Before homeschool: some observations.


above: Tyler at his desk in the new homeschool room we set up for him and Micah. They are so, geek level, excited about their “Ikea classroom” and have already started to decorate above their desks with things that inspire them. sigh… man, I love these kids.

……….

Isn’t it fun when you have no idea what you’re talking about, but the internet lets you publish words as though you’re an expert? That’s what this post is. It’s my little observations about homeschooling life before I’ve even begun. If these are the things I’m already learning, dear Lord, help me for what lies ahead!!!

More than ever, I am convinced “It takes a village.”

It’s who you choose to be that village that really matters. There are plenty of choices in the Homeschool community, ranging all the way from extreme “unschooling”, believing life is the only classroom necessary (I heard recently about one such family whose twelve year old doesn’t know how to read yet because she just “isn’t interested in it.”) to conservative doomsday preppers who believe children should be sheltered from the sinful world and taught only the King James version of the Bible. It’s a mad world out there, y’all, and I am finding there is a lot of freedom in not adopting any kind of extreme homeschool label. I’m doing my best to make choices that fill the boys days with curriculum that challenges and excites them, and involvement in events and classes that make them happy and don’t dominate our family calendar. I’ve met and talked to some great people in our town lately who are energetic, smart, and respect the work we are doing here enough to offer helpful resources. Since making the big choice, I’ve reached out to at least fifteen people so far for help and advice and I plan on continuing to cultivate our little “village” here.

The struggle is real and will continue to be.

And so are panic, anxiety, and depression. Confession: I am not the vision of Supermom that I picture in my head. Not even close. A more appropriate superhero name for me might be something like Whimsical-and-tries-sometimes-but-also-real-selfish-and-gets-emotionally-overwhelmed-a-lot-mom. I do my best with my boys and I love them like crazy. But I also have a tendency to withdraw, to be quiet, to have silence and solitude. As a dreamer and developer in our business, I also get wrapped up in, and carried away with, projects. I love a quiet room and a good book or a space to sit and dream and with loud boys running around all the time, those moments are hard-earned. The thoughts of even less time carved out each day for myself scares me. It’s been scaring me for years and it’s been the primary reason I resisted the urge to homeschool these boys until now. I know it won’t be easy. I’m trying to be okay with just feeling shitty and saying lots of prayers on the days when it feels hard. Either that or buy a ticket to Mexico.. I haven’t decided yet.

Then again, I surprise myself.

While having some space, listening to Chopin and trying to peck out a few words on the keyboard to write something, Micah runs in to tell me, “Mom! Our math curriculum just arrived!” and my heart skips a beat. Who am I? I used to think of myself as a detached mother when it came to what they were learning about in school. It was easy to do because, as kids growing up in a French immersion school, everything they brought home was in a language I don’t read or speak. This homeschool thing is something new. Maybe I am not the detached parent I assumed myself to be but I just couldn’t find my role as an active participant. I have a clear role laid out before me now and every new choice we make in that direction makes my heart beat fast.

This isn’t the norm.

It’s not been easy to find a large contingent of parents who are homeschooling middle schoolers. Actually, as I study homeschool organizations and groups, it appears that many moms have pre-school aged children or older infants/toddlers and are calling raising their kids “homeschooling.” I think this is silly and they should stop that. right now. It’s called parenting. It’s called being a mom. And those titles are packed with enough purpose, burden, and glory on their own. I’ve spent some time lately looking at local groups to hopefully find one or two homeschool moms who are in a similar life stage as me and my boys. And I’ll be honest, this is where the “no social media” thing is a major achilles heel because it turns out there are a million and a half homeschool mom groups if you’re just willing to log into Facebook. I am not. So I am having to hack my way around this inconvenience and write emails and make phone calls and trust that the benefits of being off Facebook far outweigh this one downfall.

Life goes on.

Speaking of hacking, our website was hacked a couple of weeks ago. I don’t understand hackers at all but I am realizing lately just how tricky and slippery virus codes are. Our work and business site have been completely compromised and I am in the position of probably looking at redesigning the entire site from the ground up. Very little, if anything, is salvageable. Talk about rotten timing? Also we need groceries, the laundry doesn’t stop, Jeremy and I had a fight yesterday because marriage is hard work, Zion is about to start at a new school just had another seizure, we have doctor’s appointments and client appointments and work events and tickets to buy and classes to write… In other words, life goes on! It doesn’t stop for homeschool and homeschool doesn’t define life. I think I am going to need to remember those words, lest I become one of those women who fall prey to the “homeschool is my life and my identity and my love and I can’t have a conversation without talking about it…” mentality.

Here’s the bottom line..

Even though it’s easy for me to be a brat and make blanket judgments about others and their methods or choices or ankle-length denim skirts, there’s so much I just don’t know about this new world we are venturing into .. like, 99.9% of it. Being an obsessive researcher with an insatiable curiosity about things I don’t know can only change that to a point. To really “get it” I have to do it and then I have to suck at it and then grow in it. I’m making my peace with the steady learning curve from the beginning and accepting that I will do some things right, I will do some things wrong, I may really like certain parts, and hate others. There will be days when I feel like supermom and days when, at 11am I say, “It’s five o’ clock somewhere..”” .. And all of that is totally, 100% normal and okay. I’m going to do my best to be on my own side, to be kind and gentle with myself and my boys. Because at the end of the day, homeschooling is just that – what we are doing for school this year for 2/3 of our kids. It’s not the point of my life, it’s not my life’s greatest calling, it’s not parenting, it’s not a cause to campaign for or my life’s goal. It just is what it is, and I’m still trying to prepare myself for whatever that means.

We start next Wednesday. I think. Maybe.
My friend Jaclyn recently told me I get to call the shots on this whole homeschool thing.
I’m still trying to figure out if that statement is too good to be true.

wish me luck,
ash

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kelly So exciting, Ash! Starting on Wednesday already? You crazy. 🙂 I only think that because our schools don’t start until September 7th around here. Cheers to homeschooling!August 15, 2016 – 12:38 pm

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