I hope you all have enjoyed the last splashes of Summertime!! It's a busy time of year for many of you as you prepare your homes and hearts for the Fall Festivities of Life, (i.e. school)!! There's something comforting in hearing the drone of the school bus engine rev back to life. Something familiar about the dailiness of it. This year "school" has taken up a lot of my mind and heart time. I can't believe we're in "that" phase already....our boy is 5 and it's time for school.
Anyway, homeschooling. I don't know if I'm really into that label per se, but it's what I'm doing this year, the choice we've made for 2010-2011. I really don't know why I am filled with so much self doubt. This has always been something I've thought about, much the same way I've thought and felt about home birthing.....just a personal decision. A decision that is made on a child-by-child basis or in this case, a year to year basis. Yesterday was a rough day for me as our district started school, "real" school. I heard the fire crackers go off at 6:45am, (I'm sure it was the parents celebrating, not the kids)!! :) I watched the buses go by, saw the stream of "first day of school" pictures flood my facebook home page and thought about what Tyler's missing. WHAT HAVE I DONE? What if he's missing out on an amazing Kindergarten year, first time experiences, social interaction on a daily basis with kids his age, circle time? I had a rough day full of self doubt and anxiety. Thoughts of just taking him to the door and registering him on the spot, (I know they don't do that, but I still thought about it).
I cried to Jake and struggled within myself the entire.day. Serious second thoughts. And then this morning came and we had our "first day of Kindergarten". What changed from when I crawled in bed last night to this morning I'm not sure, but I woke up ready to dive in....okay, ready to put my toe in is more like it. I was so scared. What the heck? All these emotions came flooding over me again. How can one nights sleep change things so much? These expectations are completely self imposed and yet I feel, in the back of my mind and heart that I have to prove myself to those around me. That's no way to live life and it certainly isn't the way to live a TRULY FREE life. Fear of man, no thank you. Expectations of man, I'll pass. We got dressed, the boys had some new shirts they were very proud of. We ate breakfast and they put their little backpacks on and we went onto the front porch. I'll be doing some preschool work with Luke as well. We took some pictures of our first day and they each released ONE balloon. A little tradition we're starting with the kids....each year they will add another balloon. Probably around 7th grade, (or before) they'll roll their eyes at me, but I'll make them do it anyway! :) Then we all walked back into the living room. I had to laugh. Who was I kidding? Was I playing pretend school with them? Would they take me seriously or just run to play trains and completely disregard what I say?
They sat down at our newly renovated "school room". And we cracked the books. Paisley was on my lap, Tyler to my left and Luke on my right and I felt totally overwhelmed. Since I haven't fully decided on a curriculum as of now we just simply started with the good ol' letter A. We did some worksheets and came up with funny stories with words that start with the letter A. Tyler practiced writing the letter A, "can you write an A here?" I asked. "Should I do lowercase or uppercase A Mom?" Well, okay then!! We had snack time together with their new containers/drink bottles I got them. Tyler has a "cars" set and Luke has a "toy story" set. We cut out a small, medium and large apple and taped it on the door, with worms coming out of them. We walked to the library and Tyler got his own library card, (so proud). He had to tell the Lady how to spell his name and his address, (with some help from Mom). Together we picked out 5 books that started with the letter A. We walked home, ate lunch and read some of the books. We played "brain quest" and Tyler loved it. We ate apple pie. He played on starfall.com for a bit. And then we all took naps.
I was dead tired. Seriously, I haven't been that tired in.a.very.long.time. I know that with any transition in life there are adjustments. I don't know what I'm doing, I'll be the first to say it, however I have a desire to learn, some excellent resources and a great group of Moms to balance this all this out with, (sounds a lot like when I was pregnant with my firstborn)! Starting next week we'll be together with a group of approx. 20 children, twice a week. I look forward to sharing with you our journey through our first, (and possibly last?) year of homeschooling. I hold this whole concept very lightly and have no expectations for our homeschooling future. My very loosely held goal and desire with Tyler is to begin to teach him how to read this year. I hesitate to even share that for fear of failure. But I'm going to anyway.....who am I trying to impress with this decision I've made? It's just something I wanted to try and how will I know if this is for us without trying? That question brings me back around to what I wrote about at the start of this post....what if I'm messing Tyler up? Keeping him back from great things? As someone once said, "We're not changing the world or anything here! Just give them some coloring books and flash cards and call it a day!!" I don't necessarily agree with that, (the last part), but the underlying tone was well received. Stop stressing about the decisions you've made and JUST DO THE BEST you can with where you're at. I'm going to embrace this decision and HAVE A BLAST TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY!!! I want the boys to remember this year as one of FUN, CREATIVITY, STRUCTURE AND EXPLORATION!!! One thing I am really looking forward to, (once we work out the new kinks of schedule/routine/nap times) is THE QUALITY TIME WITH TYLER that I will have. The day to day interaction and growth that I get to watch happen before my eyes. There are many, many things that will be required of me this year unlike other years. Time management, organization, following through, just to name a few. Those attributes aren't my strong suit that's for certain. I'm willing to be changed though, (I WANT to change those things about me). Homeschooling for 2010-2011 will FORCE this. And I'm okay with that, (check with me again in November, maybe again in February and then also in April on that last statement)!!!!!!! :)
LIFE IS A JOURNEY, NOT AN ASSEMBLY LINE. That's how I feel about parenting/schooling....we all do things differently, (FOR NO BETTER OR WORSE), just DIFFERENTLY. I hope you don't judge me the way I've judged other homeschool Moms in the past, but if you do I'll have to be okay with that.....somehow life has a way of shifting things you always *thought* toward others. I've had to really look inward and ask for forgiveness for my thoughts toward "them". I didn't understand so I judged.....safer that way.
*You think you're better then me because you homeschool.
*Your poor children are stuck at home because of you're decisions.
*Apparently you think it's more "godly" to keep your kids at home?
*Who do you think you are to do something that is MEANT for professionals?
*You have control issues.
*You must not truly trust God with your kids, otherwise you'd send them to school like normal people do.
*Superwoman? Please, stop trying to impress everyone.
*You just want to keep your children out of "the world."
Those are just a FEW of my inner thoughts I've had over the years about homeschooling in general....now I'm there, right in it and it feels so different, so scary. I feel small, not "in charge" or "cool" or "super" by any means. Quite the opposite actually, I feel so inadequate. This process has awakened feelings in me that I didn't know were there or I thought have been "worked through"~~fear of what other people might think and say, expectations I have on myself that are unrealistic, (in other areas besides homeschooling), feelings of inadequacy, (who wants to do stuff they might not be good at? It's hard to try something new)!!, self-doubt, comparison, anxiety.
My God has a way of revealing the black places of my heart. Ultimately, it's HIS OPINION OF ME, OF OUR HOUSEHOLD THAT MATTERS MOST.
so if you're still reading, bless your heart and eyes......today I pray this prayer over you wherever you are and whatever you're facing:
"God~help us to care more about what YOU think then what others SAY. Amen."
"For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs." ~Zephaniah 3:17