I didn’t call at lunch the first day away at my writer’s conference. Oh, I wanted to, but I refrained. I emailed in the afternoon instead. How are things going?
“Four cranky. 2 pouty. 3 sweet but pushing boundaries++ 1 really trying. See ya tonight.” (Short and sweet report, as is typical of my husband).
Somewhere along the line, we thought coding their identity with their number placement in the family kept privacy. It did. At their age, we can’t spell their names out loud or even say them in French–they’ve learned that too. So, the number thing stuck.
Here’s what I learned about the realities of homeschool, myself, and my homeschool kiddos in my time away.
Here’s some of the things I learned in the realities of homeschool.
It’s not the studies I wondered if my husband could maintain–okay, maybe–I do homeschool at a clipping pace.
It’s not even handling the kids: I’ve seen him in action, he’s perfectly capable.
But ALL day?
Well, until my daughter shares on her iPod: “Dad’s really not letting Rachel and Zach get away with anything anymore”.
“Oh, you think he used to?” I asked (know he’s been no-nonsense since the beginning).
“Oh yeah, mom, it would be like the third or fourth time that he’d finally give consequences. Most of the floors were washed this afternoon!”
Out of the mouth of pre-adolescent babes… (Sounds like he’s surviving just fine.)
There are other realities of homeschool I’ve learned from my time away too:
1. Sometimes my kids and I are with each other too often.
Well, you all know that. Some of you have suggested you wouldn’t want to be with your kids as often as I am. When you’ve home educated long enough, you know that you do indeed get to be with them more than you need to some days. They would say the same.
Sometimes you have to be separate from the ones you love to appreciate them.
2. Mama has got to have something that is just HER apart from her kids.
I knew this already. Twelve years as a parent has taught me that I need to have my own identity, outside of my role as mother. Though I love love love the mother role, and am honoured to have my sweet lil things, I am separate from them too.
3. Role of housemom is underrated.
It really is, but you know what?
There are worse things than people undervaluing the under girders of the societal fabric: healthy human beings (like true poverty and health issues or feeling guilty that I’m not with them or not able to be with them when I want to be).
In our western culture…
- producing faster than the speed of light is VALUABLE,
- owning lots of stuff is VALUABLE,
- having letters after your name is VALUABLE, and…
- acting haughty surely proves that you know you’re VALUABLE.
Being a mama and influencing the culture to be more human, loving those that you care for and infusing them with interpersonal skills and affirming their value and worth is VALUABLE. Nuff said.
4. I get a LOT written and a LOT researched when the kiddos aren’t around.
5. The library is a great place to work. So quiet.
Coffee shops are overrated for writers: there’s great coffee and free WiFi, but unless I’m planning a new character or learning natural dialogue (aka listening to others’ conversations)…a quiet library stall is the ideal place for writing.
6. Sometimes we excuse ourselves for our unkindness and impatience as home educating mothers because we are overrun with the littles’ needs and complaints and expectations, and our hefty expectations for ourselves towards them is unrealistic.
But treating them with gentle kindness and gazing into their eyes as they tell their stories is as important for us as it is for the mama who spends 40 hours away from them.
It’s good to get away. Get perspective. Learn a few things that living in the globe of our busyness and their noise sometimes distracts me from hearing.
7. No matter how consuming or frustrating some days may feel, home educating my children is very rewarding. I wouldn’t turn back my choice for a second.
Though I would change the content of plenty of days…my reactiveness to them, their reactiveness to each other, choosing certain curriculum content or a hundred other things, I am privileged and thankful to home educate my children.
What have you learned about the realities of homeschool, about yourself and your children as you’ve spent time away?
Homeschool Mama Self-Care: Nurturing the Nurturer
“My homeschooling journey has included a growing pile of books that I have read, browsed, or barely got past the first chapter. This book is just delightful and a gem! It’s not only helpful and inspiring but also funny. The author is like that no-nonsense brave friend who is looking out for you and your well-being as a homeschooling mama. We all need that friend and I am taking my time as I work my way through the chapters and enjoying it all. I love the section on overcoming overwhelm, grappling with perfectionism, and minding and working through our emotions. This book is worth its weight in gold. Find a quiet place to read, bring a warm cup of tea, and enjoy!”
–Sonia in S. Jersey