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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I'm not a quitter

A few people know that I've come about "this close" to giving up on homeschooling this year.

It wasn't because of one bad day, or even a stretch of time. It was more a feeling that maybe this wasn't such a great choice for us after all.

Some of this feeling was because this year has been one of adjustment. The biggest was the loss of a central meeting space for our large, multi-family coop. When oil prices skyrocketed, the church we were meeting in once a week (with its gym, classrooms and kitchen area) had to drop all its mid-week groups. Finding a new space that had all of these amenities (and was not occupied by preschools during the day) proved futile. And, so our group drifted apart.

There has been my ongoing struggle with Belly and math. We have switched to our third math program and, thankfully, no longer fight daily over her lessons, but she still struggles. I wonder, "is it me"?

There have been my concerns over Jilly, the "middle child" who does not have nearly the social network of my oldest. Wouldn't she be the cutest kid in her kindergarten class? Would she be happier, less melancholy about turning six?

Then there is D, whose speech is still a concern, as is his lack of same-age playmates.

And, then, because I am no martyr, there is me. Or "ME"! People joke that I spend a lot of time on the computer, but holymotherofwhomever, I think I'd go bat-shit crazy without the internet. In other words, I do get a little twitchy from having the kids near me all day long--especially as they get older and seem to need me less for survival and more for maid service. KWIM?

BUT, things have been looking up.

We've fallen into a better daily rhythm and probably a more realistic school work load than what we were attempting to do in the past. I've learned that if it ain't done by 1pm, it needs to wait to another day unless it involves coloring or reading. Belly is also making some small progress in math which is gratifying.

We've eliminated any morning activities or commitments, other than the occasional doctor appointments. Morning is for school and for my daily intake of coffee. Period.

I've started up a new coop with three like-minded friends. It is much smaller than our other coop, but the kids play well, I like the women and we rotate houses. We're also in our third year of meeting with another family every week to do history projects and that, thankfully, is still going strong.

We're trying to have more fun in the middle of the day, when kids are in school. This is perhaps the thing that Belly likes most about homeschooling: that she isn't in a classroom until after 3pm (her friends get off the bus close to 4). On Friday, we went sledding in the middle of the afternoon and had the slope to ourselves. Tomorrow, we're swimming midday at a newly refurbished YMCA (I call this "PE").

Small steps in the right direction, but they are starting to add up.

Next year, I'll have two children to report to the school district. Belly will be in 3rd grade, and Jilly will be in 1st. It won't get any easier but I do think this homeschooling thing is starting to grow on me.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you!
My kids are 4 and 2 and we are planning to homeschool. I am trying to prepare myself for the inevitable Period Of Adjustment. Everything I have read talks about how it can be hard to find your groove and those first few years can be discouraging.

I have been doing some pre-schooly stuff with my oldest to test the waters, and it can be a bit overwhelming. You know what my biggest worry is? That I am too lazy to do it right. I know my kids are smart and want to learn. And sure, I do all the cooking, cleaning, and diaper changing. But do I really have what it takes to have a structured schedule? What about mornings blogging and thinking about knitting? And will a structured "ok, school is in session" life impact my relationship with my kids? Who will they complain to when they are mad at their teacher? Did you have any of these concerns? What did you do about them?

Anyway - sorry to highjack. This stuff is on my mind lately. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So there with you. I also started homeschooling this year. I have five girls - the three oldest ones are 8,6 and 5. The first two are technically school age but I'm also doing some kindergarten with my 5 year old. The other two are age 2 and a half and seven months.
I have questioned and wondered if this is right for my kids and if we are doing a good job. Would they be better off in school? Less lonely, more friends?
I go back and forth but I too believe that homeschooling is right for us despite some difficulties.
Next year I'll have the three girls school age - wish were were in the same town he could get the kids together !

12:52 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

So glad to hear it...I would miss you all in this homeschooling world.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I homeschooled for two weeks while I was pregnant with The Baby, and then I got put on bedrest. The kids still tease me about it. ("Hey mom! Wanna homeschool me for 2 weeks again?" Shaddup.)
I'm glad that you're working things out.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Suburban Correspondent said...

Yes! Mornings are sacred! And I cannot get any schoolwork done past lunch. Ever.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These little changes sound very, very wise. I'm glad they're making a difference in your lives.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post... I'm still finding my groove and this is what...year 3 for us. Haven't cut out the a.m. activities, but definately doing it 'next' year as we need more home time now that kiddos are getting older. Didn't I say that last year though? Enjoyed the PE activities with you all! We are going ice skating tomorrow. Yikes! We do more PE than we do actual schooling. Too bad all those other subjects aren't as much fun at PE, huh?

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm only in my first year of homeschooling, but I really think the two week field trip to Maui has helped break up the monotony and frustration for the whole family. I really recommend it.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it takes a while to get into a routine that works for you and your family. We've been homeschooling for over a year now. We started in the middle of kindergarten and now my oldest is in the middle of first. Yes, I know he's 8 - we decided to start late. I'm sure homeschooling more than 1 is a challenge and I'll find that out soon enough!

8:59 AM  

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