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Monday, January 28, 2008

Hindsight

From my personal homeschooling journal, dated December 17, 2003. Logan is 19 months, Atticus is 3 and a half, and Jo is 6:

I think today was a total loss. I can't tell. Half of the time, I really couldn't tell you what I'm doing. Gosh, I hope my kids never read this. Talk about fodder for their future therapy sessions: "My mom homeschooled me, but even she admitted that she had no idea what she was doing."

Six months ago, I had this whole thing figured out. Logan was napping at the perfect times, for the perfect length of time. Atticus was so happy just sitting at the table playing with Wikki Stixx while I worked on math with Jo. We were all loving the Sonlight books and I thought I had this whole thing in the bag. Six months ago, homeschooling was so easy. And now I can't help but think that my kids would be better off in public school and/or daycare while I go out and get a "real" job.

Jo should have so much more. I can't give it to her, because I am spending all of my time trying to figure out how to keep Logan from tearing the house apart bolt by bolt. First time obedience? What a joke! I can put him in time out, swat his bottom, whatever. Nothing gets through. There is no way that I can possibly teach Jo what she wants to know (question from her today, "What kind of fabric do you think the Egyptians used in their clothing?"). She can't possibly be learning anything.

And I'm not sure I can help Atticus. I really don't know some times if I can do this. [OT] says I am doing great. People at church say he is getting so much better, I have so much patience, blah, blah, blah. I don't feel like I am doing anything for him. How much farther ahead would he be if he was in the hands of a professional for eight hours a day? And can I seriously teach this kid how to read someday???


Hope in hindsight for those who are walking just a step behind me:

  • Yes, homeschooling goes in waves. Sometimes it is very hard, and sometimes it is deceptively easy. My advice? Ride the waves. Another one will come along soon enough.
  • Never think that you are alone in doubting yourself, your curriculum choices, your ability to teach, your sanity. Ask the homeschoolers around you. If they are honest, they will admit to moments like the one I just posted.
  • Don't be afraid to change tactics mid-stream, because guess what? Your children will think nothing of treating you in kind. :-) Babies stop napping. Toddlers suddenly change habits. School-age children run the gamut of interests. Stay in step with the changes in your family, and you will be a happier homeschooling momma.
  • Homeschooling is a "real" job.
  • Babies grow up. Toddlers grow up. Be patient. To everything, there is a season. Logan did eventually surrender his title as "Master of Disaster." He also quit biting, praise God! Nowadays, he's a sensitive, well-adjusted five and a half year-old who adds far more to our educational journey than he ever took away.
  • Your older kids don't suffer half as much as we fear they will. Jo may not have learned about linen on that particular day, but I bet she learned something about grace.
  • Even the most difficult children are not, as my cousin reminds me, "junk." God simply doesn't make any! :-) Atticus, amazingly, was a very capable reader just four months after I wrote that desperate diatribe about how he needed professional help. Today, his reading level actually outpaces Jo's--and that's saying a lot. I say this in no way to brag (their gifting doesn't come from me, it comes straight from their loving Heavenly Father, so I have nothing to brag about) but to offer hope. In case you've missed the overarching theme, here it is:

Romans 15: 4
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.


Persevere. Endure. Have faith. Seek encouragement. Lean into the One who has led you on the path of educating your own.

9 comments:

SmallWorld said...

Wonderful post! If there's one thing I wish new homeschoolers could understand, it's that adaptability and flexibility are fundamentals of homeschooling.What seems impossible now will be forgotten in a year...
SmallWorld

Dawn said...

This was a wonderful, encouraging post. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

KH said...

Thank you for writing this post! I was just sharing with a close friend yesterday how I often feel that I have bitten off way more than I can chew with this whole mom thing and that I'm surely going to ruin them all for life!

~ Angi :) said...

MG ~ I read this last night about 11 pm. My husband was uncharacteristically awake. And sitting beside me.

He wanted to know why I was laughing. I had to read him your post. I even did it up melodramatically, as tho it were a monologue (I wonder why . . .)

by the time I was finished, he felt woosy. And I failed to comment to you, based on his near-injurious fall to the floor since he has to put up with me.

I would say the best way to describe it would be to say he is to me what you were to logan in the 'keep him from tearing the house down bolt by bolt' phase.

You understand.

some wives are just WWWAAAAAYYYY too much fun.

LOLOL! :)

Face to the Sunshine said...

What a wonderful perspective. Thank you! I'm glad you kept that original journal, so the memory of that not-so-great-day would highlight so sharply the goodness that the Lord has brought out of homeschooling. It is a long journey of faith, and happy moments like this blog post are such blessings.

duckygirl said...

I popped on over from gracy4gayle's blog and wanted to let you know that this was a great post. Just yesterday I was discussing with my Dh that our schedule was going to have to change and "what in the world am I going to do with our 2 yr old during THAT time?" Ride the waves, ride the waves...great advice!

~Laura
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/duckygirl

EEEEMommy said...

What a true and insightful post. It's amazing how much wisdom can be gleamed from hindsight!
This is my first time visiting (I came from a link at Grace for Gayle). You and I are the same age and our kids line up pretty close too. And I'm praying for the day when I can start my own adoption countdown...
It's nice to meet you!

Grace and Peace,
Angel

Courtney said...

Wow! I stumbled upon this through another blog. I had just posted in my own blog about struggling with my first year Homeschooling. Your journal entry is exactly how I am feeling now. Thank you so much for writing this, it really encourages me.

HappyGoMommy! said...

I enjoyed this...thanks for sharing. Especially in light of my frsutrating day (see my blog post) with my own kids yesterday!