. I never seemed to have enough hours in the day to connect with my children. I was constantly frustrated with their school and the ways things were run (I don’t fault the teachers with their large class sizes. I just don’t like the system). Everyday became the same thing. We would wake up by 6 am and quickly get ready for school. I was always hurrying my child up (hurry up get dressed, hurry up brush your teeth, hurry up eat, hurry up get your shoes on, etc…). I was the biggest nag. ThenI would drop him off for school and prepare for the afternoon/evening of nagging. Once he came home from school, the hurrying up game started all over again. It was hurry up for snack, complete homework, get dressed for swim, eat your dinner, take a shower, and finally hurry up for bed. There was no time to just be. Yes, we had conversations in the car, but most of the time it was me nagging. This was just with 1 of the 4 kids. I was nagging the others just as much too. The kids were fighting all the time. My oldest was growing up learning to resent me and his siblings (he always thought they were getting more time with me since they didn’t attend school yet). We were all hurrying through life, but not really learning much from life. We were more checking off boxes and making our way through lists. As we were deciding upon which middle school to send our son to, it became very clear it was time to homeschool. He is a very ambitious child who wanted to learn more than what was being taught in any school and wanted to do more activities then the days allowed. Homeschooling became the compromise for him to achieve his goals. So our adventure began with homeschooling the oldest, sending the 2nd child to regular school and the 3rd child attending preschool 2 days/week.
Having my oldest home was amazing. We were able to cover most of his subjects before traditional school was let out, and he had no homework to do in the evenings that interfered with family time. Instantly, my son changed. He started playing with his younger brothers more (1 and 3 years old). He started smiling. We began to laugh with each other and I can’t tell you how many deep meaningful conversations happened. He always commented to me how much more he was learning at home versus regular school. When he would meet up with his public school friends and hear about school and their life he would always come home thankful to be homeschooled. The biggest thing that I removed from my son’s life was STRESS. It was replaced with a safe environment to learn and make mistakes. He no longer had social drama to worry about when he was trying to learn (oh the social drama we escaped this year). We, I mean my son, soon realized that there still wasn’t enough time to accomplish everything on his list, but he was ok with that. For the first time in a long time he was content.
I joined a Catholic homeschool group. At first it was for my son to make friends, but now it is my life line as well as his. The families we have met are heaven sent. If you have a question about anything, someone has been there and done that! I always get sound advice. People often comment that homeschool kids are “different”. THEY ARE DIFFERENT! I haven’t found it to be a negative, but the biggest positive. I would love to invite everyone to watch one of our park playdates. It is the most amazing thing I have every seen. You will witness children from infant to 18 years old playing in a park. Everyone plays with everyone at some part during the playdate. The older kids help with the younger ones and there isn’t much complaining at all!! My son even plays with his siblings at park playdates and isn’t embarrassed (he was very embarrassed a year ago). Playing isn’t about how old you are or what you can or can’t do, its about relationship and these “homeschool” kids know the value of a person. It’s the most beautiful thing. Whenever I make comments about how cool it is, veteran homeschool moms laugh at me because it is just the norm here.
In this year, homeschooling has given us the gift of time and seeing the world differently. So many moms, kids and family’s are stressed out just like I was. They don’t know that there is a different way. They feel trapped by so many things. This year, I am happy to say I am not trapped anymore. My son is not trapped either. We are enjoying life with healthy relationships being reestablished in and outside our home.
Yes, there were plenty of trying, emotional days. Yes, we missed many of our friends from public school. However, what we gained in the end was priceless. We gained the time to get to know each other better in the midst of teaching the 3 R’s (reading writing, and arithmetic). So, not a bad first year at all!! Can’t wait for next year. We are adding our daughter, a 2nd grader, to the mix. Can’t wait for the new adventure.