Real Life Homeschooling: The Best Days...And the Worst

Hang on folks. This week I’m bringing you….a look at Real Life Homeschooling.

Tell the truth. If you aren’t a homeschooler, you’ve probably pictured us sitting around in pjs all day eating bon bons and maybe reading a book or two to the kids. Or maybe you’ve pictured us dressed in our blue jean jumper uniforms sitting straight and tall at desks drilling Latin verbs and practicing the violin all day.

Whatever your view of homeschool is, you’re about to learn the truth. It’s Real Life Homeschooling. I’m going to be sharing the down and dirty this week with these post topics:

Monday: The Best Days…And the Worst

Tuesday: When the Bad Days Come, Hold On and Keep On

Wednesday: The Kids Speak

Thursday: The Dad Speaks

Friday: A Real Day In Our Real Life Homeschool

A homeschooling friend was talking to me the other day about deciding to homeschool. She had talked to as many homeschoolers as she could find. She wanted to know all the ends and outs and what to expect. After hearing these out and taking in information, she finally ended up with an older, experienced homeschool mama. And she asked this mom to tell her, not all the great benefits of homeschooling or how much fun she had or how she had the perfect co-op. No, she wanted the experienced mom to tell her about the bad days.

Sometimes I feel like the bad days somehow become taboo. We can’t tell other people about them because they might think we are really screwing up, that maybe we don’t know what we’re doing. So we tell them about the good days. We tell them how high our kid scored on a standardized test or how we’re teaching Latin and Greek. We tell them how well our schedule is working and how wonderful the new curriculum is.

But I think that only talking about the good days isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to other homeschoolers because it makes other moms feel insecure. It isn’t fair to friends thinking about homeschooling because it creates an unrealistic expectation. And it isn’t fair to ourselves because it causes us to resent those bad days, to be discontent with them.

So, I’m breaking the taboo. Here is a look at one of our bad days. And then I’ll end with a look at a really good day. Because- I’m telling the total truth here- the bad days are so totally worth it when wrapped up with the good. They just are.

Once upon a time I was the mom of a very stubborn five year old. (She’s still stubborn, but she isn’t five.) I had a glorious idea for an activity one day. I read Make Way for Ducklings to her and her slightly older sister. And I was going to have them draw a picture and narrate to me what the story was about. I was going to write the narration at the bottom of their picture. Lovely, right?

Older child finishes the picture; I ask for the narration. She gives me a few sentences which I write down. Wonderful! It’s a happy time. Stubborn child brings me her paper when I call her. I ask for a narration. Nothing. I know the problem isn’t comprehension. This child has great comprehension. She answers questions. She can narrate and recount a story. This is an easy task for this child. I ask again for a narration. Nothing. I open the book and show her a picture. “Tell me what’s happening in this picture, and I’ll write it down.” Nothing. “Just give me one good sentence.” Nothing.

At this point, I realize the child has drawn an imaginary line in our imaginary sand. She’s created a battle that I feel is important to win. So I tell her she can’t go do anything else until she’s told me at least one good sentence. I fill her with positive encouragement. “I know you know how to do this. You can come up with good sentences. You know about this story.” Nothing.

We sat in that position for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. I kid you not. The child alternated between tears and being mad. Every few minutes I would say calmly, “Would you like to tell me your sentence now?” Finally she relented. She told me a really good narrative sentence. I wrote it down and she went on her merry way.

It was a hard day. Looking back I can laugh. At the time, I felt like a failure. I had produced this extremely stubborn child who wouldn’t even tell me a sentence when I asked! But…

Once upon a time, I took all four kids, and we went to our local nature museum. It was just us, no friends or anyone else with us this time. Everyone was being pleasant with each other. Kids were joking and laughing on the ride. We went into the nature museum and walked around looking at exhibits.

The kids went into the young children’s play room. And because there were no other kids in the middle of the morning, they stayed to play, the older kids playing along with the younger two and everyone laughing. I sat and watched and took a few pictures.

As we walked into the animal exhibits, every child was mentioning things they saw and tying them in with things we had recently been learning- without my asking! I could see that they were really understanding things we had been talking about.

It was a good day, a day when I realized what we were learning was making sense. It was a day when we had so much fun together, and I was so glad I had this time with these kids.

So here’s the truth friends. We all have the bad days. Kids are bickering. Kids are sick. We’re sick. It’s been raining for day, and kids can’t play outside. We lose it and yell. But we have so many, many good days. We laugh together. We spend time together. We watch that child who has been struggling with that concept finally get it, and the light bulb goes on. That makes the hard days worth it. And that’s real life.

Post a Comment

As We Walk Along the Road © . Design by Berenica Designs.