Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Homeschool Fears Were Silly

Being a homeschooling mama was never in the plans for me. Honestly, I thought it was for super motivated and organized mamas. The ones who dominate Pinterest. Even now, I have moments when I fantasize about walking my kids to the bus, waving goodbye and enjoying a looooong quiet productive day while the experts do their thang. BUT, that's not my life right now and hey, I'm so glad! I honestly had no idea how much I would enjoy this job as teacher. In the beginning, I had so many fears and truly doubted I could do it. Thankfully, Kindergarten is laid back and a great year to try things out and learn my teaching style (and the kids' learning styles, too!).
Here were some of my fears and how things have actually turned out:

What If I'm not smart enough to teach them? I realized early on that "Hey! I'm the expert here!". I am an expert on my children. I know their gifts and struggles. I know exactly how to explain a certain idea in such a way that makes learning fun for them. I know how to connect math with Elijah's obsession with drawing and I know what pushes Lazzy over the edge. No other teacher could possibly have the time to learn my children the way I already know them. Plus, there are so many seminars, books and blogs out their to help homeschooling mamas like myself. I'm learning so much and I'm thankful for that! Also, never underestimate the power of GAMES.

What If my kids become socially awkward? How will I "socialize" them? When you think about it, a room full of 26 people the exact same age is a strange place to learn how to be social. Everything is about competition, especially for boys! There is no balance. Instead, children learn how to be exactly like their peers or they suffer for being different (at least that was Eli's experience last year in pre-school). In our current situation, Elijah and Lazarus both get to learn about leadership as they play with younger kids. They also have plenty of time with older kids where they can challenge themselves as they strive to keep up. They also get lots of time with grownups who are truly their friends, not just teachers.

We often have other kids come over to play and do school with us.

Our flexible schedule allows us to travel, visit friends in Seattle and to join recess at other schools. In fact, we are so busy outside of the home, my boys begin every day with "Where are we going today and who will we see?". We visit our local bakery, donut shop and grocery store where the boys help me do the shopping and interact with people in our neighborhood. All of these things would not happen as often if they were in a classroom of kids their exact age for 35 hours a week.

What if we get sick of each other? In my experience, I got more frustrated with Elijah when he was in pre-school because he felt removed from our family. While he was away, things were peaceful and we had more freedom. When he got home, the adjustment to having him there (for all of us!) was stressful. Nowadays, we are together, yes, but we are working together. We are a cohesive team-helping, teaching and encouraging each other. We work hard and we play harder and when we need space, we can take it. My children are not being forced into 7 hour long social settings with 20 other kids 5 days a week. They have SPACE to be themselves and to be alone if they feel like it. And you know what? So do I!

During the snowy days this winter, many of my facebook mama friends complained about their kids being home from school. I remember thinking that it was sad that so many mamas were ready for school to get going again because they were sick of their children. We do spend a lot of time together, but that means we also get along well. There is no awkward adjustment period on snow days. We just continue on, business as usual. That's not to say I never get sick of my kids, haha! You know I do! But, we've all learned to get along and work together while also giving space when it's needed. In fact, just this morning I sent the boys upstairs during Ruthie Mae's morning nap so I could drink my coffee and read in silence. I've been feeling somewhat frazzled in the mornings and decided to take some time for myself.

Honestly, the bonds have deepened since we began homeschooling.

Don't get me wrong-I get annoyed with my kids. Homeschooling means I get very few breaks and have to carve out time for myself so I can be refreshed and give them all I've got. And I've learned that our 2 hours of  "quiet time" is essential. We read, draw, rest - we do it together, but it's quiet and it's oh so good. 

I was terrible at geometry!! 
Guess what!? Geometry doesn't happen until much further down the road! I realized that just because we're homeschooling now, it doesn't mean we'll continue this route through college! Kindergarten is actually quite easy, and First grade is looking pretty fun. I will just take it one year at a time and seek help and wisdom where I need it. Oh, and rely on Dan for help in the math department :) Again, this is where games come in handy, too!

There were some fears, yes, but here we are. Finishing our first year of homeschool and eagerly looking forward to the next. As I plan for next year, I realize how blessed I am to be able to stay home with my children while we learn together about this amazing world.


  1. Blessed indeed. I'm so blessed and glad you can stay with our boys. And I often envy you....except on those know the ones where the fussing and crying seem to leak out from every corner. :)

  2. What a lovely post. I removed my son from preschool this spring and I too felt relieved to have him home. There was no longer an outside disruption to our family rhythm. He is still learning and I still have peace and quiet to myself too. It's been the right move for our family in this moment. You are doing a wonderful job!