Aug 31, 2008

schooling my young

We just finished the first week of homeschooling. IT has been a tough one. Not because it's hard to homeschool. No, I think it's probably easier to teach a child one-on-one about concepts like addition and geography and language arts, than it is to teach them not to lie, not to tease their sister, and to pick up all their toys.

The problem is the schedule. With this homeschooling, it's all day non-stop. I'm never not doing something. There's no kick-back-relax time until the kids are stowed away in their little bunk beds. And even then, my baby has been going strong lately, until around 9:30, and I'm so exhausted at that point that I fall asleep in the middle of whatever movie or discussion or whatever "us time" that skywalker and I attempt after they are asleep. I have been thrilled to get to know the other homeschooling moms in the area, and to realize that we CAN get everything school-related done by noon, and have the rest of the day for Emma to play or do whatever she wants. She likes this I think. She misses her friends, but her friends aren't really from school anyway. She's got one best friend who lives a few miles away, some friends in the ward, and she play with her little sister (when she's not teasing her mercilessly.) And then there's the homeschooling group that she's getting to know better, too. We had a rousing activity at a certain local beach, and she loved it, right up until the part where she lost her bracelet in the water. We came home in tears. Sigh.

I have just been feeling so washed out and unmotivated this weekend. I keep thinking, why am I doing this? Why??

I went to church today at 11:00, with family in tow. We got there and suddenly realized, our church starts at 1:00! I nearly crumpled right there on the foyer. We went back home, put the kiddoes down for a nap. And then I slept until 1:20. WE got there late, and spent the half of sacrament meeting that we made it there for, in the foyer, with the toddler running around screaming, the baby demanding to be nursed every thirty minutes, and the six year old doing her best to slyly egg the toddler on in her misbehavior. I thought to myself, no way. This is not going to work. Not unless I can find a really good motivation... to be this tired.

Today in Sunday school, we watched a video (it was joint Sunday school the third hour) that the county put out. About prescription drug addiction. I perked right up. I love the topic of addiction. Not love it, as in, I like addiction. But it is something I'm passionate about. There was such a good message in this video: addiction is a disease. Treat addicts with compassion and support. Reach out to them. Take prescriptions carefully. Throw out the ones you're finished with so that you don't tempt others (including your kids) into abuse.

And it was interesting. As soon as I was willing to listen, the Spirit flooded into my heart and gave me the message He was probably waiting to give me all week. One of the commenters, an adolescent addiction specialist, talked about why children have addictions. She said that kids are under a lot of stress once they start school. They worry a whole lot. They worry about flunking out. They worry and worry and worry about their grades (or they decide not to worry, because it's too much for them). They worry about "fitting in" to a particular group.

It evoked memories I had forgotten, of my own childhood, my own school experiences. I was so stressed about school. I was. All the time. I got so scared, I screwed up. I would accidentally forget stuff. I would second guess my test answers. I didn't do very well. I realize, looking back, that this was why... I had a pathological fear of failure.

I also thought about my own peer situation. I was not the kind of girl that bends to peer pressure. The group of kids I went to school with were into drugs, or cheerleaders. So I had a group of two other friends. Everyone made fun of me for whatever reason they could find. I had one boy tell me once that I was a "dog" and he'd never date me. (I didn't invite the refusal.)

Is this the way a kid, with the moxy and the wherewithal to resist peer pressure, should be made to feel about her social abilities, about herself?

A resounding no.

I suddenly realized that I am homeschooling because I think that my kids deserve for me to be their teachers, they deserve for me to nurture their learning in a kind, loving, individual-centered way, and not the cold, dry system of testing and textbook regurgitation that we currently have.

Until my kids have the emotional maturity to handle the stress of the world, unfiltered and unsoftened by my influence, I'm not sending them out there alone to sink or swim. I plan on sending them out there before they leave home, yes. They need to have the skills to survive before they're away from my guidance and influence.

