Our first months of homeschool and our learning spaces

November 8, 2012 in homeschoooling

Lack of time and energy have made blogging hard lately. I don’t know how to educate my children at home, manage the house, and blog at the same time. The rare moment of alone time is filled with calling an adult to talk. I still write in my head some, still imagine what areas you might need encouragement in and try to post about them. But I’ve felt like  a blogging failure as some weeks I barely post at all.

These first months of homeschooling have left me dry. I think in lessons, not written words.

Today I thought I would share about our first months of homeschooling-including pictures of our homeschool space which would never make the cover of a magazine included! First months of homeschooling

The Gratitudes:

  • Homeschooling is flexible. We do less work during soccer season and more in the winter. No more rushing home on weeknights or hoping we don’t make the finals of a tournament because there is so much homework left to do. Learning happens everywhere. In the store, before bed, in the car because we all study together. And reading happens on sun-soaked pavement, in the tree or curled up with a blanket on a couch with a guinea pig!
  • Time for Chores. The girls can do chores, school, and guitar all before soccer practice. I no longer skip chores or guitar so they can have downtime.
  • The girls fight less. Perhaps because if they fight, there is no one else around to play with? Or because my oldest is not listening all day to kids complain about authority figures and siblings?
  • My kids see everything I do. They learn what it takes to run a house, to pay bills, to find deals on curriculum, to study the Bible, to pray for a friend who calls, to stop in the middle of frustration and rewrap with patience from God.
  • Great education. I love what they are learning. I love teaching. I love addressing the things they missed in public school and accelerating their strengths. And I love seeing the world unfold and eyes brighten as they make connections between history and real life.
  • Advice from others. I know a few homeschool families personally and many bloggers, but connecting with experience is priceless.
  • Jordan. Our good friend. He comes every other week and does school with my girls from 9 am – 1 pm. I am sure he has preserved my sanity. We affectionately call him our favorite sub.
  • Tea. When stress levels and tears peak (and they do, every week), all three of us have started making tea. We think we are fabulously British when add cream and sugar.
  • My house is messy. Yes, this is a praise. I’ve never been a neat person. I’ve struggled learning the art of organizing. Now that I am homeschooling I no longer feel guilty about this–there isn’t time!

The struggles.

  • My kids see everything I do. The extra chocolate chips I sneak, the choice to watch Parenthood when I should be cooking dinner, the times I don’t follow my own rules about Facebook hours, and the times I don’t rewrap my frustration in patience. I’ve clouded my lack of patience in a pretty phrase, but it is ugly and sometimes looks like angrily raising my voice and placing blame.
  • My kids are always here. There are no neighborhood kids that come to play when school gets out. They are always here and I miss the “me” recharging time that happened when they went to public school. First time homeschooling
  • Lack of girl drama. It’s not that I enjoy girl drama but I wonder what life lessons my girls are missing by not having to face the meanness of tweens. Will it hurt them to miss out on these lessons or strengthen them? I worry too much.
  • Missing old friends. We had a strong group of friends and moms that we loved at our public school. We still see some of them, but it is not the same. Homeschooling feels lonely despite our co-op.
  • My kids are always here. Did I mention this yet? By 3 o’clock on Thursday (Tuesday some weeks)  I am ready to ship them off for 24 hours. I am learning to create silent boundaries  but these girls of mine, they love to talk. They love to share. Even if I don’t help them, they prefer to do math snuggled up next to me. Sweet. For 10 minutes once a week,but not every day.  And some days, I swear one of them calls my name every 5 minutes.  Sometimes I want to scream, “Stop touching me!” This struggle is the biggest of them all. I thought I’d left these days of attached to the hip behind when they turned five. First year homeschooling

So dear friends, pray for me. Though my praises outnumber my struggles, the struggles feel heavy and many days my lack of patience is troubling. God is stretching me through this adventure and I can offer this lesson as encouragement for us both: Self-sacrifice may hurt, but it is the path to the peace of Christ. I am trying to grab hold of this truth and ride it to the end. Will you join me?

How can I pray for you today? Shoot me an email if you don’t want to leave it in the comments (the little envelope button on the top right will take you to email).

 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna November 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I’d missed the fact that you are homeschooling this year. You’re a strong mama, and I hope that as you obey what God’s called you to do, you’ll rely on the fact that He’ll equip you to carry it out. 🙂

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pruningprincesses November 10, 2012 at 3:59 am

Hi Jojo. I never dreamed I would homeschool and it is hard. But I am sure, for this time period, it is right and good. God is stretching me so much. Oh my. And the days are precious. When Bird has a birthday I try unsuccessfully not to think, only seven more years at home! Love you.

