Or maybe I’m glad I didn’t…Ok, here goes:
- How hard it would really be
- That I would want to try every curriculum out there
- I would re-arrange my house 37 different ways
- I would think about it constantly
- I would doubt myself
- That I could truly grow to love it.
I started this journey when my oldest child was in 1st grade. He’d gone to a local private school for Kindergarten that he loved – but I didn’t love what it was doing to our family dynamics. My already strong-willed child came home from school only to battle me for the 2 precious hours I had with him before it was time to get ready for bed and start the whole song and dance routine over again the next day. With the news of a new baby on the way, I couldn’t see it getting any better the next year.
So after many prayers and tearful conversations with my husband about all my in abilities and “what-if” questions, we laid our plans before the Lord and asked Him to supply our needs to start homeschooling.
We welcomed our third child into the world in the summer of that year. I don’t know how well you slept with a new born, but my Zachary would be happy all day until the night fell and he decided he was either upset, hungry or both!
Six hours of sleep in two hour intervals made for long school days. I wanted to keep Caleb on a consistent schedule that resembled his private school environment as much as possible because he had thrived there. But the lack of sleep hindered me from being the teacher I aspired to be. I thought it would be so much easier when the baby got older.
The next year, I changed some things and started integrating my middle child into the school-work. With the baby now one and walking and no longer taking a morning nap, my school-time seemed to always involve him too. Anything I did with the older two, he did with me. Let’s just say I don’t remember much about that year except a familiar thought of, “Maybe next year when Zach is a little older, and Mackenzie (middle child) can read, this will be easier.”
Year 3: This year I decided to read more books aloud and provide a basket of toys for Zach to play with quietly as I read. Somehow, he didn’t get the message.
I would gather everyone in the living room with one of the “living books” on my new book list (more about that next week) excited to dive into the adventure. No sooner than I nestled in my chair, and the kids settled down, Zach would throw a fit. He would slap at the book and scream for me to get up and hold him. If I tried to re-direct him to one of the toys I picked out, that would be chunked across the room and his message of “Mommy get up” would resume. If I ignored him, he would throw himself down in the middle of the room and just scream.
Great environment to learn in, huh?
That year, we learned more about disciplines than actual history and math. And again, I thought, “When he gets older, this has to get easier!”
This past year Zach started Kindergarten. This was the year I had in mind when I thought of “him being older.” Things must get easier, right?
In some ways yes, but in other ways, no. Zach no longer throws a fit when we sit down to read. He enjoys the stories and participates in the discussion, some. He does get tired after a while, but for the most part rolls along well.
However, this year, my challenge was dividing my brain amongst three children, not just two. There were days I thought my brain would explode. I would sit down to work with one child, and another one would pop his head in the door to ask where a pencil is and then another would yell from across the house that he can’t figure out a math problem. All at one time.
So here’s what I’ve decided…and what I wish I knew, but maybe glad I didn’t before I started homeschooling…
Homeschooling is hard no matter where you live, how many kids you have, what your monthly income is or what curriculum you use. If you’ve chosen this route, you didn’t choose it because it would be easier. You chose it because something else wasn’t working with your family and you love your kids enough to say “let’s try it.”
I’m glad you have. I’m glad you’re here.
This journey is tough through all its stages – many of which I have yet to embark – but with God’s strength, you are equipped to travel it.
Stay tuned…next week I’ll share some about my curriculum journey, and hopefully set your minds to rest that you are not alone in this journey.