Tag Archives: homeschool

My Experience With Working and Homeschooling

For two years I worked as a physician (as a hospitalist, if you know what that is) and homeschooled. It was a crazy time of life for me, and I didn’t like the chaos. Some of my best friends with kids say that working keeps them sane. Or that it makes them better parents. I kind of wondered at first what was wrong with me. Why wasn’t I a happy and working mom? Or a happy working and homeschooling mom? Was I somehow weak or flawed? Was I just not capable of being a modern woman?

Nah. I know I’m as capable as the next man or woman. But I didn’t want to do it. Homeschooling, “mommy-ing,” and working concomitantly didn’t make my heart happy. It didn’t add to my life. I don’t like frazzle. I don’t like chronic chaos. I don’t like being spread thin. And, notably, I could not make the transfer from work to kids. In some ways, I feel more “man” in this regard than my husband (who is what I call “all guy”), who can walk in the door and be fully vested in us, granting hugs all around.

Not me! Me? Point me to the nearest man cave! After a 12 hour day of work back in the day, I was like, “I’d prefer it if I didn’t see anyone until the Queen (me) has bathed, fully supped, checked her written correspondence, and then, perhaps then, she’ll grant kisses on chubby little hands on their way to bed.”

WHOA! Who wants that woman for a mom? WHO wants to be that woman? Not me! I didn’t like that me! I’m a good, kind, loving, and compassionate mom, and I needed to create the environment that allowed the real mommy-me to shine.

So when people ask me, “Can you work and homeschool?” My answer is, “Of course you can! I don’t want to, but you sure can!” I thought I’d share myself as a case-study for those exploring this question for themselves. Perchance, by seeing some of yourself–or NOT seeing yourself–in me, you’ll be better prepared to answer the question with awareness of yourself.

Yes, this helps…

First let’s look at the properties of my life that allowed me to feel comfortable homeschooling and working for a while:

  • An exceptionally supportive husband
  • Very flexible hours
  • Kind co-workers
  • Only homeschooling one child at first, who was in her early years (kindergarten through about second grade)
  • I kept the curriculum basic and felt 90% free to adapt it to how she learned (which wasn’t how I wanted her to learn…).
  • Living in a warm climate which allowed lots of outdoor time
  • Good friends already in place for my kids to hang out with on weekends and evenings (These friends went to school and were not homeschooled.)
  • A strong homeschool co-op for activities as we wanted them and where we could (and did!) meet new friends when I wasn’t working
  • I sent one younger sibling to a wonderful morning pre-school which she loved, leaving just the baby who still napped, so we could homeschool during morning nap time on my days off.
  • My daughter was young enough to cooperate with some weekend and evening work if we didn’t get things done.
  • My female doctor friends from medical school encouraging me to follow my heart

Mmm. That doesn’t sound pleasant…

Now let’s look at the other side which really began limiting a positive homeschooling and life experience:

  • I was tired all the time and very forgetful. I physically felt bad and wondered what was wrong with me.
  • The part of me that needs alone time to recover was battered, raped, and abused.
  • Work called more and I could give less. I felt guilty because my co-workers were good people who worked too much themselves, and here I was telling them “no.”
  • My kids needed me more and I felt guilty.
  • My husband wanted me and he was last on the list.
  • Physical messes in my home affect me greatly and with me gone working, there were more physical messes.
  • The schoolwork started requiring more time and effort.
  • It just didn’t feel like there was time for the refrigerator to break, the air conditioning to need fixed, fleas to get in the house, doctor’s appointments, sick days—-in general, no time for life to happen.
  • Schoolwork didn’t happen well without me there to guide it or push it along. (I had a recalcitrant student who has now blossomed incredibly.) A sitter or grandparent just didn’t have the same effect as mom.
  • I had a toddler. Toddlers are very demanding.
  • I had a nursing baby.
  • I was perpetually irritable.

Why do I need this?

When working and homeschooling became more than I wanted to piggyback, then I stopped and looked at WHY I wanted to work:

  • I had loans to pay off.
  • Because I had put SO much effort into getting where I was at! Twelve years of my life and tons of delayed gratification!
  • I liked being a hospitalist doctor a lot. Taking care of hospitalized, acutely ill patients is usually very rewarding.
  • Work offered rhythm, constancy, and community. When I walked into the hospital, I knew exactly what to expect. (Yes, each day and patient was different! But the rhythm of the system was the same.)
  • It worked a whole different part of my brain than child rearing and housework, and that felt good. Kind of like a back rub for the brain!
  • To provide a sense of equality with my husband in our household. (I’m a wee-bit competitive.)
  • I felt respected and well-liked.
  • I felt it was a service still being asked of me by my God.
  • I didn’t want to be “just” a stay-at-home mom.