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Mothering From Scratch November 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

{Melinda} I so respect what you are doing. I know how hard it must be. Laura, I am praying for you. Your girls are so blessed and fortunate to have you as their mama.

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Barbie November 9, 2012 at 1:55 am

I understand these struggles. I have been exhausted lately and lacking in the blogging department as well. One huge benefit I see in you — you get to be home with your children! Yay! That is so wonderful. I am homeschooling, while working full time, and it’s so hard. I wish I had pictures of my homeschooling space, or things my daughter has done, but since we are “mobile homeschoolers” we aren’t ever in the same place. I love coming here to see the reality of what a full-time homeschooling day looks like! I think you’re doing a great job! Keep it up!

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pruningprincesses November 10, 2012 at 3:57 am

Hi Barbie. I can’t imagine trying to homeschool and work full time. Is your husband cooking? I imagine your daughter will grow up to be a great multi-tasker. I am not so great at multi-tasking, God knows this, maybe that’s why I get to be home! Love connecting with other homeschoolers (especially new ones who haven’t always done this–they seem to relate better!).

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Barbie November 12, 2012 at 5:28 am

Thankfully, my husband does help with the cooking. And he folds laundry too! Couldn’t do this without him.

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Tonia Sanders November 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

This is a really great post. I spent last year teaching my daughter at home and now I have sent her to kindergarten this year. I find it challenging both ways. Now there are outside influences and conversations that make me wonder, but I’m happy. I still have one at home for two more years. Best wishes to a successful homeschooling year with your girls. =)

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pruningprincesses November 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

Tonia,
Thank you for stopping by. Both my girls were in the public schools for several years. They heard things that I would not want them to, but at those young ages, it was easy to talk about and move past. They learned some tough lessons about how mean kids can be and how to stand in front of a class and give a presentation. It was great. Both ways definitely have good things!

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misssrobin November 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

More power to you! I have several friends who home school and for years I couldn’t understand it. Why on earth would anyone give up six hours of realtivvely free babysitting, especially when they are also learning. My hat is off to any who can manage it. I now see what a beautiful thing it can be, how natural it is. My health would never allow it now and my kids are 14-21, beyond me in many areas.

I love the way you included gratitudes and struggles. Isn’t that life?

Happy Sharefest. I hope your list of struggles gets smaller and smaller and you are able to find/make time for yourself. A certain amount of selfishness is appropriate self-care. Thank heavens you have a sub!

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pruningprincesses November 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

Hi Miss Robin,
Thank you for the encouragement. I never ever dreamed I would homeschool. I used to think those families were crazy. I still do somedays! I imagine the list of struggles and gratitudes will change regularly with neither list ever disappearing completely. And yes, there is a certain amount of selfishness that is necessary for a mama to be healthy. I am learning about this.

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Patty@homemakersdaily.com November 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

You can do it! I homeschooled my kids from kindergarten through high school. There were times when it was horrible and times when it was amazing! But overall I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Those were good years for all those reasons you mentioned. We had a very peaceful life and spent a lot of time together.

It’s hard but it’s worth every bit of the sacrifice you make.

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pruningprincesses November 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

Oh Patty, thank you for the encouragement. Your words were an excellent greeting to me after a weekend away and a late night planning what we would do for school. I wouldn’t trade this homeschool gig either though I am learning to let go of a few things. Laura

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Oh I am so glad you shared this link with me! Your frustrations are my frustrations too. Trying to fit it ALL in (blogging, cleaning, etc. on top of the homeschooling, extra-curricular activities, etc.) is so hard to do. I still try and just end up getting agitated that I can’t make it work. The loneliness is hard to take somedays. The lack of adult stimulation even more so. The fact that there is very little privacy (I can’t watch a TV show during the day, even if I wanted to…and yes, when I steal some chocolate chips we all do).

But you know, even through these frustrations, I still think it is all worth it!

I think it is wonderful that you have a tutor come in to give you a reprieve…what a wonderful idea!

Thanks again so much for forwarding this to me…it was great to read!

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pruningprincesses November 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

Kim, It warms my heart to read a comment from someone who really understands. I hesitated on publishing this post because I did not want to sound like a complainer. I AM glad we are homeschooling but it can be hard. So glad you had time to stop by. Hope you had fun on your SITS day.

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