Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In the Dumps - Homeschool Update

Okay so I sat here for quite a long time before writing this. Not really sure what to say or how to say it but... I got the school blues! I get so pumped up and have so many visions for the year before it begins. And then the hum-drums set in.

Being a teacher is not my strength. I get impatient, I think of all the other things I need to do in the back of my mind (I run my own business from home - not to mention the cooking, cleaning, pets, errands, bills to pay, etc.), I get tired or just plain don't feel good. Then I start to feel bad that I didn't have some grand activity or field trip planned (seriously don't desire to drag four kids out in the snow at 7-months-pregnant - hurry spring, hurry!!!). I am trying to muster the energy up to even make breakfast, much less plan trips all over the city and state. When I gestate, I hibernate. I kind of pull inward. Don't want to deal with people, don't want to go anywhere. And then I feel terribly guilty. My kids still get out and go places but not as often as I envisioned when we started this voyage.

School time is loud. I'm pulled in half-a-dozen directions. I send Elaina to the couch to work quietly and her brother jumps up there to attack her with hugs and kisses while I'm trying to keep Zoe happy and teach Abigail how to read. I bought Zoe so many manipulatives, books and things for her to do during school time but all she wants to do is fight for attention. I feel myself losing what little patience I have very early on in the day.

The kids lean on their chairs and poke each other and my toddler daughter will reach over and draw a huge line down one of her sister's work. Judah is screaming at me and clutching my leg, asking me for a snack for the millionth time. Zoe chimes in for a snack... then Abigail. Elaina knows better than to prod the Momma Bear and just waits, knowing snack time is at a set time. Then I look over and Judah has toddled off and is climbing up on my desk to grab my scissors (the scissors, stapler, etc. have now been moved to the top of my tall bookcase). I give them a snack for a 15-minute respite so I can actually have a discussion about sea life with Elaina.

Don't even get me started on my "record keeping". I have notes stacked on the desk that I need to input into my tracker (it tallies up all the credits for me). My state requires I keep a record of the school hours and a portfolio of work - at least I'm good on the portfolio. That part is easy!

Instead lots of reading and Lego-building goes on. Lots of little stories played out with dolls and Barbies. When the weather actually cooperates the kids pretend they are making mud pies and running a household and run around the yard getting super muddy and tiring themselves. And those things are nice. Those are more calm moments. But I still want them to learn grammar, handwriting and geography. I am not good at incorporating these subjects into play in a comprehensible sense. Some people have that gift and others, like me, buy self-propelled curriculum in the hopes we can dodge the hoopla of planning every educational moment.

I tell myself it is the first year so be easy on yourself. But I can't help but think that I'm doing it all wrong. I'm feeling pretty down about it and wanting to give up. I read so many homeschool blogs and the moms seem to have it all together. They have fun crafts and experiments planned out and it's just not my thing. Sorry but it's not! Every now and again I'll get the itch and do something totally awesome. But it is rare. I know, I know - don't covet and all that jazz.

There isn't some profound message here in this post where you get to the end where I make a grand point and you say to yourself, "Wow, makes total sense! I feel much better about my own journey!" Nope, this is what you get. All me, all real. I don't have the answers. I'm just honestly not enjoying schooling right now.

I love my babies, so so so much! Don't ever get me wrong there. I'm just painting a picture of a typical day and why I'm burning out. This time is so fleeting. These moments so precious. And I feel like I'm wasting them and that my hormones are wreaking havoc on everything I try to build up in my children.

I see the moms who are dressed and ready to tackle the day the moment their children rise and I'm a zombie until about 11AM. I know the perfect mom doesn't exist. I know this person I have built up in my mind probably doesn't exist. But I at least want to do better and strive to be more like her. Ready, emotionally and mentally present, lessons planned and children content. I don't know what it will take to get there or get closer to there but I'm trying. I'm changing it up, trying to figure out how to make it work.

This is what I'm going to try tomorrow:
-Prayer time is FIRST
-Everyone is going to take 10-15 to go get dressed, brush hair, brush teeth and be at the table for instruction, including Momma!
-Elaina is now going to work at the desk, Abigail at the dining table, for seat work
-Going to set a timer for Zoe for snack time
-Going to talk to Zoe about giving me 10 minutes to get her sisters set up for their lesson and then I will read to her and Judah; will have her pick out books during that time
-Potty break will happen for everyone right before snack time (we will have a first floor bathroom before summer so that will be helpful as they can go alone, they just don't want to go UPSTAIRS to the bathroom, alone)

I think it sounds like a plan! Sometimes writing all this out really helps one come up with new ideas and an action plan. I'm not ready to give up, no siree!


The Mommy said...

I always wonder if I am doing enough...and if I am doing it all wrong! Having designated work and play spaces helped us tremendously. There are always areas that we are strong or weak in, but I have to believe that it will all work ou in the end.

Kaye said...

Hang in there! There are days when I dream of doing what you're doing and then (most days) I realize I would be horrible at it! Good for you for being real for everyone - I'm sure that will help others realize that no one is perfect. Hugs!

Amber Benge said...

Oh, I feel your pain. I think the most profound advice anyone ever gave me about homeschool is this: if you worry that you arent doing it right, you are. The fact that you worry means you care and are intentionally making an effort to teach well. That makes you a great teacher. I can tell you that the first year of homeschooling is hard. It kinda sucked for me by this time last year. But the second year gets easier. By this time of the year, i am slacking some. In the past couple weeks, I have ditched my guilt and my rigid schedule. We start school later andnsqueeze it in when the moment is right. Sometimes we do it outside if it is warm enough. Sometimes we do school in the morning andf sometimes in the evening. That is the beauty of learning t home... You can be flexible and you donthave to follow a rigid routine!! Hang in there. I know you are doing an awesome job!!

-amber @

P.S. i suck at typing on my ipad so sorry for the errors!!

Kelly said...

You can do it, hang in there. There are days I feel the same way. We are doing all we can and just remember to give extra hugs and kisses! You are amazing!