Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 11th: Reflections on Homeschooling

This is my spot for personal reflection. It won't always be exciting. My life is pretty dull actually.  If you are looking for something exciting please check my tabs (above). This section is my journal, boring and raw as it is. It might not be what you're expecting, but I'm unashamed.

I need a journal entry today.
Here we go.

My 11 year old is sitting on the couch mad at me because I am daring to be irritated that it has taken her over an hour to do a single page of math problems. I sat with her to offer help and support, but watching her stare at the problem .4 X .6 was driving me out of my mind. I even helped saying "what is 4x6?". Blank stare. I have dedicated endless hours teaching this child her multiplication problems. She knows them. She's a very smart kid. I walk away wondering where her attention is today?

 Meanwhile, child number two was sent off to make his bed and clean up his room. Currently, the bed is unmade the room looks like a toxic landfill and I keep hearing pounding from the room and raised voices. 

Child number three is in the room with him and fighting. She is still in her pajamas. Her breakfast is sitting in front of the couch uneaten.

I have spent the last thirty minutes putting my youngest in time out. Over and over and over again. She was there for saying she was going to "kill" her brother she "hated him" and "wished he was dead". Yes, they are only words spouted out of the mouth of a five year old with no concept of murder, death or the seriousness of her cruel words. Even more reason to drive the point home. While sitting in time out she blew buggers out of her face repeatedly and screamed until my head began to pound.

 Today I have to teach these four children reading, writing and arithmetic. Science and History too. Why do I do this? because I'm a homeschooling mom.

We work our tails off. Sometimes nothing looks done. Sometimes nothing is done. Sometimes we do so much school work that we actually get "ahead" of the Public school calendar and think we've got this thing down. Some days learning flows like a waterfall and sometimes there is a big old log stopping up the stream. Everyday is its own mystery sometimes successful and sometimes draining.

As a homeschooling mom I watch other homeschool moms hush up feeling like these. Frustrations are hushed. Doubt and disappointment are not expressed. It's tabu. We are after all spokeswomen for a movement of Home Education. It should be our mission to portray this lifestyle in its best light, to iron out the wrinkles and recruit more to our blissful way of life.

In this way I guess I fall short of the high calling of homeschooling because I could care less where your kid goes to school.

I do not homeschool because it's easy and fun. It's not. Sometimes it is, but not everyday and certainly not enough to keep someone from throwing in the towel if easy is what they were expecting. 

Homeschooling takes skills that don't come easy for most of humanity. It takes patience, dedication, flexibility and perseverance. If you are doing it for fun you probably won't last long.

Being with your children 24/7 is not always a walk in the park. I don't homeschool because I would be lost without them if they were miles away in a public school building. I love my children, but sometimes I fantasize about them being out of my space for eight hours.

I don't homeschool because I think I'm some genius who has more intelligence then all the teachers in the school combined. Hardly. I went to college and I feel confident that I can hold my own, but genius I am not. I know where to find answers and I'm not afraid to ask. I think this is the key to a good teacher, someone who is still willing to learn.

I don't homeschool because I want my children to grow to be highly cultured in the ways of art and science as I see funding slipping from the public school art and science departments every year. You'd have to be blind not to notice the importance of art and science degraded in our society. I love art and once believed that homeschooling was going to be my way to impart that love into my children. However, art is hard to get to when you have days like today where getting through the three R's is like pulling teeth. If I was homeschooling for the sake of teaching art and science every day I would have failed a long time ago. 

So why do I homeschool? One word. Obedience. 
Deuternomy 6:7 tells me that I need to be imparting God's law and ways into my children from the time they wake up until the go to bed for the night. I can't do that if they aren't in my care for 8 hours out of the day. That would put me on clean up duty and turn me into a maid rather than a parent/ teacher.

I need my children close so that I can teach them reading, writing, math, science, history, art, geography, social studies, languages and a score of other subjects.

I also need them close so I can teach them the things my children are learning today while I'm pulling my hair out trying to teach the formal subjects.
Things like concentration (you can't daydream when there is a task to be done. Dreaming is awesome, but attention is important. A lack of focus can put you in danger at times). Doing math in a timely manner shows responsibility and attention to the task at hand.

Things like kindness (you can't threaten to kill people because they make you mad, it's hurtful and isn't kind. God wants us to love others). You can't speak to your family in a hateful manner.

Things like responsibility (you can't trash your room and leave dishes lying around. It is unsanitary and can attract ants or mice. An unclean room can be dangerous in the event of a fire).

Everything in the day is a lesson big or small and, because God asked for them to be with me throughout their entire day (as evidenced in scripture), I figure he must want me to learn something too. I'm learning patience, grace, commitment and obedience; traits that do not come easy and are full of challenges. They are also full of rewards for the ones who persevere.

I think this awareness and the process of obeying God, especially when it's hard, is exactly what make me a good homeschool mom.

I think their ability to adjust their behaviors, actions and attentions is what makes them good students.

If you are contemplating homeschooling, enter it with your eyes open and for the right purpose.

If you are a homeschool mom struggling through this day, you aren't alone. Obedience is hard. Our struggle is real and we will be blessed because of it.

1 comment:

  1. You brought tears to my eyes...because we are having "one of those days" too. We took a vacation from formal schooling for a little while and are now trying to get back in the swing of things, but life keeps interrupting. I spent almost a week at the hospital with my brother, another day I had to go pick him up and take him home, yesterday I had to take my mom to get her leg ballooned and two stents put in, and today "Mamaw" is on the couch and all the kids want to play with her instead of do their schooling. We didn't even get started til noon because I was having breathing issues.

    But you are right. No matter what, we're teaching character, values, and life skills even if the three R's fall by the wayside for a day.