“I could never do it.”
“How do you do it?”
Ask me no questions…I’ll tell you no lies….
Seriously, some days I don’t know why or how or if I can home school. The truth is, it can be hard. Not only do I parent, teach how to do chores, encourage them to be kind, pick up nine million abandoned socks, locate umpteen “lost” shoes, liberate half drunk cups of water from weird and interesting locations…I also have taken on the education of six kids. And a partridge in a pear tree.
Why? My answer can depend a lot upon how the last few days have gone. Its a lot like when you have a newborn and someone asks how he is sleeping and you just draw on the last 72 hours when responding. Because that is life with kids – things change.
A concrete solid, unchanging reason is I like us better as a family when we home school. We get into a groove. The kids relate to each other much differently then they did when they were in separate classes all day. Heck, I relate to them differently. We all more aware of each other and able to help (or annoy) one another in a more meaningful way. For instance, if I am having a stressful day Gwen will grab a load of clean laundry from the basement, fold and put it all away. She knows laundry is the bane of my existence and finds away to make that day a bit easier. Or if Jane is really grumpy, Ben will grab his ukulele and sing ridiculous songs in silly voices to cheer her up. Maisie will plop Peter into his mega blocks wagon and take him for a ride around the first floor if he wakes up from a nap in a bad mood. We are all just a bit more sensitive to one another’s moods and needs. Obviously, this is not a quality only found in home schooling families, but if someone wants to know why we’ve chosen to…well, here you go.
Other reasons sort of depend on the season – on rainy, snowy, freezing days, I like that we don’t have to pile out in the cold. I like sitting around the fireplace and doing math, English, Latin, geography.
On sunny spring/fall days, I love that we are done formal school work in the early afternoon and can enjoy the outdoors. When the kids are done their schoolwork…they are done. No homework. No additional projects. Not additional papers. Yes, we do projects and papers, but those are part of our school day and don’t spill over into our evenings. I know that one made some of you think I’m not so crazy. Right? Right?!
Education is a pretty big reason, too. My kids are essentially receiving private tutoring. One on one lessons at their level for each subject.
Ahead three grade levels in math – no problem!
Spell like a neanderthal – no problem!
Read at a post high school level – no problem.
I am basically the Burger King of education – “hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us!” My kids’ education is all custom ordered.
Some days, home schooling sucks. Not an eloquent way to put it – but entirely true. Just like some days parenting or grown u ping sucks. Its work, people! Getting small moody individuals to behave like slightly better mannered small individuals is crazy hard. Especially on days when Jane’s socks are uncomfortable (every morning), there is nothing good to eat (because clearly the four cereals on the shelf are sub par) and the assigned chores are just unfair. But I don’t quit adulting, or parenting on the hard days and I also don’t stop home schooling.
A friend recently mentioned they had just a few more summers till their son is off to college. Just a few years. Really, as parents, we just have a handful of years with our kids. We set the stage for how they will see and interact with the world. Its a huge responsibility and while the first few years felt so long (and by long i mean neverending), now time is flying by and I want to make sure Ed and I are here and available for the hard talks, the fun moments, the heartbreak and the triumphs that make up childhood. For us that means homeschooling; and we love it.
PS. If you ask me about socialization and how my kids will ever operate in the real world, I have a million hilarious memes I’ll send your way as soon and I’m done driving my kids to their trillion activities, volunteer opportunities and homeschooling co ops. But only if you offer to buy me a coffee or a drink.