Thursday, March 21

homeschooling: you're you, I'm me

If you homeschool, chances are that going against the grain is part of your nature.  Eyebrow raises, puzzled looks, and the shaking of heads doesn't shake your resolve.  You've thoughtfully and prayerfully made this decision to teach them at home, wanting the best for your kids.  You aren't making a statement about their kids, just yours.   
 I've been realizing lately, that no matter how against the grain and free we feel we are, sometimes we're still stuck.  Stuck in the how-tos and should-dos, they-dos, and the fail-tos. 

We dive into homeschooling and think it has to look one way, or like everyone else's way.  She has her kids in art lessons.  Maybe I should too.  I'm depriving my little Monet the opportunity she deserves.  And they are involved in drama.  Maybe our kids are missing out, and will never thrive in life if they haven't stepped foot on a stage.  Oh, what have I done.  I'm ruining my children. 

 Did you dream about experiences you wanted to have with your kids when you started out on this journey?  Do those things.  Maybe it's sitting on the couch all cozy-like, with Nickel Creek playing in the background while you read Little House on the Prairie.  Or maybe that sounds drab. That's great!  We weren't meant to be the same - just because we like that sort of thing doesn't mean you have to as well.  You have permission to be you. 
What if your vision for you children's education was a 64 count box of brand-new Crayola crayons?  Would they be neon?  Glitter?  Skin-colors?  Primary?  Orignal? Gem tones?  Let's say you chose neon, and were passionate about neon.  You get excited planning, dreaming, reading, and buying - all centered around neon.  But then you looked around and all the people you know chose boxes that were the original multicolored box.  No one you know chose neon.  Would you begin to add a regular Red and a Green to your box and throw out Laser Lemon or Atomic Tangerine?  Sometimes we do that for fear of feeling unnatural or to blend in a bit.  But we don't need to. 

Us women are unique. God made you unique. Therefore, your homeschool will be unique.  Thank goodness for that.

I may not understand your love for Atomic Tangerine, but I can respect it, and trust that you are doing what you feel is best for your family. And you may not understand my Wild Strawberry.

Why would an expression of what's in your heart come out looking like mine? And likewise?

As we're nearing the end of our 7th year as a homeschooling family (8 if you're counting preschool), I'm now comfortable in my homeschooling mom skin.  I even own homeschooling stretch marks.  Oh, how it has stretched me!  We do what suits us around here.  Our family is different in makeup and dynamic than any other family I know - so shouldn't our homeschooling makeup and dynamic follow suit? 

We've had three major problems crop up during this school year.  And I saw how badly we were in need of change.  It didn't matter what anyone else did in their homes - this is was we needed to do.  Or else mama was going to jump off the proverbial train.


Our problems were as follows:
  • We were trying to start school at 9:30 am like we  have through the years, except this year it was chaotic and headache inducing for me.  Our startup time was smack dab in the middle of Emmalie waking and needing to be fed, Gabi and Levi waking and needing breakfast, and me getting flustered because I couldn't be everything to everyone at the same time. 
  • In January, we moved Gabi and Levi into the bigger kids' rooms to sleep so Emmy could move out of our room.  It has been a wonderful change; but from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm, the big kids were not able to spend any time in their rooms due to being upstairs for breakfast and school, and then kept out of their rooms during toddler naptime after lunch.  They were seriously missing some room time.  And I was seriously needing some space. 
  • The other problem we were having was that it was cRaZy around that 9:30 am time slot.  The toddlers were fed and ready to whoop and holler and  Emmalie needed her mama - and mama needed to be starting things up with the bigger kids at the table.  It was loud.  It was nuts.  Sometimes I got loud.  And I went nuts. 
Here's how we solved our problem:

  • We kept 9:30 am as the standard to which all chores and breakfast were done and over with.  But the four bigger kids were then able to have one hour of free time down in their rooms.  During that time I hang out with the three youngest in the kitchen and living area.   Sometimes I return phone calls or get something done, or sometimes I just sit with them.  At 10:30 am, I put Emmalie down for her first nap and that's right when the kids arrive for school.  It's brilliant for us and is not a crazy time of day anymore.  It solved all three of our problems in one fell swoop. 

 We've thrown normal and expected out the window in exchange for sane and peaceful. And I like the view from here.

6 comments on "homeschooling: you're you, I'm me"
  1. Great for you, Amanda! This is Bethany Davis, I am friends with your cousins in Oregon, Anna and Ellie. You are doing fabulous! I think change is in order for everybody from time to time, even me, who doesn't like change so much. Thanks for sharing.
    In Christ,

    1. Bethany! I've missed your comments! :) Thanks for always being encouraging.

  2. P.S. I have days that I get loud and nuts, and I'm not even married, let alone have kids yet. I think every Mom has a right to get loud and nuts from time to time. I think of all the times that I was the cause of my poor Mom's anxieties. May God forgive me, I'm sure I'll get loud and nuts on my own kids someday:-)
    In Christ,

  3. Good, good! Love this! I like the view, too!

  4. Lesa NixonMay 23, 2013

    Beautiful! I love that we all have differences. I think that makes life interesting. I'm glad God had such a vivid imagination when creating the world, and each one of us. It kind of helps us accept one another. Thanks for sharing! : )


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