Wow, I’ve got six weeks of homeschooling under my belt and I honestly just feel like I’m treading water. I had such high hopes for my lessons and anticipation for all the hands on activities that I planned to tie into them. That was before the reality of life with a newborn sunk in. I suppose I should have remembered, but with my first I didn’t have to split my attention the way it is now. I imagine this torn feeling won’t pass anytime soon….how do these other mom’s so gracefully balance the needs of multiple children, let alone social or household responsibilities?
Don’t get me wrong, my brain knows I’m not failing, so why do I FEEL like I am? I have a 3-ring binder full of all our daily worksheets and as I flip through it, I realize that we’ve actually covered quite a bit of material. I suppose with all things considered, just the fact that we haven’t “skipped” a day or two, but have been faithful Monday through Friday to cover all our subjects, is pretty amazing in and of itself. So why do I feel like I’m a phony or that I’m behind schedule?
First of all, I’m absolutely new to this. I know a few people here and there who have home schooled in the past, but it is such a foreign world to me full of new vocabulary, social groups, expectations and simply a different rhythm of life. I understand the material for my little first grader….but I am not certain of what exactly he is expected to learn, how to document it in a way that satisfies the government, and if any of it is really sinking in. I suppose the primary reason I haven’t much confidence is directly related to my lack of preparation (or at least “feeling” prepared).
Time: Or lack thereof
As I mentioned I have a newborn who we were blessed with the week before school started. We didn’t have the “go ahead” to home school until shortly before baby boy’s birth, which didn’t grant much preparation time to begin with. So not knowing anything about homeschooling, I had a few weeks to decide on our curriculum and currently have very little time to prep for following day. When it comes to the lessons themselves, I don’t have nearly the amount of free time as I had in-visioned at all. So when I finally do get some one on one time with my first grader, I can’t help but think of how much of it I waste gathering materials or sorting or looking things up.
Even if I had the confidence and preparation, I realize now that what I thought was curriculum, is actually a bunch of supplemental workbooks to go along with teaching lessons. They are great for what they are designed for, just not what I thought I purchased. I can deduce from the worksheets what needs to be taught, but I’m afraid I’m bogging my son down with a bunch of paperwork. He doesn’t seem to mind most days, but the days he does….boy to they drag on and on. I believe this is what kills me the most, we can end up in a homework battle to complete the worksheets so he can be free to play, and I fear that I’m sucking all the fun out of learning.
We started a week ahead, and considering this is his birthday week, I’m just using this time to review what we’ve already covered, catch my breath, and take it easy. I realize this post sounds rather whiny, and I do apologize, I simply feel completely overwhelmed. I must say that sorting out these emotions as I type have already helped me process them. Now that I have some distance from the rawness of it all, I can see that I’m not failing as miserably as I feel I am. Sure, I’m not where I want to be, but I need to remember the positive elements. I need to remember the sweet moments my boys have been able to share since I have them both at home. The life lessons my son is learning about resourcefulness, responsibility, and community. The social and physical elements from last year that I’m protecting him from, not to mention the extra freedom he has to play, discover and explore his imagination. Again, we have already covered so much, I have to remember we’re doing just fine.
So, if I can keep those elements in mind, I can muster the motivation to keep going. 🙂
I could write an entirely separate post on why we chose to home school, but I must say these past weeks taught me that we definitely made the right decision and incredibly underestimated the cost and work involved. I’ve also gleaned a clearer vision for what I want to accomplish with our homeschooling experience. I suppose I should have narrowed down our school’s “mission statement” before we began, but hey, this chance to home school came as a last-minute opportunity, and I’m just thankful we were brave and obedient enough to seize it.
All in all, six weeks in and though I am absolutely struggling, I am not drowning enough to quit. Even more so, I have faith that if I simply would place my trust, emotions, and energy in Him, then things would go much more smoothly. When we are physically and mentally taxed, it’s so easy to slip into feeling alone and overwhelmed. So I suppose I’ll close with a few scriptures to encourage anyone in a similar boat and to remind myself that it’s not all on my shoulders.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:6
“Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” -James 1:2-8
“I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13