Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Week 11/Yr 2: Schooling your children is like marriage

Choosing the way you school your children is a lot like choosing your partner in life. You look around at all your options, you learn as much as you can about the good - and the bad - of your partner...and even knowing ALL of it, you still decide they are for you.

Our choice of schooling has been like that. At first, we were public-schoolers like we grew up, as were our older daughters. There really wasn't even another choice for us. We didn't any more information - and didn't think we needed any more.

Then our boys' experience in our "blue ribbon" public school turned from one of education to frustration then demoralization. Thank God there were options available for us, that we found them and that our household situation allowed us to use them. Since this is Thanksgiving and the month for thanks, I'll just let you know that I already have that foremost in my heart each day. 

That being said...schooling is like being married. And some days it just sucks. Just awful, royal, total suckage like nothing else. You hate your life, hate your choices, feel overwhelmed and under-rewarded and nothing helps. Well, sometimes a drink. Or a hot bubble bath. Or a good book. Or a Xanax. Or all of the above. 

But sometimes nothing does. 

Then you wake up the next morning and see your life anew, as we do each day. And just like looking at the sleeping face of your spouse the morning after a bad day reminds you how lucky you are to have him/her in your life, seeing homeschooling the day after a bad day reminds you how very lucky you are to have this option.

To see your sons finish a book unthinkable task just last year.

To see your children practice instruments every day - for FUN - that they never touched until this year.

To see handwriting blossom and math concepts improve - or not. And to know that because they are with their mom for school, they will not be overlooked or hurried or belittled because they can't do it ...yet.

To see them master each challenge that they have in their lives..however slowly it may be.

To explore new concepts with your children and learn together. And when you look up at the moon on the way to choir rehearsal (which they don't really want to do anymore but miraculously don't complain about) and ask them what phase of the moon it is, they both say "Gibbous!". And when I ask them if it's waning or waxing, they KNOW! It still amazes me that they are actually LEARNING. From me. With me. 

And, once again, I love our schooling choice.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 10/Yr 2: Lost in Translation...

I lost two weeks. To be perfectly honest, I was here, but our homeschool almost wasn't.

Week 7 was a planned week off for "teacher planning". With Furlough Dad in charge and lots of field trip ideas, the boys had an enriching "unschool" week and everyone was fine with that.

Week 8 was a total Sick Out. I was just miserable with a sinus/headcold/fever thing that made life miserable day and night. School was back "In", but I wasn't. I leaned heavily on and Brainpop and hot cider and prayed to feel better before we lost too  much ground.

Week 9 was Halloween Week. If you have any child, this is a wasted week at any school with the adrenaline rush and candy-anticipation at full maximum. If you have a child on the autism have this multiplied by ...oh...a zillion? We had a very productive Monday and Tuesday with starting our Lincoln biography, another chapter in Science (one of the few subjects where we are right on schedule),  Time4Learning and Halloween worksheets for math and language arts. However, our week deteriorated rapidly on Wednesday right after YMCA PE direct correlation to the panic my oldest son started to have about not having a costume as "perfect" as the picture in his mind. So - school stopped and became "art class" until Halloween on Thursday night when the curtain rose on the wonderful costume for about an hour...until the rain started. Happily, my Big Guy was perfectly happy to stop short of a huge bag of candy in exchange for keeping his "awesome costume" (his term) intact, so in the end, it landed in the Win column of Halloweens. And Friday was post-adrenaline crash. Until mid-afternoon. This was when I realized we had family coming to stay for a weekend visit in SIX HOURS and the house was in shambles, so it became Crisis Cleaning Day. I guess I can count that as a Life Lessons class, but I was too tired to bother.

So - Week 10 started today and after a wonderful weekend with my sister-in-law here, I'm totally wiped out. Introvert Classic that I am, spending that much time entertaining ANYONE totally drains my battery, so today was just putting one foot in front of the other during school time. The boys did manage to finish all their work and we covered all our subjects, so in one way it was a success. But after weeks of sickness, holiday crazies and running around, I just don't have an ounce of energy to give to school. And I wonder how long I can do this. How many more years can I do this? Even for a healthy younger mom, this would be a challenge and it is days like this that I'm not sure I can do it.

But I do. I'll give myself until next summer to decide about next year. And I'll do that each year until I can't anymore. Because even this morning, I woke up from another nightmare about one of my boys being somewhere where I couldn't see them or get to them or help them...the way I felt when my boys were drowning in their old school and all my efforts didn't work. So, until I feel safe I can't let them go...even if it is harder than I ever thought it would be. 

I may be lost, but at least I know I'm not traveling in the wrong direction...:)