Thursday, February 23, 2012

homeschooling: now that we’re done, what I wish I would known before we even started

We are coming up on the end of the third week of the kids being in school.  And it seems like no matter what season we are in life it just flies by.  It goes fast, so so fast. 
2011 08 29_0157
But it has been good.  Having some quiet time has been good.  Having time to process life as it comes, time to recharge, time to just be has felt like a gift.  It has been a gift. 
And if this were a progress report I would say that we’re doing pretty good. 
And as I think about my nearly four years of homeschooling I’ve realized that there is so much I wish I had known before we embarked on this journey. 
I knew it was going to be tough from time to time, tiring and stressful.  I also knew it would be incredibly rewarding, as anything born of hard work and tears is. 
But if I could go back and tell myself a few things, well, I would have a few things to say.
I’d tell myself to have a good solid handle on why we’re homeschooling. I know the reasons for homeschooling are vast and varied from family to family, and even from school year to school year.  But as we went through the years I found myself constantly asking “why are we doing this again?”  Having a written down, clear answer sure would have helped at this point.  Even though it wasn’t written I always had an answer that question, until we began the process of deciding to end our homeschool journey.  At that point I knew that something had to change because I couldn’t answer that crucial question.
I’d also have a plan in place for me to get a break, on a regular basis.  As in regular, weekly basis.  I did not account for this; or for that fact that my personality thrives on a quiet, calm, structured environment.  That environment doesn’t really coexist with homeschooling.  Or with three kids who are always home.  To realize that it’s okay to have a break, hire a housekeeper, pay a nanny…something.  Motherhood in itself is hard, adding homeschooling on to that is exponentially harder. 
There’s also the notion of not being able to do it all myself…or even trying.  I don’t know what it is, but it seems like it’s easy for a woman to feel like she can just do it all:  child rearing, house cleaning, school teaching, meal planning, on top of being happily married and maintaining hobbies or fitness.  But truth be told, there are just not enough hours in a day or enough energy in a mom to do all of that.  And I don’t believe that is God’s intention anyway.  Which brings me back to my previous point:  getting help is okay, in fact it is even necessary.
Yes, homeschooling your children is wonderful and because I love education I will always have a homeschooling heart.  But it is hard, and when it comes to a point that it just doesn’t work then you do yourself and your children no favors by continuing on.  It’s not worth the stress on your home and your family.  Because, although cliché, it also true:  if Mom isn’t happy then no one else is. 
I don’t know if we’ll go back to homeschooling or not, for now I’m just enjoying where we are.  And that is what’s important.

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