19 January 2009

The REAL moments of homeschooling

I love reading other blogs by homeschooling Moms, I mean you guys are so encouraging and you inspire me. I love being reminded why I am homeschooling, and when our homeschool days are going well, I mentally write blog posts. I want to share all the lovely things we did, my childrens funny comments and of course how clever they are!

Of course not too many of us write about our dull days, our days of struggling, the days when we secretely wonder,"Lord is this really worth it?" and "What am I doing to these kids?"

It's hard to confess that I have to grit my teeth at times and remind myself to be patient when my son forgets a Math fact he learned months ago...again. When my toddler whines for my attention for what seems like all morning, despite all attempts to distract her and my four year old starts and unfinishes about a dozen projects, leaving little bits of paper and glue and supplies scattered all over, I think, "oh boy, this would be a terrible advert for homeschooling"

You see, I visualise you other sweet Moms, smiling, as you tackle the math problem with your smoothly thought out tactics, whilst you have a toddler playing quietly at your feet with her toys in your neatly organised school room. Your 4 year old is of course coloring in her "school books" and playing with the educational games you specially laid out the night before, packing each one away before she takes out another, just as you trained her.


Well, let me tell you about today then, honestly. It started with me reminding Mr J that it was school in about an hour. (You know, it is Monday, this happens. SA only starts school officially on Wed but we've been at it for a while, easing in slowly) That was a BAD thing to say. My sweet content 7 year old who had been spooning his way through a bowl of porridge turned into a little dark thunder cloud.

The storm drifted upstairs for a little chat with pappa. (this never happens in your house of course) And returned downstairs as a deluge, 30 in later, as floods of tears erupted all over my couch, with me and pappa trying hard to be firm but express the need for consistency in doing school, sticking to the job etc etc

Eventually he sobbed, "I hate school" (your children all love homeschooling and always thank you for homeschooling them :-)

When we asked him if he particularily liked anything about school, he said, "only reading, none of the rest" So me, forever hopeful, asked, "But what about Weaver?" No.
"You seem to love your CLE LA"
No no no, it is all too much. All the CLE is too hard. I am only seven.
Too much work, too hard, school goes on forever.

We graciously point out that at the worst we're doing formal work for 3 hours and that is not solid time and that the neighbours children are at school from before 8 till way after 1pm. No effect.

Pappa makes an exit for work at this stage, (wise man) and leaves me with the chap, who is now just eager to "get school over with" so that he can go play. Upstairs, slump at the desk. Rigid, stares in front of him. A pencil. Fumble fumble, clatter goes the whole bunch of stationery. Never mind, I'll get it....

Ok, which subject shall we do first. You choose. Okay, CLE Social Science, that's great. See you get a sticker for each subject you complete today. Ten minutes pass. No great enthusiasm but one subject completed and sticker applied on chart. Well done, that is lovely. See you're doing fine, now just a little more. You ony need to do corrections for LA today and the rest of your lst Math lesson and Science.

What next? CLE Math. Okay. We work together just fine for 5 min till he needs to do the "on my own" part. He can't concentrate. Stares into space, throws a fit, thumps the desk with his fist. I count slowly under my breath. "Do you need a quiet spot to work in?" Yes, that is what he needs. Off he goes, down the passage. To the spare room desk. ( I think) No, no no, he's heading for our room. Now what 7 yo can write neatly on a bed or concentrate amongst cuddly pink pillows? But I must try make allowances, after all this is homeschool. Trying to think rationally balancing mommy thoughts and teacher thoughts. Interuppted by "Mommmmmmy I need to go potty" I exit to sort out toddler whilst Mr J settles to his Math lesson. (Amongst the puffy pillows)

Duty done, I now engage Shelley in a bit of quality time whilst Mr J is occupied. Miss Emma is playing with a friend so no problem there today. We do lots together. Time check, how are you doing J. No, we're not doing well. We just cannot concentrate. Try the desk, no no just needed fresh air. Returns to puffy pillow spot.

Then Emma, Lusanda and Shelley and I make elephants with paper plates. Crayone, glue, paper and mess everywhere. Shelley is petrified of hers and won't even look at it. Emma wants to cut holes in her plate for eyes with a craft knife, so it can be a mask. Now Shelley is beside herself with fear. It's alive! Lusands also wants mask. Okay, two happy elephants charge around the house. Shelley is glued to my hip. Time check. Oh my has half an hour already passed?

Proceed to bedroom, to find Mr J crumpled up asleep over Math book. Hard to control feelings at this point. Things are not looking good. My Monday schedule and all it's goals lay crumpled on my pink duvet. He awakes bleary eyed. I say he should just sleep and forget school today.

