I love homeschooling. I love the idea, the concept, the warm fuzziness.
I’m having a bit of trouble, though, with the execution. For one thing, it’s just really hard to teach anything when Ramona is going through the shrieky “I have a voice!” phase she’s going through right now, and Zuzu continues her habit of nonsequitor interruptions (“Julie! Julie! You have really long hair!”).
So there’s that. And then there’s the whole thing of: are they learning anything? Sure, they’re learning to get along. But are they learning anything?
After sending out a plea to one of the local homeschool email lists, I received many, many responses (which I’ve printed out and stuck in my homeschool organizer) that all said: “Don’t worry about it. The first year is crazy. We were all crying and shaken the first year. You will look back on this year and laugh at how ridiculous you were being, at how much emphasis you were putting on things that don’t actually matter. You are in survival mode. If you get to the end of the day, and they’re all happy and healthy, then your job is done.”
I will admit that, while these messages were massively reassuring, I’m still a weensy bit skeptical. If they want to learn Latin, shouldn’t we be, you know, learning Latin? And, more importantly, how will they learn to focus and work hard if we’re not all working on that? (Especially since it’s something I still have to work so hard on. I’m the most distractable person on the planet.)
Someone else said I should not worry about the younger kids, but should just focus on Henry, and the others will come along for the ride. So, for the rest of the year (until May, I mean), that’s mostly what I’m doing. Focusing on the three R’s, with Henry. If other educational inspirations come up, as they surely will, then we’ll pursue them to the best of our ability.
Because here’s the other thing: freaking out about getting enough academics is making me freaked out. When I’m freaked out, I tend to be Angry Mommy, especially when the kids sponge up every molecule of my attitude and are sassy and defiant in response. Vicious-homeschool-angry-not-learning cycle. So now I just try to breathe. Deeply. A lot.
I also am trying (well, today, at least) to speak slowly. I’m a fast talker, but eight or so years of sleep deprivation means my brain can’t keep up with my mouth, and I say things like, “Time for breakfast…lunch…dinner! Zuzramona!” Which definitely adds to the harried homeschool vibe. So I breathe, and speak slowly. If one of the kids asks me for something, and I’m doing something else, rather than sighing, dropping my own task, and resentfully going to the kid, I’m trying to say, calmly, “I’ll help you with that as soon as I finish with X.” And then I finish what I was doing, without rushing. They can wait. And they do.
Maybe you are all rolling your eyes at the common sense of this, but this is a revelation for me. Today, Angry Mommy was nowhere to be found.
What about you? Any veteran or newbie homeschoolers out there with words of wisdom/feelings of panic to share?