February 4, 2013

Confessions of a homeschool mom

I admit, I have been stressed out to the max!

For so long, I guess my whole life, I have had a fear of failure. I want so badly to get things right and do my absolute best to do so. But the tremendous pressure it brings is damaging. This is one of the reasons why I did not want to homeschool my children. I knew that it would be a lot of pressure on myself.

Because, I want it all. I want the clean organized house, the pretty seasonal decor and crafts, the healthy and delicious meals, the time to create and craft, homemade bread, homemade dresses, well behaved children and so on. But it's not possible when you have 5 other people in the house who are not driven with the same goals. Not to mention most of them are very messy and very apt to forget the rule that gets repeated day after day about putting things back where you got them.

The life I envisioned as a homeschooling family hasn't fleshed out in the way I hoped. Some of it has, but a lot of it has not. So, I have to readjust my vision. Again though, I've been pretty stressed about various things. I feel so many things are on my plate, and no matter what it seems I'm behind in something. I have  lots of doubts about what I'm doing; rarely does a day go perfectly if it ever has!

But I do know that it hasn't been for nothing, no, not at all. My girls have learned a lot, and not just academically. They have learned how to work around the house and do things to help me; they have formed closer relationships with each other and me, and have even learned how to be more patient and understanding with their older sister that goes to special education in public school. Our three year old has learned so much by being with them, and they all are close in relationship. Of course, there is fighting that crops up, but most of the time, things are good between them.

I taught them how to finger knit a couple of weeks ago, and when I sit and work on my own knitting projects, they all like to sit around me working on theirs. I've noticed that during times like that, they open their hearts up to me, and I try to make the most of those conversations. I know this wouldn't be possible if we were apart all day, them at school and me at home.

That being said, I've still been stressed. Charlotte Mason education is what I want, but, it's more work heavy for the parent. We've gradually been doing more worksheets and workbooks in our workbox system and mostly been sticking to the 3Rs. I am trying not to let this make me feel guilty, but it creeps in. I still haven't fully grasped the concepts of how to teach this way. Plus, my girls have been public schooled, and this is difficult for them. I think for both of us, we need some middle ground.

So, with that, I think it may be best to utilize more curriculum that is laid out for me, rather than finding the living books and having narrations and so forth. And I'm ok with it, because this is still my first year, I am homeschooling three grades, and it's ok to take some help. My girls seem to like doing workbooks and such, so this will have to work for us for awhile. And, we will still be using living books, but gradually.

My husband has offered to do science and math lessons with the girls. He really wants to help me out but doesn't know how and I don't know what to tell him. He is lover of science, so we thought those lessons could be learned on Saturday with him. I like science, but it's more his thing than mine. Also math, I like math and have done fine with the girls, but he really likes it and wants to teach them. More power to ya I say!

So I'm planning to order some workbooks from Rod and Staff and some from another place, and really work on the reading and narration, adding in art study and music study and more time with handicrafts. We also have majorly neglected nature study- holiday time and winter kind of stalled that one. I am trying really hard not to feel bad for slacking up on these things, or getting the homeschool thing right the first time.

Homeschooling is like getting married, having the first child and so on, you don't know until you're in it how it will be. I am thankful and blessed that I have such a supportive husband and easy going children. And, the love and grace of God. He always causes me to triumph!


Naturally Blessed Mama said...

I could've written this post a few times over the last 6 years of homeschooling! We started off with a workbook style curriculum, Christian Light Education, very similar to Rod and Staff. We all hated it! I flailed around for a few years, and stumbled upon Ambleside, and I loved the whole idea of it, but with homeschooling 3-4 children, it was just too much. That's when I found Ruth Beechick! I LOVE her! She literally saved our homeschool. I was ready to give in. She has several books out, and her style is very Charlotte Mason, but in a much more relaxed style...real books, poetry, nature study, and what I love...unit studies. I'm going to be posting this week a bit more about what we do for school, and how it works for us, if you get a chance, come by for a visit!


Anneatheart said...

Thanks Sara, that certainly makes me feel better! I am actually not going to order any curriculum now. My husband is going to take over math, and he wants to continue with what we have.This leaves a lot of time for me to spend on history, literature and unit studies/projects, which I really like too.