We live across the street from our church, which also happens to host a school. Every weekday morning, around 7:45, I see vehicles turning down the street to pull into the drop-off line at the front of the church. Lots and lots of vehicles pull in, dropping off energetic kids with smiles. Ok, so I am too far to see any kids’ expressions, but they just appear to be super excited as they all run in to the building.
About this same time over at our house, my kids are sitting at the breakfast table with whatever creations they have put together for a meal. While I watch the vehicles outside, I sometimes think about how our mornings would be if my kids went to school there. Usually my thoughts tend that way when the kids are at the table arguing about whether they want Chilly Willy or VeggieTales for a breakfast show on the laptop. I remind them it doesn’t matter, as breakfast only lasts about six minutes anyhow…but they carry on with the arguing. I give warnings and threats and things always escalate to someone losing electronic time. I become incredibly frustrated that we can’t just get through breakfast without an issue. And then my mind starts to wander. I think about waking them up to eat, dress, and get out the door to run across the street before the school bell (I don’t actually know if they use a bell over there to signal the starting of the day. But in my daydream they do.) I envision having a whole day to myself to prep food or run errands or just READ. ALL. DAY. Some mornings I really let my mind wander, and I play out a whole day, without the kids, in my head. And sometimes I like how it looks. No fights to break up. No big lunch meal to think about and fix. No arguing with them when their time on electronics is over in the afternoon. No demanding they actually do the school work they need to do for that week. It seems glorious…and relaxing!
But then I really start to think of what wouldn’t be here – no giggles during the Chilly Willy episodes or singing during the VeggieTales. No pleasant “good morning” from them as they roll out of bed whenever their bodies are ready and with no rush to be anywhere. No snuggles in the morning with my youngest, as we await the other kids coming out of their rooms. No help with making lunch or a long chat while I cook and a child tells me all about their school work or library book. I wouldn’t get to see their struggles and work to find resources to help them understand challenging new concepts in math. Or help my seven-year-old hold his pencil correctly (for the millionth time) as he works to write words. (Honestly, I would probably worry all day because he is “behind” for his grade. But here at home we get to work with when he is mentally/physically/emotionally ready….less fights and better comprehension for him that way.)
There wouldn’t be any midday discussions about the most random topics (poop, clouds, slime, calories – the list is so random but amazingly interesting!). We wouldn’t be able to crowd around the computer at 10:00 AM to watch a video about whatever topic we want. I wouldn’t have been able to see the moment when each of my kiddos figured out how letters come together to make words…and then take off with lightning speed to read all the books they can! I would have missed my middle child’s day-to-day struggle with phonics and words. I wouldn’t have been able to dig deep and be patient with her brain in figuring out word structure. I love that have been able to sit by her and work with her and encourage her to take it slow and just do what she can. And I would have missed her progress to now where she can’t stop whizzing through all kinds of library books!
All these things that I love so much about homeschooling I would have missed if they weren’t here.
BUT, every Winter I find myself longing to send my kids to school. Honest. Without fail, I daydream about it every Winter. I know it is a phase, and I do not really want to send them to school. I also know that it is usually because we have been stuck inside due to sickness or weather that my mind goes to that place, and I get super selfish with my time. It’s those days where one or more of the kids really needs my attention for an extended period, and we aren’t able to get outside or take a long break.
We spent the first six weeks of this new year passing around a mysterious illness. Fevers, coughs, congestion, achiness, all kinds of symptoms. We missed a couple Sundays of church and had to cancel some plans with friends. I was the first one sick, which made it worse, I think. I had big plans to start off the year strong with schoolwork and decluttering the house, but I literally couldn’t move the first two days. I was so grouchy, too, because these kids still wanted to talk to me! 😉
My yearly homeschool blues were so exaggerated this year. It was a tough couple of weeks to recover from, mentally. We still haven’t gotten to all the awesome resolutions I had planned for our home and our school. And I am having to just accept it and move on.
But, I guess the reason I am writing all this (other than because I feel bad unloading on my husband too often) is because I think homeschool moms get forgotten some times. We are mom/teacher/principal and more all day long. There is no switch to turn on teacher mode at 8:00 and turn it off at 3:00. We are literally parenting and educating and homemaking all at the same time.
Obviously we chose this life because we like it.😊 I know this is the path God wants for our family. I have zero regrets about it. But some days it is hard! When we have a hard parenting issue, it isn’t set aside to then go on to school. Nope, it is front and center til resolved. We have to deal with it in order to get anything else done. Meltdowns, sibling rivalry, messy rooms, undone chores…all those things affect our schoolwork.
It is so hard some days! I know nothing is getting done in my own power and that the Lord is the One fueling our homeschool. But my sin nature likes to try and control too much or get prideful about what we’ve gotten done. My sins, the kids’ sins, it all affects our school. When we can get past the sin, we have some truly awesome days (praise the Lord!).
There is a lot of balancing that moms have to do and adding in homeschooling really upsets the scales some days. The kids we teach and mentor are also the ones we have to nurture and parent and discipline. Progress reports aren’t written to update other parents…we simply just see that some days there is zero progress because of attitudes or illness or whatever. And then we are left to figure it out – the parent/child side and the teacher/student side…because there is technically no separating the sides.
So, check on your homeschool mom friends. It is February. We are struggling to keep going. The snow/cold/illnesses/cabin fever are all getting to us. We need someone to just check in and see how we are. There’s no 3:00 bell to ditch these kids and change the scenery and go home. We’re home. All day. With the same kids. And the same problems. And we’re all sinners.😬
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.