When I look back at all of the posts I’ve written about homeschool so far, I think I’ve sugarcoated it a bit. I think it’s important to share some of the bad with a good because goodness, I wouldn’t want someone looking in at my experience and thinking I have it all under control. Let me break it down for you as best as I can from a personal perspective, as to not put all my kids’ business out there.
At the moment. I’m struggling.
I’ve left the rat race of “being on track/ahead” of grade level, yet I’m constantly trying to determine how we measure up. And I’m stressed about getting “behind.”
I’ve mapped out our lesson plans for most of the school year (in pencil because plans change). We’re doing a month on Greek Mythology, a month of science experiments, and a month of black history. I’m trying to take it easy but simultaneously going into crazy mode. As in, we still do homeschool on Saturdays, holidays and some Sundays. When I’m out of town for business I leave a plan for my husband with post it notes, pre-dated worksheets and FaceTime checkins.
Instead of moving forward with math right now I’ve decided it would be better to go back a little with a different curriculum and reinforce what we learned last year. No biggie, but I the nagging voice inside tells me I need to hurry it up. In an attempt to “get all the things done” I’ve cut out co-ops, regular play dates, and things that turned me on to the idea of homeschool in the first place.
Last year I planned history lessons around trips to Washington D.C. and geography around our sailing to the Bahamas. This year I’m swamped with work and I don’t have a single trip planned with the kids. But that’s not even a huge deal. There’s one thing in particular that’s driving me absolutely crazy. Reading.
Of all the subjects reading has been my biggest struggle. We’ve been working on it and made huge strides but I’m still waiting for that big lightbulb moment when words become easier and more clear for her and less of a torture hour for myself. I even hired a tutor this year to help. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve been going round and round with this for over a year now. I’m constantly telling myself not to stress about it. She’ll get it. Just keep reading to her! But the demons in my mind tell me I’m the problem. She’s never going to get it, and it’s all my fault.
My son can’t grasp scissors. I mean we are working on that but until a few weeks ago I didn’t even realize that was something he couldn’t do. He doesn’t like to color, write, paint or anything of that sort, but he wrote the letter ‘T’ the other day and I about lost my mind.
My husband and I are seriously considering having both of the kids go to public school next year. I never wrote it off completely. My son will be in kindergarten. And seeing how he listens to everyone better than he listens to me, it may be for the best. Lil’ J will be in third grade and though she’s incredibly bright I wonder how she’d measure up. My worst fear is putting her back in school after two years at home and have teachers tell me she’s behind all of her classmates. I hate admitting that but it’s true.
She can name half a dozen Olympian Greek gods and tell you what they do. Give you a wealth of knowledge about great white sharks, black history and former presidents. She can do math without using her fingers. And she can comprehend and recount in detail what you just read aloud from a novel way above her reading level. However, the idea of reading The Cat and the Hat stresses her out.
I’m trying to power through. We’re still trying to read 365 books together this year, though we’ve been swallowed up in dozens of chapter books lately so I’m not sure we’ll make it before we ring in 2018. A chapter from Percy Jackson and the Olympians at bedtime is my biggest piece of leverage all day. She LOVES reading together. She loathes reading. And if I’m being honest it’s not that fun for me either.
I do have one tiny glimmer of hope. A couple nights ago things started to change. Instead of picking a random book I thought looked “easy enough” for her. I picked a book she knew and loved. The combination of knowing the story and loving it motivated her to not only give it an honest try, but keep at it. She didn’t quit when she normally would and she was actually having fun.
I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I am crossing my fingers that we are about to have a breakthrough. I checked out some graphic novels and am looking for other books she’ll find interesting. Even and almost especially if, they’re above her current level.
When it comes to having time to think, my kids are often interrupting my thoughts. I’m rarely alone, yet it can still feel so lonely. I absolutely love the extra time I get with them. The AH HA moments and instilling the qualities we find important. But it’s not all easy. It can be stressful, and hard and scary. I’m just a mom over here trying to make the best of it.
I just wanted you to know.