Thursday, September 18, 2014

Truth About Homeschooling

The beginning of a series: 

Lessons Learned in the Decision to Public School 

Lesson #1

I have something to admit. This is hard. I'm not kidding or being silly, it's hard to say this.

Homeschooling was drowning me.

I realize it now.  I can look back after a month of my kids being in "school" and see that I was letting homeschooling take over my parenting.  I was stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and always behind.  Because of those things, I don't think I was being a very good parent.

Which is funny, because people who don't homeschool think homeschoolers are some sort of super parents.  That's not always true, folks.

I was always worried that no matter what I did, I was leaving something out of their learning.  This drove me a little too much, and instead of overcompensating I would just shut down.

Reading with my kid's wasn't something fun and bonding, it was educational.  Cooking with my daughter?  Math, not fun. Game night? Learning games, math, blah blah. 

Have you seen that Walmart commercial with the woman holding the chart of where she buys her vitamins and when the other woman takes it away from her and shows her the simpler option of going to Walmart she sighs and says "thank you"? That is me, with God, about homeschooling in this stage of life.

I was not enjoying my children, I was educating them. This is NOT the purpose of homeschooling. Homeschooling should bring a family closer, but it was making me a bad Mommy. 

I've been thinking a lot about my parenting lately, and I don't want to be a Mom who's kid's are super intelligent but think their Mom is all work and no play.

Now, not all homeschoolers are me.  I know some amazing ones. Women who defy logic in how well they school and how they love their children. And, I'll be honest, I still think homeschooling is the best option. If you can do it. Properly.

Will I give up homeschooling forever? God knows. Will my kids do one semester, or the next 10 years? God knows. But I know that God is teaching me many lessons through this "sabbatical" from homeschooling, and this has been one of them.

Today, when my kids get home from school, instead of drilling them about homework and what they learned, I'm going to give them cookies and watch the Smurfs with them. I'm going to look into their eyes and see who they are, not what they are learning.

And tomorrow I think we'll have a party. One month of public school (and doing well!) deserves a cake.

And not one shaped like a book.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Verdict is....Public School

I was under the assumption that free public school  At least, mostly free.  My husband handed me supply lists and my mind raced back.....

To a time when I thought it would be OH SO COOL to wear a bow tie and mismatched converse tennis shoes the first day of school.  To the excitement/nervousness of finding out if my best friend was in my homeroom class this year, or would I have to worry about her being somewhere else and leaving me behind.  To picking out my beloved Trapper Keeper....

So, armed with beloved memories, a small fortune, and the acceptance that my kids were, in fact, going to school - we set off.  First day of school outfits, new shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, and The List.  I capitalize The List because it became a proper noun in my mind.  You have to remember, we were late to the back-to-school-shopping game.  The teams had already been picked and we were the last ones shuffling our feet wondering what we would get.... The List was haunting my dreams.  And my mother's dreams (poor woman just came to help with the baby, not suspecting she would have to be around for the rearranging of our worlds...)

I had a two week old baby, I could have let my husband deal with it all, but that scared me a bit (sorry babe...).  Plus, I love school supplies.  I always have, always will.  It's a strange love affair that will find me spending free time at Staples with no clear reason to be there.

BUT, not only could my kid's not really pick what they wanted (COME ON!  I loved picking my notebooks with bright colored Lisa Frank pictures), but everything had been picked over.  The List specified "Crayola" crayons and everywhere we looked they were out.  We couldn't find loose leaf paper.  It was my children, myself, and my mother riding what we affectionately call "old lady carts" at Walmart (we had worn her out) holding my crying two week old baby. We were sweating.  Well, I was.

Even though both of my kids had most of the same thing on their lists, my daughter insisted on doing each list separate of each other because she wanted to be in charge and mark off her own list.

I agreed to that.....for about five minutes.

We dutifully went down the list and purchased the same thing everyone else would purchase, with the one exception of each kid getting to pick their own "solid colored poly folder" for homework.  Yay.

And then the day came.  The kids were so excited the night before that they didn't really sleep.  My daughter, prone to oversleeping (and I mean 10 or 11...) was up and dressed before I thought it was possible.  We packed our lunches, put on new clothes, took the dutiful pictures, and off we went.

Of course we walked them to their class the first day, how could we not?  Our daughter, who the night before asked us to NOT walk her changed her mind and was clearly nervous/excited.  Then we went home.

Myself and hubby, the baby, Gramma and Grampy, all just hanging out at home.....waiting to find out how it went.   It was a good thing I had the baby to distract me or I would have been twitching all day long.

John and I showed up to pick them up, early of course, and realized we didn't know where we were supposed to go.  After asking several parents and finding our way we realized there were clear large signs everywhere and we were idiots.

They came out ...............smiling!  What has become my husband's daily question "On a scale of 1 to 10, how was today" was asked..... and they both said 10!  They loved it!

Of course, the next day they weren't happy when the reality of going every day set in.