Maybe if…

I often sit around, just for fun, and wonder what would have allowed me to homeschool and work. I think maybe I could have done both if:

  • I had immediate family living in the same town
  • Someone else would have been as good as I was at getting my daughter to do her work
  • If external chaos didn’t faze me so strongly
  • If my life situation necessitated it
  • My husband had a knack for teaching young children
  • The kids weren’t so young
  • I could have lowered expectations in all areas of my life
  • Monkeys flew and unicorns swam

Closing

Many people find my little spot here when they are searching about homeschooling and quitting work. I liked working as a medical doctor, but once I had kids, the same overachieving, perfectionist, benevolent tendencies that allowed me to succeed in medicine are the exact same traits that demanded me to achieve success my way in motherhood. I wish I could have it all: work, kids, homeschooling, a happy me, a happy marriage, exercise, three real-food-meals a day, friends, a clean and tidy house, sleep, a well-decorated house, church, a new kitchen, a dog, a blog, flying monkeys and swimming unicorns.

But I can’t. For me, I decided I didn’t need professional satisfaction or resting on laurels. I did need to keep learning and sharing (so I study and write little articles for this blog on alternative health). I needed to know I could work if necessary or desired (so I keep my licenses up). I needed to know that I was providing safety, security, and a strong psychological, emotional, educational, and spiritual core for my kids (and me!!!!). I needed to have time to foster a relationship with my husband. I needed some semblance of order.

No matter what—I don’t need aeronautical primates or aquatic, horned equines that just don’t exist.

Good luck to you! It’s a “live, studio audience,” so feel free to ask questions or leave comments on your experience.

Terri

Photo attribution:  Sonarpulse. origenal:Huji [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Sixth Grade Curriculum

Adriaen_van_Ostade_007Our school year was fine. I had no fear of gunmen, confusing bathroom escapades, or bullying. Fear of toddler tantrums, maybe, but–not the same, eh?

Each year, I type up the curriculum of my lead child (after we finish the year). I don’t deviate material too much from year to year. Call it “boring,” but I prefer the label of “stability.”

Our Sixth Grade Curriculum

Learning definitely took place, despite my frustration of teaching three multi-level students with a toddler in tow. But check out the painting I used for this post titled The Schoolmaster. I’ve got it good compared to that guy!

  • Math: Saxon Algebra I (Monday-Thursday)
  • Grammar: Easy Grammar and Easy Grammar Daily Grams (Monday-Thursday)
  • Spelling: How to Spell (2-3 days per week)
  • Reading: Abundant amount of self-guided, usually self-selected books (Daily)
  • Spanish: Live teachers (On average 1-2 times per week)
  • Latin: Lively Latin (Monday-Thursday for a couple of months each semester)
  • History and Geography: Lively Latin’s Roman history components, study of the states using The Star-Spangled State Book as a guide, and study of our own state (2-3 days per week)
  • Typing: A computer program called Typing Instructor (Monday-Thursday for a two month block)
  • Physical Education (extra-curricular): Dance (all year) and archery (three-month block)
  • Music Education (extra-curricular): Violin and guitar (all year)
  • Miscellaneous classes available through our homeschool group: Local museum history class, build a toothpick bridge class, science, art
  • Self-led activities (with outside instruction as necessary): sewing, YouTube class, poetry contest winner

I’ll proceed with a few comments about our curriculum.

Algebra I: Saxon, 3rd Edition

We carried over Math 7/6 from fifth grade and finished that up early in the first semester of sixth grade. I then decided my daughter could handle Algebra I if she took it slowly.

She did about half a lesson each day and she covered about 50 of the book’s 120 lessons. We just keep math going on a rolling basis, and we’ll do a few lessons this summer, finishing up the book next year as her abilities allow.

Understanding the algebra concepts was no issue, but retention of the algebra rules and putting it all together was. (Like a child can spell words, but when he or she writes a letter, he or she will misspell even common words.) By skipping a book, I also noticed she needed extra practice in dividing decimals and fractions.