The nap must have revivied him. He insists that we do school NOW. I agree. (why?) Painstackingly complete the Math lesson. Attempt to do speed drill. Give up after each sum is repeated about five times and returned with that look. You know the one that says, "I am miles away from here"

Okay let's do some drill work instead, with manipulatives and other Math stuff. (thanks Mark Shuttleworth, you're an inspiration to a 7 yo) Sticker applied to chart very half heartedly as I glance at how little of our goal we accomplished.

Right LA corrections, some arguing about the grammar rules, intense shaking and thumping again, then a "oh, yes I remember now".

By now Shelley is whining for Barney. You see she is on a rehab program for Barney addicts and bwing weaned. The new rule in 2009 is NO BARNEY DURING SCHOOL! My head is thumping and I could do with a cup of tea. Shall we have a short break and then finish up? NO, I want to do it all now, I can do it. Otherwise we won't get to it. Right okay, press on...

LA done. Now spelling. I excitedly pull out my trump card of the day. "Today you do not have to write out your spelling words. We are going to use Spell City on the computer, and it's going to be fun" Eyes lighten up, like the day is at last saved. Ready to go... yes?

NO.... Mom underestimated the skill required for typing and thinking and spelling all at once. First word is t-y-p-e-d. Shall I type and you spell aloud? NO! I can do it. Melt down, tears... Okay let us do it slowly, it will be ok, it is just ten words, see? Restored we press on at snails pace. Shelley likes the sound effects and repeats each word, American accent and all.

Number nine at last, ooops the return key is pressed. Disaster. Test erased. Mr J falls off chair dramatically in tears. I hurriedly re-enter all the words as he had them. Final score 2 wrong. Crisis. Not full marks. Want to do them over? (pleeez say no, I pray) Yes, typing a bit faster now, we're getting the hang of this. BINGO 100%. Yeah well done, okay now you can put the sticker on your chart.

Are we done yet? Just CLE Science level 100 LU 1 . Slump, head rolls back. Take book out, open pages, show him how little it is and how easy the lesson is for him. Growl. What is this stuff? You call this science? I explain patiently. Enthusiasm, or the closest I have seen to it rises.

Joel, it says to colour (color in US) the pictures in, would you like to leave that since it is so late? NO, I must do it all. Pages completed, lesson all about colours, beautifully. Well done Joel, you really tried there. Sticker on chart. At last we're all done.

Barney dvd slides into place, Shelley slides into her comfy chair, happy at last to be re-united with the purple creature that loves her.

Suddenly there is a spark in his step and a twinkle in his eyes, "Can I have computer time now?" I look at the clock. When are we going to do Weaver I wonder? With a sigh I realise we that we have no milk and nappies (diapers) and still have to go shopping and it's after 12. Daddy will be home at 1pm.

I hurry downstairs, though I feel like crawling into bed. Set the table and lay it all pretty for lunch with a loaf of bread out the bread maker (at least I got something right today) Time for a quick cup of tea and a headache tablet.

Later, over lunch, Pappa asks Joel, so how was school?
"It was the best day we've had this year" he says.

Mmmm.... I feel like I have been hit with a ten pound hammer. My thought race about, "Lord if this was a good day, how bad can it get?" I think I hear Him saying "Trust me" But I think of my beautiful schedule that I took so long to write. I want to trust the schedule. I hear him saying somewhere in the noise that there are other lessons to be learned this year. And I remember what it is all about, wearily, and thank Him for the opportunity to work with His gift to me. Scrap the schedule, I'm going to pray about tomorrow.

But of course, these things never happen in your house.



  1. Thanks for posting this Lindy, now I know I am not the only one who has days like that. Every time we try to work according to a schedule, the "wheels come off"

  2. Oh, I know these days, and it is good to post about them. Like you said, we don't really share about those days.

    I think it is interesting that he said it was the best day all year - wonder what magic you worked to make him think that?? :) Hang in there! Hope today is a smoother day! :)

  3. I know exactly what you are talking about. Even though D is not homeschooled, we struggle just the same. It is very hard but we do succeed in the end (with or without a little help from others).

    You're doing a great job!

  4. That sounds about normal around here. :) I've gotten to the point when moms ask about homeschooling (because they are thinking about doing it, too), I tell them quite honestly that there are days when I want to pack it all in...but overall, I am so glad we homeschool.

    susan w from weaver yahoo group

  5. I have to say I was laughing out loud! Sometimes I feel I have more days like this than any other. I like your outlook, I think Im going to go pray now.

  6. Excellent Excellent post! You had me laughing out loud because - of course - our home is exactly like that on days. Thank you for this encouraging giggle. You really do have such a gift with words!
    Shirley Ann


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