Whereas we were getting about 3 days of school in at first, suddenly it’s more like one. What has changed? Probably that we have been busy every weekend with something. I had also been contemplating grad school, but per advice from someone who actually works in freelance writing, I’d be better off taking a different route. Other than that just being tired from this job. This job that does not feel like it’s worth what I get back from it – at all. But I am taking a moment right now to examine how homeschooling benefits me and my family in three ways.
1. Homeschooling Goals. When we first started, Paul went right along with what I asked of him, but after a little bit he put on the breaks for the letters and reading and stuff. With Elizabeth, I just encouraged her to do it until she usually did. Or else I changed my game plan so that she always felt validated. I didn’t really feel that force-feeding sight words would get us very far. But I’ve been forcing Paul to do it with the 1-2-3 Magic until he does it. But blah, this is how life goes all of the time and I don’t think it’s really all that magic. Yes he does what he has to when I count, but only if I count, unlike his sister with whom I took a different approach and knows that she just has to do it. I don’t know how to reverse it at this point with so little time left to parent around working and I don’t want school to go this way. My goal in homeschooling him was to do the exact opposite: to validate him and let him assume some control over how he does the work because so much in our current life-style is about needing/having to just get it done because it just has to be done. So when we were painting and gluing the other day and he resisted the instructions, I let him do it his way. I love his final work of art too.
2. Spending Quality Time with my Children. Yes, sometimes I need to be forced to do things, and in this crazy busy life of single parenting, having some time carved out for my kids because we have to do school can actually be a good thing. I wanted to have a little bit of pressure to take the time to talk to him/them. I wanted to have it be a responsibility of mine to discuss educational things. As a parent it should be, but as a single working mother it’s often put at the bottom of the list behind the laundry and other housework. This economy and the pressures at work make it obligatory that my job comes first which seems so unfair to me so very often.
3. A Time to Reflect. I keep a journal but I don’t always write about parenting stuff anymore, more like how to survive work and this life that I’ve been forced into. I kept the blog when Elizabeth was being homeschooled and I wanted to keep it with Paul so they could look back at it someday and see what we had done and how much I loved them. In all actuality I didn’t think I would be able to keep up with the blog; I am enjoying it though and using it as a way to evaluate my entire life. I think I am at a point where a change needs to be made. I see how toxic my work environment is and for a long time I have felt that my life is unbalanced. Working 40 hours with an additional 10 hours of travel and lunches in there just is not for me. To top it off I just am not overly passionate about health care, I went to college with the intention of working in the biological sciences but there just aren’t very many jobs around here in that field, really very, very few. Reflecting on homeschooling Paul, actually just plain old homeschooling him, really reminds me of what my life goals are. It has reminded me that I feel that I am meeting the company’s goals pretty well and none of mine. I am working up the courage to try to make some changes, but the risk is big because I have to support these two kids. But how long do you keep doing something that doesn’t allow for any kind of real expression of you? I just don’t know how long I can push it away. Maybe it’s time to free myself.
This weekend we did set our painted lady butterflies free. (We used a kit from Insect Lore, it was very easy and fun!) It seems metaphorical to me. We kept them trapped in a little container until they metamorphosed. Then we opened the container up and put the chrysalises into a larger butterfly house. After they emerged, we kept them for a few days before we opened them up completely and set them free in the woods. It took my breath away as they flew off. Who knows where they will end up? Who knows where I will end up? Who knows where my kids will end up? I don’t have expectations for them. I do have hopes for them but that is acceptable, and if they choose different paths then we will roll with that. What life is right now is just barely acceptable. What life could be with some changes would be wonderful and I’m not giving up hope.
Share your thoughts: Why do you homeschool? How does homeschooling your kids enrich your own life? Share the positivity!