I was re-reading my last blog and thinking about how optimistic I was at the beginning of this year. It is not that it's all gone wrong, but it hasn't been smooth sailing either. I did expect a few adjustments, but certainly not the emotional roller coaster that it turned out to be.
First off, we homeschool our kids for several reasons of which one of them is that our eldest daughter didn't thrive in a classroom setting. Everything from the delivery of information to the amount of homework proved to be far more challenging that it should have been. Putting her back into a school setting brought all of those things back. Ugh! Even though it's only once per week and she has six days to complete their homework it was still too much. We ended up dropping the Advanced Lit and dropping the notion that we would do Physical Science at home in addition to her other work. Added to her day was Spanish 1 which I thought would be a nightmare but has turned out to be a strength for her. Praise God!
The first few months were horrible. Sure Dennis and I enjoy our Thursday's off, but the pain and suffering during the rest of the week hardly makes it worth it. I felt like I was in school all over again but since I had not handed out the assignments, I felt as lost as she was. Moreover, providing the copious amount of help made me extremely nervous for her future. How long am I going to do this? Will I be going to college as her personal assistant and tutor?
We're now entering our third month and things have turned around for the better. It's taken that long for all the kids to get comfortable with the work load and to realize that sometimes you have to do school work outside of traditional school hours (a difficult concept for my homeschoolers... not that we don't learn at all times of the day, but we usually don't do written work on evenings and weekends). This year has not been as easy or fun as it has been in the past, but I think there is value in experiencing the struggle. It's one thing to say "good job" after a simple assignment from mom, but it's entirely something else to wrestle with what seems insurmountable, impossible, and beyond your abilities and then succeed at it and be rewarded from an impartial teacher with a compliment and good grade.
There have been tough parenting questions for us this year. Like... how much do I help on schoolwork versus leave them to their own mistakes? When do I say you've done enough versus keep going and try harder? When do I hug them and show understanding versus give them a swift kick in the backside and say, 'buck up little camper'? When do I say, 'this is too much, let's quit co-op' versus, 'we paid for this and committed so get dressed and go'. I've flip-flopped using all of these tactics at one time or another hoping something would stick. If it wasn't for God's grace I think would have ordered my straight-jacket from Amazon a long time ago.
Thankfully, it is His strength, not mine that will help me make the tough calls. It is His plan for the kids, not mine that will determine their future. And it is His infinite love and mercy, not mine that will comfort them when I fall short and make the wrong call. On my knees is the only way I see this parenting and homeschooling journey being a success. When people ask me, "How can you homeschool your kids?" or sometimes it's "How can you stand homeschooling your kids? I have only one response. "I can do all things through Christ who strengths me." Phil. 4:13. It might make some people roll their eyes, but truthfully there is no other way it would be possible. And so we carry on one day at a time... making adjustments and learning new lessons as we go.