Homeschooling and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate that I seem to always compare myself to other homeschooling moms and my efforts seem to always vitiate in the shadows of their greatness. I hate that I feel like I am never doing enough because my kids aren't where kids in public school "should" be in some areas of their studies. I hate that I feel like a schedule would be too confining, but that I really really need one. Desperately.
I hate these things.
There are days when I wake up and think 'what the frack am I doing?????,' pour a cup of coffee or five and sit down at the table (in our PJ's - which I LOVE!) and work on "school." It's taken me until this- the end of our third- year to let it sink in that school really isn't just about spelling and math and history, and it doesn't matter what other kids are doing or not doing in the brick-and-mortar schools.
And this is what I LOVE about homeschooling. This is where the beauty lies-
Planting seeds as we discuss the various vegetables that will grow, anticipating when we'll see the tiny green sprouts, learning about germination.... This not only covers Science, Math, Home-Ec and Health/Nutrition, it covers more important life-skills like sharing, helping, learning patience, and learning the value of hard work and the excitement of the payoff. Plus, we got a little dirty; what kid doesn't love that?!
Raising chickens! Yes, I said chickens. In our tiny "rural" neighborhood just outside of the town's "borough," in our smallish yard, our chickens have found a home. About 2 weeks ago, we adopted 2- 3 week-old chickens whom hubby and I lovingly dubbed Lavern and Shirley. The kids love helping to feed them, get them new water, even helping me (a little) to clean out the box we have them in right now until we move them to their coop. We'll be getting 4 more in a few weeks as well. We discuss chickens, what they like to eat, how we are to take care of them. My son is especially interested in the physical differences between a hen and a rooster, as he thinks just because Lavern has orange-ish coloring around her neck that she is actually a roo. They are learning responsibility, hard work and animal health and nutrition.
Creating fun insects and
animals from pom poms and pipe cleaners. Art, Math, Science are all
covered as we go through our projects and discuss the various creatures
and where they live.
And yes, yes, of course some of these things I mention could be done in brick-and-mortar schools. But if you think that is comparable to what goes on at home, you're completely missing the point. As the saying goes, I am preparing my kids for life, not a test. Their success will not be measured in SAT scores or what colleges they get accepted into, but how much of God's truth they understand and acknowledge and what kinds of servants they become, as God calls us all to be servants. It will be measured in how many souls they lead to Christ and how they express unconditional love.
There is much to be said about homeschooling. The thing I love most about it is that I get to spend time with my children more than the average parent of school-agers, not only teaching them, but learning along side them, learning FROM them. I am filled with joy as I watch their faces light up when they finally get something that was difficult to understand, or master a word they stumbled over the previous week while reading. I love being able to give them spelling tests, paint pictures, teach them about God, working on Math skills, really spend time getting to know their personalities and their hearts. And allowing them to crack mine wide open and teach me about life.
I love that I get to do all that with them for as long as I want during the day, and that if they want to learn about flowers by spending the day exploring our yard and collecting various types, instead of reading a colorful book with diagrams and then moving on to the next subject, we can. And.....Maybe I'm selfish but I just can't fathom allowing another woman or man all that precious time with my children that I could have myself.
Is homeschooling hard? You betcha! Do I really hate it sometimes? Yes! Do I fail at the academics aspect of it? On occasion! But this is a calling for our family and nothing could be more fulfilling, or more beautiful.