Starting algebra early required that my daughter have great patience with herself and be willing to re-do problems. Her confidence did take a blow because she was used to getting everything correct. It was a good time to reinforce that we are NOT learning for grades but for mastery and understanding.

If I could do it over again, I would have done Saxon’s Algebra 1/2 and just moved through it quickly based on her understanding. Why didn’t I? Because my husband and I both had that book in junior high school and hated it. In addition, I tutored many people in math (Saxon-style) in my younger days and felt confident I could watch for lapses and breaks in understanding.

Note: I saw that the 4th edition of this had mistakes in the answer keys. I’m sticking with 3rd edition.

Grammar: Easy Grammar and Easy Grammar Daily Grams

Easy Grammar makes my life easy. It’s super thorough and super straightforward. We’ve used it for several years now. It’s perfect for us. Stable. Boring.

There are two components I use: the Easy Grammar textbook and the cumulative, short, daily worksheets called Daily Grams. I just buy the teacher’s manual for BOTH the textbook and the Daily Grams. If you think your student will peek at answers, you’ll need to make copies of the worksheets and tests from the books. I love that the program has cumulative review tests and that the Daily Grams worksheets are cumulative.

Spelling: How to Spell

How to Spell is only our guide of what to cover, the order to cover it in, and the “rules” to learn. We tried a computer program for spelling, but I just couldn’t keep up on looking at what she did and finding the appropriate lists for her.

How to Spell doesn’t have enough worksheets, and I usually print off extra worksheets from the internet on each topic. It is not a self-contained curriculum. I just love the way it presents spelling in an orderly fashion with the rules defined as much as possible, and I supplement it greatly.

Latin: Lively Latin

We have been slowly working through Lively Latin (Book 1) for a couple of years now. We start and stop because sometimes other subjects are more difficult and pressing. Sometimes, the Latin grammar seems to be just a touch above her understanding. If I wait, I’ve noticed that her English grammar knowledge improves, and then we can easily move forward again in Latin after she understand more grammar in general!

I have not taken a Latin course, so I do not know the best way to proceed with Latin. The author of this program seems to keep it simple and moving forward, all the while keeping it fun and interesting. It’s full of Roman history, definitely a huge plus! My daughter loves this part!

Sixth and seventh grades seem perfect for this book (although I did start it a smattering in fifth grade), and I do not regret my purchase.

Typing: Typing Instructor

Typing Instructor is a computer CD program I bought several years ago. I’ve been satisfied with it, and the girls like it. I bring it out each semester so they can get faster at typing in a progressive fashion.

Closing

I love questions and hearing about what other people do, even if I stick with my own thing! That way if anyone ever asks me for an idea, maybe I’ll have a suggestion! Share away! Please know that this is OUR curriculum! I, in no way, condone following our curriculum for your child. But I’m happy to answer questions on what we do to generate ideas! Part of what we do now is contingent on knowing what I plan to proceed to later!

Terri

Art attribution: Adriaen van Ostade [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Fifth Grade Curriculum: Math

PicMonkey Collage (1)Oh, are we are at the end of the traditional school year?  Goodie!  We finally, at the end of fifth grade, have hammered out our fifth grade curriculum well enough for me to share.  It’s not original.  It’s not creative.  In fact, it looks a lot like our fourth grade curriculum with a couple of welcome additions, including a baby in the mix.  (So, currently, I have a fifth grader, third grader, kindergartener or kindergartner–whichever you prefer, and 9 month old.)  It has been an interesting, growing year.  Do you watch old cartoons?  A lot of times I felt like Wile E Coyote.  Or Tom.  Or Sylvester.  Yep.  Did.  Just call it, “The Looney (Home)School.”  That’s it.  But at the end of this year, I would be able to produce for the authorities documentation of education in the following areas:

  • BABYSITTING SKILLS
  • Math
  • Grammar/Writing/Spelling
  • Spanish
  • History
  • BABYSITTING SKILLS
  • Astronomy
  • Poetry
  • Music
  • Physical education
  • Lots of silent sustained reading
  • BABYSITTING SKILLS

Onward to Math:  Saxon Math 7/6

We have used Saxon Math since we started homeschooling, and in fact, I used Saxon Math myself as a sixth grader on up till graduation from high school (except for geometry).  Boring and dry–but tightly and thoroughly knit.  My oldest daughter has been steadily working through the 7/6 book this school year.  There have been times when it proved too hard, and we slowed way down.  Then, something clicked in her brain, and it became “easy.”  So all year, we have moved through the book according to her mastery level, not my lesson planner.  Here’s what we do.

