This last week was one of the most challenging weeks I have ever faced as a homeschooling mom! It was not idyllic or joyful, nothing went as planned, the kids were bent on completely ignoring everything I said, my house has been chaos. I have lost my patience, I have felt like a failure, I have been discouraged and at my whits end. I have questioned if this is worth it and if the kids wouldn’t be better off at school. If there is a rock bottom to hit as a homeschooler, I’ve reached it. Have you been there? Are you there with me?
Reality Check: Homeschooling is not easy!
Have you ever seen those moms who just seem to have it all together? Their Pinterest page is full of all the fun and creative activities they do with their kids. They don’t allow TV or screen time, they keep their home and homeschool their kids and teach Latin, art, violin, piano, music theatre, soccer, and more! They are the poster of a happy, healthy, thriving homeschool family and you hate them. You hate them because you want to be them but every time you are with them you feel like an utter failure. If they could just see your house, they’d be mortified. If they knew you only did school one day this week they would be aghast. Art? Pshaw! You can hardly fit in the fundamentals of school let alone electives! Your primary form of learning is “life”. It isn’t what you thought it would be and you go to bed feeling defeated.
Survival. There are stages, days, moments where THAT is the name of the game. For some people, homeschooling is a breeze. Their child is a little keener who loves bookwork or mom is a patient, creative person who is good at thinking outside the box or their kids are all school aged. For others (ahem, insert name Rebecca here) homeschooling is a toddler screaming in your arms, a preschooler throwing a tantrum because you aren’t paying attention to them, kids crying that they are overwhelmed and don’t want to do their school, everyone goofing off and playing every time you leave the room. UTTER. CHAOS. Right now I am officially in the gutter of our homeschooling life thus far.
Homeschooling: When you are ready to quit.
Confession: I have threatened, on occasion, to send my kids to school (homeschooling mom’s everywhere gasp in shock). That’s right, total idle threat happening up in here. It’s not all the time, but it happens. This last week, however, it wasn’t idle. I was literally at the point of wondering if I was making a mistake. Every time I turned my head my kids were laughing and playing with toys, throwing paper airplanes. Then I’d come down and yell and do a question and try to go finish changing that diaper and the SECOND I got up those stairs I would hear it start up again. I tried separating them, I tried sitting in the same room, they stared into the distance and still didn’t finish their schoolwork by 5pm. I was done. Maybe my kids would be better off with someone else. They’d listen to them more I think. They’d do a lot more school than they do with me I bet. A teacher would fit in the stuff I don’t: fine arts, field trips, etc. I was crying, the kids were crying, I was trying to imagine what it would be like to just be done. I’d get the house clean, I’d have time with my littles, I could see a lot of positives to it.
But I could hardly bear the thought of losing my kids, and I would lose them. I’d lose sharing all those moments with them, they’d lose relationship with their siblings. They would be gushing about their teacher and their class. They would want to have their friends over and wouldn’t want to be with their family as much. They would be gone all day and have homework to do in the evenings. They would lose a lot of their innocence. I wouldn’t be able to watch them with their friends all day and talk them through everything. I came to my lowest point and gathered my kids in close and just cried.
I realized that education aside, my kids learn SO MUCH just by being home with us. More importantly, they DON’T learn so much that they would in school in a class with their peers. Reading and writing, grades and national averages aside, our family is learning and growing together every day! The value of homeschooling goes FAR BEYOND the bookwork. And while some of you may be homeschooling in order to give your kids a better, tailored education… I realized that that is not why I homeschool my children. It is not the most important thing to me. I compare myself with the Pinterest moms, other bloggers. I try to keep up with the provincial standards (which I am required to do). I feel so much pressure to make sure my kids are “educated” the same as kids their age. I want to do all these things and yet with my children the ages they are, tornado toddler and pip-squeak preschooler I simply CAN NOT do it all. I can’t!
Every family is so different. I can’t tell you what will work for you. But I do know that you can NOT compare yourself to supermom in your co-op. You need to figure out WHY you homeschool, what is your ultimate goal with homeschooling? You HAVE HAVE HAVE to take into account your family dynamics. Do you have young children who are hanging on your legs? When you’re in the “pit” don’t lose hope! Raise the white flag and call a Pro-D day! Have a bath, drink a glass of wine (or coffee) and take some time to do some soul searching. Yes, there is a HUGE cost to homeschooling, it is STUPID hard people! And anyone who tries to tell you it isn’t is lying. But think about the cost to putting your children IN school. What kind of schools are around you? What options do you have? What will your children lose? What will you lose?
The Value of the Gutter.
That’s right, the value of the gutter… In 4 years of homeschooling I haven’t fallen so far or so hard. But as I sit here, licking my wounds, I also have been forced to evaluate what homeschooling means to me and my family. You see, my personality kills me, if I can’t do it perfectly I just want to give up and go home. But the reality is, I can’t do this perfectly! I will NEVER be able to “master” homeschooling 5 children. There will be good days and bad, but it will be far from perfect. If you are coming to my blog hoping to have someone who has it all together tell you how you too can achieve this “perfect balance” you’ve come to the wrong place! I’m right there with you sister! And the balance that worked yesterday most likely won’t work today!
And oh my word friends, prayer prayer and more prayer! I mean you’re in the gutter already, on your knees… turn your eyes to the ONLY person who truly understands your soul and can help show you HIS purpose for your family!