Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homeschool's Downside

Pajama Math 101
Homeschooling three kids in three different grade levels while traveling the country is a great idea, but the words that have popped in my head all year are:  What was I thinking?

Having taught school for 15 years, I actually thought homeschool teaching would be a breeze.  Reading my earlier posts about rolling out of bed around nine to start the school day in pajamas, hands-on science and social studies lessons and creative arts and crafts, I realize I conveniently left out the downside.  And there is definitely a downside.  For all the laughter and lighthearted fun we've had educating our children, I'm not sure it outweighs the mantel of responsibility constantly around our neck; there is no one to turn to or blame, but yourself, if they are behind in school, and there is the shame of admitting that missing your children is part of the enjoyment of being with them.  I have no regrets about our great experiment, but I know that I am a one-year-homeschool-teaching-mom.

Okay.  Just writing these thoughts down makes feel me racked with guilt.  Let me explain...

Stress - Structure = No Fun
I think I've established that I love my children and I love being with my children.  But I used to look forward to being with them.  I always planned special outings or activities that I thought we would enjoy together.  Holidays were the best with sharing traditions and decorating the house with homemade crafts.  I could sit for hours putting glitter on snowflakes or cutting out pink and red hearts.  I perused Martha Stewart Living and Disney's Family Fun magazines looking for the perfect item to make, bake or recreate with my kids.  Each month's delivery of those magazines had me dropping everything to turn the glossy pages feeling certain our creations would look just like the art department's airbrushed production.

Try cutting up a cardboard's a "Good Thing."

Nurse's station 
But with the weight of homeschool, our special creative time has fallen by the wayside.  We spend hours together differentiating between a proper adjective and a predicate nominative or fighting over the correct way to find the circumference of a circle.  When we are finally finished with reading, writing and arithmetic, no one, parents and children alike, is interested in attempting Martha's latest "Good Thing" or Disney's 7 Little Things that mock us with their weekly emails.  Homeschool may have free tuition, but it definitely has a price.

Not gourmet, but it makes a mess just the same.
Then, there are the dishes.  Home schooling means home cooking which leads to home cleaning.  When I contemplated the implications of homeschooling I never considered the amount of daily cooking and cleaning required.  Cooking two to three meals a day plus snacks and beverages translates to a lot of dirty dishes.  During our regular school and work years, we ran the dishwasher every two days.  This year, we average two loads per day.  Thank heaven for a dishwasher!  Hand washing would have had me tied to the sink or completely deplete of cash from doing as Miss Yvonne did on Pee Wee's Playhouse: 

"Once I let the dirty dishes pile right up to the ceiling!"
"What did you do then, Miss Yvonne?" asked Pee Wee.
"I bought new dishes." 

Hands-on Science

Six Mile High School

Learning Debris

We are now in our final days of home school.  Knowing all these petty life details will fade into a distant memory, I feel the need to share my honest thoughts while fresh in my mind.  I have no doubt that I will reflect happily on each moment of our year spent together- our year of family unity and security- without too much of the outside world's opinions and restrictions.  Next year, when our family is knee deep in project assignment due dates, nightly homework, baseball practices, friends' sleepovers and dance recitals, I will laugh that I ever complained about dirty dishes and NOT missing my kids.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the honesty! The first year of anything is tough getting used too. I'm sure you were a better teacher at year 3 than you were at year 1. Would any of the kids like to continue homeschool? It's good they had the two of you as their "teachers". You are very blessed.
    Jill Dennis


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