  • Start working in the Saxon Math book according to the lesson which best matches skill level.  Don’t just start the book at lesson one, unless that is where the skill level lies.
  • Moving forward through the book is determined by how well my daughter is scoring on the daily assignments.  If she seems to understand and is consistently getting most of the problems correct, I usually pick and choose the problems for her to do.  Or I may have her just do the evens or odds in a problem set.  At this pace, we are moving forward at a lesson a day.  If, however, she is missing several problems or doesn’t seem to understand concepts, we slow down until she starts mastering most of the problems again.  At these times, she will be assigned half of the problem set one day and the other half the next.  There have been times where we stop completely doing lessons for a week and simply do supplemental problems on concepts she is struggling with.  Supplemental problem sets are provided in the back of the Saxon 7/6 manual.  On average, we have gotten through three problem sets a week.
  • I do not formally teach her the lesson content.  She is supposed to read it herself and attempt to do the problems in the set.  If she does not understand, I teach her the new material as I am checking her math later.
  • We do the mental math component about every third or fourth lesson. We don’t do mental math every lesson, although in an ideal homeschool situation, I’d like to.
  • We do not take routine tests.  My daughter actually asks for the tests, and we have probably done about three this year at her request.  At this age, I do not like to use tests much.  I check her math, and I am very aware of what she is and is not grasping.  So I don’t feel the need to test.  However, later in her education, I will make sure she has tests so she is prepared for “the real world.”
  • To round out our math curriculum, she does some flash cards with a sister and some “applied” math her dad.
  • We will not finish the Math 7/6 book “this year” by the end of May.  We will continue doing some math lessons throughout the summer.  There are 120 lessons in the book, and we are on Lesson 87.  Often, at the end of a book, I feel they start cramming in new concepts just for pre-exposure to the next school year.  I never like this.  I usually stop a book when I feel this happening and skip on to the next book, resuming at the appropriate lesson point.

What about you?

What about you?  Do you use a curriculum as it is designed?  Or do you fix it up for your student?  Do you feel worried when you fall behind your lesson planner?  Does anyone out there “unschool” for math?  That would be fun to hear about!  Wishing you lots of fun in your homeschooling!

Happy May!

~~Terri

Our Fourth Grade Curriculum: Spanish

Do you teach a foreign language in your homeschooling?  When did you start?  How is it progressing?

Why We Chose Spanish

We chose Spanish as our children’s foreign language, and we tried to teach it as much as we could as soon as we could.  My husband and I had both learned some Spanish during medical school and residency because there was a large Mexican immigrant population where we did our residencies in Indiana.  We like foreign culture and language and wanted to try to converse with our immigrant patients as much as possible in their own language.  Since we knew Spanish a bit, it made sense to have our children learn Spanish.  Plus, Spanish-speaking people could be found easily around us.

A Brief History of My Fourth Grader’s Spanish Background

We found a Spanish tutor when M1, my now ten-year old fourth grader, was 5 years old. Before that, we talked to her in our self-taught rudimentary Spanish. We frequented Mexican restaurants and my husband insisted on speaking Spanish with the waiters. (I always wondered what they thought of us fools.) We volunteered at English as a Second Language. We watched Muzzy and Barney in Spanish. Did Rosetta Stone, Visual Link Spanish and some kid’s computer programs in Spanish. It was a Godsend when we finally found a tutor.  She came once a week and played and did art with my daughters, speaking Spanish to them.

Having my children speak a foreign language is something we just won’t budge on. Here we are 5 years, a move across the country, and several Spanish tutors later. (Our tutors, sadly to us, come and go as they get new jobs or their families change. However, we have enjoyed each tutor and their different accents and approaches with the kids. Our current tutor has been with us for about a year now. We have had Puerto Rican Spanish, Colombian Spanish, and Mexican Spanish. They’re all a bit different, and interestingly enough, we’ve found Colombian Spanish easiest to understand.) We are at the point where M1 grasps the understanding of both written and verbal Spanish when in context. When words are not used in context, she may not be able to tell you meaning. Her own use of the language has drastically increased, and we (my husband, the tutor, and I) all agree that it is time to push her into speaking mostly only in Spanish for her lessons.