But six years old is not the age for that. Seven isn't. Eight isn't. Thirteen isn't, either. This I felt, powerfully, as I sat in that classroom. I'm so grateful that my husband feels passionately about homeschooling, and got me to look into it, to try it, because now that I am open to it and really understand why I'm doing it, I realize that I wouldn't be happy any other way.

Still, I could use your prayers for the next little while (if only for my children's' sake... a sane mom is a much nicer mom.)

Thanks for listening.

12 comments:

Putz said...

here i am too boulster you up...i have always known you to be tough, so i don't worry about you , your kids, and skywalker, your husband...i think of you as one of the most complete persons i know, so i think your kids will be winners in ths project..

Marie said...

I happened on your blog from Mormon Blogger. We have a lot in common. I remember your story in the news and I wished that it would have been my husband who got caught for that because then my children and I would be safe. Still, I'm sorry it happened to you and I'm glad you are happy now.

Anyway, I homeschooled my children for four years. You will NEVER regret it. It was the best thing I ever did for them. Hurray for you for doing it! The first three months are the hardest, after that you adjust, loosen up, and figure out a schedule and it isn't as hard.

Allison said...

Congratulations on making it through the first week. Hurrah for sanity, and hurrah for a couple of days to rest. Maybe next week will be easier, as you get into the routine. Some days/weeks will always be crazy, just because that's the way life is, sometimes. But you've done this before, you know. And it will be OK. And, you get to choose. If, sometime, your situation is such that it's just too much, you don't HAVE to do it anymore.
I'm praying that you will have the peace and calm you need to get through, and that it will become a joy to you. Love, MOM

Fred said...

Welcome to my teaching world. Best of luck...it isn't easy and may even be harder than my job since you have to master more subjects.

Putz said...

was that beach nerar ganwabi. in central afkanistan????you are stilling claiming to be from there aren't you????

cheriemartin said...

It's fun to see your family too! It's a nice way to peek into the lives of people I haven't seen for a few years.

merrilykaroly said...

I feel like I was traumatized by junior high. I wonder if home-schooling might be right for my kids, too.

You can do it!

Lucy Stern said...

I think you are going to do fine, home schooling your kids. You will develope a schedule and things will come together for you. New things are almost always hard until you learn what you are doing. Good luck and Stay Strong.

Jayne said...

Your post is interesting in a lot of respects. One of my daughters and I kept the other daughter's three children (all under 5 years old) so that she could go on a little romantic weekend jaunt with her husband.What an adventure it was to keep up with three active little ones! I'd forgotten how wearily overwhelming it was to feed, clothe, nurture, discipine, listen to, guide, tell stories to, etc. children. That said, I'm sure you'll get the hang of homeschooling as soon as the pattern or structure kicks in.

Anyway, we got to church at 9:15, 15 minutes late, and my daughter asked, "Is it even worth it? Why are we still going?" We trudged (yep, that's the right word), found places near the back of the chapel (cultural hall actually), and from that moment on, we learned so much and gained such peace that YES, it was worth it.

Putz said...

AT LEAST YOU ARE SCHOOLING YOUR YOUNG AND NOT EATING YOUR YOUNG LIKE SOME ANIMAL GROUPS DO

Ben said...

What a great post. My wife and I have also joined the homeschooling ranks this year for many of the same reasons. We've been at it two weeks, and while it's a huge change, it has been so rewarding.

I've taken on the art and Portuguese lessons in the evening when I get home from work to give my wife a break, and the thing I like best is that it gives such a natural opportunity for praise. As a parent, we all know that we need to let our kids know when they do a good job, but it gets hard sometimes in the day-to-day. I've found that in teaching school to my kids that it's really easy to say "good Job", "that's right", "I'm glad you remembered" and so forth.

So when things get hard with the schooling, remember that in addition to helping your kids with their academic progress, you also have a great opportunity to improve your family relationships.

Nate and Rebecca said...

Good luck with the home schooling. It does sound like a lot of work, but I have thought about trying it for our kids sometimes (when we have kids, at least). I can totally relate to your "peer situation" in school too...it is pretty mean out there. So, I think it is great that you are trying the home school thing, and I hope it goes well for you and your kids.