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|To My Friends Who Live in My Computer
|Homeschooling is hard. It was a rough choice. I know that I have basically given up my daytime freedom until they are grown and gone; to where ever it is that they will go. Imagine that. Imagine that the day you take your child to the bus stop for the first day of kindergarten doesn't ever happen. Imagine that every day of your life is consumed with nonstop interaction with your children year after year.
I have been homeschooling for 8 years now. Sometimes it really is hard to believe that it has been that long. Other days I don't know how I've survived or how much longer I can continue. Most days I don't go out during the day, other than to get the mail. I watch the neighborhood ladies come and go. They shop, golf, play tennis, lunch with friends, breakfast with friends, go to the gym, and exercise. I don't ever do those things. I also know moms that fill their days with cleaning, cooking and laundry. I don't do much of those things during the weekdays either. That is usually left for my evenings that I don't work, in between running carpools and time on weekends. It is like having the workload of a working mother - but if that mother took her kids to work with her while she did her job.
I don't really fit into any kind of social group because when am I supposed to forge those relationships? Relationships should take work, time and commitment. None of which I have a surplus of right now. I often think about how it could be. I think about how it will be when they are all finished homeschooling and away at college and high school. Sometimes I think about all of the things that I think I will do.
I have my days that I feel frustrated and overwhelmed but I don't think it is from the act of schooling the kids. I think it is more a testament to the amount of time that I am alone. Virtually none. Very rarely is there silence. Sometimes I think my brain just needs the quiet. To be still.
When I was growing up my mother would send her children off to school and her husband left the house for work before dawn. She had a full day to accomplish her chores or enrich her pleasures. My husband works from home in our basement and has for well over a decade now. I had my first baby 16 years ago. I have been home with my kids every day for 16 years. There was a time that I had a family of 6 home every day for all 3 meals. Even now I still have a family of four at home.
I started thinking today about needing to schedule appointments. I need to have a mammogram. I am well overdue and this isn't good. I have 2 crowns that I need to have done. I can feel the cracks in my teeth getting larger. The kitchen and bathroom rugs were practically falling apart the last time I laundered them and I'd really like to go looking for some new ones. I should go buy a bread machine to help offset some of this gluten free starvation that I am feeling lately too. The kids really could use some new jackets for the fall. I'd like to reorganize that linen closet that is chalked full upstairs and causing the wheels of the door to jump the tracks. I need to go pick out paint for the laundry room since the repair work was completed. The hot tub has been sitting idle since it's repairs because we are out of chemicals and to get them would be a 45 minute trip. I'd like to plant some bulbs and look at fall mums. I'd like to call an old friend that I haven't seen in forever to meet for lunch or coffee -- in fact there are dozens of people in my life that I miss terribly. It's funny how I am never alone. Yet can feel so lonely. I can't believe that my time away will have to be spent doing these tedious tasks rather than spending some time with a friend over coffee.
There were years that I tried to do things during the day. I've tried to do aerobics, dance lessons, art lessons for the kids, bible studies and field trips. But it is really hard to stay on a schedule and accomplish all that is necessary. I learned that I had to make schooling a priority and everything else has just sort of hovered in this holding pattern as if they are waiting for me to remember that they are out there. Trust me. I haven't forgotten.
I first began homeschooling by choice. I looked at it as an adventure. I've always taken it very seriously, knowing that at anytime should something happen to me, the kids would have to go to school. As the kids grew older, my patience grew thinner. They like to test their boundaries and I don't get the same respect that a teacher in school would. I guess it isn't so much respect as it is fear. They don't fear me like they would another teacher or adult. The older two went to school in 8th and 6th grades. It was hard to do. I wanted to be able to keep them home but I just didn't feel that that was their path.
They are now both in high school. The younger two are still home with me and have never been in a formal school setting of any kind. They are studying 5th and 7th grade this year. They work diligently for the most part. It is very time consuming trying to accomplish and check all of their subjects each day. But make no mistake if I leave to go anywhere, answer a phone call or take a shower - school work takes a backseat to just about anything! Overseeing can be the stressful part. They are kids. Imagine what would happen in school if a 5th grade class or a 7th grade class were left on their own without a teacher...it wouldn't be pretty would it? Same thing would happen here.
Like I said, when we first chose to homeschool it was for personal reasons that we were encouraged. But I definitely felt led by something to make that choice. It wasn't a decision that was made hastily or without much prayer. If anyone had asked me if I thought I'd still be doing it 8 years later - I'm not sure what my answer would be. We were flying by the seat of our pants.
Along our journey, some information surfaced that solidified our choice to homeschool. Without sharing too much personal information, all that I will tell you is that it no longer is a choice for me to continue. Discontinuing homeschooling would be a poor option. Homeschooling seems that it is a necessity for our family now. It is funny how that turn of events can play tricks with your mindset. Rather than thinking I have the freedom to return them to the school system whenever I'd like - I know I am in this for the long haul now. Sometimes that feels daunting. I can feel almost trapped. It's not that I don't want to homeschool. It's knowing I don't really have a choice.
While I know what I am doing for my children is essential and I do love them dearly, I have my days of feeling tired and overwhelmed as I am only human. I am grateful to Facebook for allowing me to interact with my "friends" when I haven't showered yet and it is 3pm, when I am teaching math for the 3rd time and running low on patience and when I look around my home to find that it is obvious that a bomb has gone off in my kitchen yet again. I am grateful for my blogging website that allows me to "think out loud" and have someone hear me. Thank you Facebook and Blogspot - and much love to all that have "friended" me and listen to me while I whine! You are more important to me than you realize.
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