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.