An Exceptionally Brief Video of My Daughter Speaking Spanish

Our Fourth Grade Spanish Curriculum Includes:

Using a tutor.  Our Spanish tutor comes twice a week, including summers.  She does not have a secondary degree in teaching, her own language, or even the English language.  For now, I don’t care!  She can speak Spanish and is willing to work with M1 to find out how she best learns to SPEAK Spanish!  M1 learns so much just by listening!  Our goal for this elementary stage is to simply get M1 SPEAKING Spanish.  Grammar focus will come later.

(Note:  Our tutor works with each child one on one.  Initially, a year or two ago, we had the tutor work with the girls together, but then their abilities started spreading apart.  At this point, we separated them for individual lessons.)

The tutor tries to speak only in Spanish during class, but when M1 doesn’t understand, she explains things in English.  I tell her that right now the most important thing is for the kids to hear, hear, hear Spanish.  I chose a native speaker because I feel that the children pick up the tongue positions of foreign language sounds naturally; for example, they don’t have to think about rolling the “R.”  It just happens.  Also, as much as possible, I don’t want them at this young age to learn by “translation.”

Although I don’t spend too much money on homeschooling,  I’d say we do spend the bulk of our homeschooling budget on our Spanish tutor (and the computer programs we invested in are kind of “salty” too–but they can be used for many years).  Without a tutor, though, I don’t think my kids would learn Spanish fluency in our home.  I could feed them vocabulary and verbs, but I don’t think our goal of fluency would be achieved.

wpid-IMAG2426.jpgRead and Understand, Grade 3.  As M1 was understanding well and beginning to speak Spanish more, our tutor and I decided she needed practice in making sentences.  I would have preferred to not use a textbook, but our tutor is not a trained teacher and prefers to have something to guide her.  We started using Read and Understand, Grade 3.  It has reading selections from various backgrounds (myths, poetry, nonfiction, and science) that are in both English and Spanish.  M1 doesn’t like it because it requires writing sentences quite a bit.  I usually work with and compromise with M1 on this abhorrence of physical handwriting, but in this case, I am not her teacher, and she must do what her Spanish teacher asks her to do.  Her tutor also gives her homework–which she hates!  I like it because it keeps us accountable on the days the tutor does not come.  Plus, she gets a feel of real, live homework!

We did not buy Read and Understand, Grade 3 especially for homeschooling.  My husband picked it up several years ago for himself and never used it.  It has worked great for M1. She reads the passage aloud with the tutor for pronunciation work.  She then translates it as best she can orally to English.  Finally, she does the written exercises at the end of the lesson which require her to formulate and write sentences in Spanish.

Visual Link Spanish (link)  We really, really like this program a lot.  Currently M1 is working through the Level 2 Verbs section.  She learns 30 verbs and then there is a fun game to quiz her on the verbs.  Her Spanish tutor then has her come up with sentences using these verbs.  M1 likes this program much better than Rosetta Stone, which she described as “Boring!”  The whole family (even my 5 year old tries) likes to use this program.  We have used Rosetta Stone in the past, and, like M1, I like this one better, too.

Mom and Dad Learn Spanish, Too!  My husband is very good at this and keeps diligently working.  I’m hit or miss, depending on what nutritional health topic is fascinating me at the moment.  However, I feel I must make a much bigger effort in learning and using my Spanish again.  I notice when I use as much Spanish-Spanglish as I can around the house with whatever I know, the girls start using their Spanish, too.  When I don’t, they don’t.  So here recently, I’m back at Visual Link Spanish, too, and back to sitting in on their lessons with them with the tutor.  I really have a sense that my children will come to speak with fluency at a younger age if I use my Spanish, too.  Sadly, yet excitingly, they do correct my around-the-house Spanish.

Miscellaneous  The tutor occasionally uses flashcards as needed.  We listen to Spanish CDs in the car.  My husband and I attend Sunday School in Spanish and the girls sometimes finish their class early and come and listen in.  Despite dietary restrictions, we still can pretty comfortably eat occasionally at the local Mexican restaurant where we all try to use our Spanish.  (Our youngest is known there as “Pollito.”  One time, speaking Spanish, they asked her her name.  She thought they asked what she wanted to eat, and she yelled out loudly in her characteristic style, “POLLO!”  So they took to calling her “Pollito,” which means “little chicken.”)

