This blog hop idea is pure genius. I’m overwhelmed by how homeschoolers reach out and lift one another up. I sure could have used y’all at this time last year. My insides are pretty much churning remembering the turmoil we went through trying to make our decision about whether to pull our kids from public school or not. I know many of you are in a similar position as I was last year, playing mental ping pong, and basically wearing yourself out. I received a comment on my first post from Brandy, whose little one goes back to school tomorrow, and my heart was just so touched at the memory of how draining it is on us moms trying to make the right decision for our most precious treasures. I’ve decided it would be important for me to tell it all, so here it goes…
Brandy is a former public school employee (teacher), as I was once upon a time, and my husband still is. My first thought about homeschooling occurred when I was taking a post-graduate class. The professor challenged us to make a list of our students, in random order, just as their names occurred to us. We teachers get pretty good at memorizing our class lists in alphabetical order, or by table groups. J So here I was, 31 names into a list of 32 and I sat agonizing in my chair, grieving for the one who I could not remember. How could I spend six hours a day with this child and draw a blank? The teacher then challenged us to look at those last few names, as they were probably the ones receiving the least amount of our attention. Each child was so precious to me, but as I looked my list over, I realized that numbers 1-3 dominated about thirty percent of my time, while the rest divided up what was left over. However, my dream of being a PTA super mom, was very much still alive. You better believe sweet, undemanding, do-my-work-not-cause-any-trouble “Katie” was my first thought daily after that. It was at that time that I began to wonder, “Is my future child worth two percent of somebody’s time?”. You see each child was incredibly priceless to me, but it is just an unchangeable fact that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”.
Flash forward a few years and God has issued me the greatest, sweetest challenge of all, the raising of my three incredible children. You see, my specialty in the classroom was dealing with active boys (they are NOT, in any way, the same as every other student, and cannot be handled the same…more on the revolutionary “every child is unique and has unique needs” principle at a later time...smile). Now, I had the caring of three children with unique needs, and ALL of them are incredibly active!
So one fine August day, my husband and I arrived at the door of the kindergarten classroom with our little world-changer in tow. He was enrolled in the same school I had attended as a child and his teacher was one of my mom’s best friends from high school. We saw nothing but blue skies smiling at us…until we picked him up. He did not love his first day. I was sure it was kinder anxiety and as the year went on, we were assured that he was doing great in school. “Great?” we questioned. “What about his high activity level?” She saw only typical kinder energy. We were shocked. This was not the kid who went from swing, to bike, to swing, to trampoline and got himself ready for bed by doing laps around the kitchen island.
Over time, we began to notice a huge difference in our family life. The little boy who held all his energy in all day, was coming home exhausted and dissolving into tears at the mention of soccer or homework. And, OH the homework! Every mom I talked to had the same reply, “You think this is bad? Wait until first grade!” “You think this is bad? Second is worse!” “I wish my child were back in second grade. Third grade homework is an absolute turning point in the amount of homework they receive.” I could hear the little voice in my head wondering, “But when does he get to be a little kid?”
You see our family life was VERY different now. I was an absolute drill sergeant, issuing orders from dawn til dusk. “Hurry up, out of bed. Get dressed. Finish your cereal, FAST! Don’t forget your backpack, or your socks for silly sock day. Give me a kiss. I love you! Jump out of the car. I’m holding up the line. How was your day? Here, eat this snack. Get your baseball stuff on. Hurry, into the car. Be nice to your brother. Don't talk to your sister that way. We’re gonna be late for practice. Do your silent reading now. Let’s all sit down for dinner. Let’s finish your homework. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair. Say your prayers. Goodnight. I love you.” The memory of that breaks my heart. We were so busy and task-oriented and I… Was… So… Tired… I’m sure my family was, too, but we were all so depleted from the pace we had set that I would drop into bed at the end of the day, barely communicating with my husband. There were too many fast food dinners. Too many nights of ice cream in front of the tv (so I could just be quiet for a bit...is that too much to ask?). Too many snippy comments to the ones I loved the most. I was filled with anxiety, and as I looked around I saw, the family was, too. We knew something had to change. We decided to look into homeschooling.
Oh, how I wish that were the end of the story. I wish I were about to write, “And it was the best decision we ever made and we never looked back.” But, that’s not how it happened and it wasn't my finest moment, friends. I’ll post the rest in just a little bit. I have a feeling the children will require food this morning. J
On another note… Wow! I cannot tell you how overwhelmed and encouraged I’ve been by all the comments you’ve left me. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for the longest time, mostly to have a record of this incredible season in our lives. Never, did I realize, it would lift me up so much to connect with the homeschooling community. You guys rock!