Closing

I guess this summarizes what we do for fourth grade Spanish.  If I’m still posting next year, I’d love to be able to say that M1 has progressed to conversing somewhat easily in Spanish.  It will be fun to see if it happens.  For us, I really, really think that the more my husband and I use our Spanish in the house, no matter how bad it may be, the more M1 will come to use the Spanish she knows.

I hope you and your families are full of love, peace, and joy!  ~~Terri

PS:  Did anyone who has been around awhile notice that I learned how to put a video on?  Don’t even tell me if it doesn’t work.  Next, I’m going to learn how to hook my laptop up to my scanner so I can scan in my hand-drawings in future health-related posts!  Big plans.  Oh, big plans.  One teeny, tiny step at a time!  LOL!  Learning is fun!

Homeschooling Thought: Individualism and Family

A craft one of the girls made up.  Crafting is definitely not my thing--but hey--it's hers and that's special.

A craft one of the girls made up. Crafting is definitely not my thing–but hey–it’s hers and that’s special.

This morning I cleaned up a crafting mess in the schoolroom, a beautiful beaded bracelet made by my 9 year-old daughter.  Crafted all on her own.  I had nothing to do with any of it because I hate crafts.  On Wednesday, a homeschooled high school student is visiting my home to sift through my closet, with the intent to help me become more fashion savvy.  To help me learn my body type, how I should choose clothes based on my body type, and which colors suit me best.  Because I am stuck in black yoga pants and an Indianapolis Colts’ t-shirt.  A few weeks ago I bought pumpkins from a seventh-grade homeschooled entrepreneur hoping to make some extra bucks selling pumpkins of all sizes from his family’s hook-up trailer.  Because he was so cute and I wanted to make some pumpkin pie.

Homeschooling done properly strongly promotes individualism.  Is that scary?  Is that scary to a government?  To an institution?  To a person?

Homeschooling done properly strengthens families.  Is that scary?  To a government?  To an institution?  To a population?

However, consider too that homeschooling done properly also strongly promotes a clarity of how a student’s individualism fits into the context of a society, most often the family (for most of us, no small task)–and also commonly within a church community and/or in the teamwork of extra-curricular activities.

I am grateful for the opportunity to homeschool.  To watch my children blossom and learn their individual strengths and weaknesses in the safe harbor of our loving home.  I am grateful that they have the opportunity to become strong women, free to follow their own course, but learning that to succeed in life and relationships, it requires learning to respect and work with others to achieve a higher goal for all.

Is homeschooling detrimental to a society?  To a nation?

Happy Thanksgiving time to all here in the US.  Practice gratefulness in all things but don’t ever stop working and striving to make your world a better place in the small ways that you can.  In your home, your workplace, your community, your dinner choices, your children, your homeschooling, your marriage, your church.  In all things.

~~Terri

My Kids Are Homeschooling Me

My kids are homeschooling me.  I now know that…

…wiggling counts as P.E class.
…doodles are no less than art class. (Seriously, probably more like “Brilliance in Art.”)
…8 X 8=64 on messy tables and clean tables alike.
…even very great students had to be taught how to fold and number their papers.
…erasing is an underestimated skill.
…precise, thorough explanations will earn–drum roll, please– half results.  (No explanations earn none.)
…if mom drinks hot tea during school, kids need to drink hot tea during school.
…9:30 am start really means somewhere between 9:35 and 9:45 am.
…phone calls are like fire drills.  All semblance of school stops.
…irritated or angry screaming brings about the unintended, although quite desirable, act of laughter.
…ALL holidays and all humble rooms deserve decorations, whether the teacher thinks decorations are just excuses for messes:

Haunted bathroom

Enter at your own risk…my four-year-old won’t without me. Nice effect.

Count Dracula

Great hiding spot.

Toilet decorated for Halloween

Chills down your spine?

Decorating the toilet for Halloween

“Ghost of the butt.”

Haunted Toilet

The needed close-up. (These are taped on then covered with clear contact paper in case you want to try.)

Halloween toilet decor

Close the lid on “Ghost of the Butt” only to find “Ghost of the Plunger.” Too much GI talk going on in this house.

Halloween bathroom decoration.

Lookin’ good.

Spider on floral display

Even mom’s dainty decorations are not spared.

Happy Halloween!  Have a great week!  Do you have your Halloween candy plan ready to implement?

Terri

Why I Don’t Like Homeschooling

wpid-IMAG1603-1.jpg

Hey.  It’s quite the thing nowadays.  Homeschooling.  Everyone’s doing it.  They’re telling you why they love it.  Why it’s right for them.  But what about the flip side?

We love homeschooling!  We think it’s the tops!  Every good thing, though, has its drawbacks.  So to be fair, here are some of its challenging aspects.

Title One, Which Draws Interest: Why I Don’t Like Homeschooling.
Title Two, Which I Prefer:  What Makes Homeschooling a Great, Fun Challenge?

Lack of alone time.  “I’m sorry, brain, did you say something?”  There’s just about no such thing as alone time.  On the spectrum, I require high levels of alone time (in my house), and this has been my biggest challenge!  A helpful spouse and skillful use of a babysitter has helped ease the pain.

Messy house.  Entropy at its finest.  Oh, the clutter.  Glitter.  Glue.  Shoes.  Dishes.  Laundry.  Spills.  Another spill. 

Three meals a day.  More dishes.  “I know it’s 2 o’clock, but come on, can’t we just get through history and poetry BEFORE I make lunch?”

wpid-IMAG0656-1.jpg

If you can deal with sassy, you’re 75% there!

Dealing with sassy.  “‘Don’t-ch-you’ roll your eyes at me…”  When my first instinct is to yell, fuss, and holler, my newly trained response has become to bite my tongue ’til it bleeds and speak softly with a voice dripping sweet tones of kindness.  It works.  My tongue is so swollen I can’t say anything I’ll regret.

Rainy days.  Indoor recess.

Juggling different age-levels of learning.  “How about some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?”  I’d say my youngest child is the rate-limiting factor in progression of our school day.  Sometimes it’s difficult to keep the older ones focused with little interruptions and disturbances.

Also, we try to do the same subjects at the same time for each child, but this gets challenging for math, grammar, phonics, and spelling due to age differences.  So I’m learning flexibility.

Flexibility.  Just call  me a wet noodle.  It is no longer, “My way or the highway.”  It’s all about finding a, maybe creative, way to get needed tasks, living, and learning accomplished.  Sadly, I still prefer it my way.

Wondering if “I’m doing it right.”    Most of the time a homeschooling parent knows everything is going fine, but sometimes doubt creeps in.  Especially when you talk to another homeschooling parent or see a friend’s extra-bright school kid.  “Your kid does what/reads what/plays what/memorizes what/writes how? –Oh, well, that’s great.”  Shoot, I’d better get on the ball!

"Hey--you!  I didn't graduate from Indiana University with my 'Mrs.', don't you know."

“Hey–you! I didn’t graduate from Indiana University with an ‘MRS’, you know.”

Losing my identity to the world.  Nobody knows what you used to do. Nobody cares where you went to college or what you majored or mastered or doctorated in.  You are a stay-at home parent.  H-o-m-e-m-a-k-e-r.  Heck, your kids don’t even know or care.  Once, my husband said to my kids, “Your mom’s a doctor.”  “Nuh-uuuh.  She’s mommy.”  And that, folks, is why I do this.  That is one heck of a compliment.

It’s all me.  School doesn’t happen without me.  My devoted presence allows school to be conducted in about a quarter of the time.  If I manage a phone call, the plumber’s visit, or try to clean the kitchen, pretty much school stops.  (Probably because I’m not doing it right.)  It’s a bit annoying that I can’t get anything done sometimes without falling behind in school! (Flexibility.  Yuck.)

Bad days.  Scrap days.  The days you throw up your hands and say, “Get outta’ here.  Go.  Go play.”

My kids.  Oops.  Slip.  I guess homeschooling wouldn’t be an option without my kids.  They’re the best.  But I won’t lie.  Homeschooling (and parenting) is a lot of work and a great challenge.  It requires a lot of time and energy and creates so much worry, frustration, and fear. (Wish they’d say that when they show all those stupid “baby bumps” in People magazine.) But spontaneous hugs and “I love yous” as the kids speed through the living room on the way outside –well, I can’t even explain what that’s worth.

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”  Neil Postman (NOT John Whitehead)

All the best to you today.  Hope maybe you found something useful here.  Terri

You may (or may not) be interested in the following posts:

Why We Homeschool

Parenting Mission Statement

I Could Never Homeschool My Kids