Wahoo! School is out for Summer! I feel energized and excited about the possibilities of what next school year is going to bring. Come on, I know many of you are already looking ahead to August. 🙂 After speaking to one of the homeschool moms about how the year went, I felt inspired to write a few musings of what I have learned throughout my 16 years of homeschooling.
Messy If you are just beginning on this journey and you are under the impression that your house will be free of messes, then I will have to dispel that misconception of homeschooling. On any given day there could be an animal dissection lab, Lego blocks, or an art project that involves paint and glitter going on. Depending upon the age of your children, all three of these might be occurring! Keep in mind that you are doing school and living in your home. Determine what level of messy you are comfortable with and not stress when things get messier than you like. Having children clean up is part of school too.
Entertaining I think of how many crazy things I heard or saw when I was homeschooling that I could write a book of memoirs on each of the boys. Everything from jumping out a window to practice a fire drill ( I didn’t know he did that until I saw him running around in his pi’s in the backyard!); to making a wedding dress for a 6’3″ boy who was a jilted character in a play (none of the girls would do it, so he volunteered); to eating popcorn while listening to a book read aloud by Dad. These are all things I would never have experienced if the boys had gone to a traditional school.
Hectic Your time is being divided between schoolwork and housework and you feel guilty when you are not able to do both. Can you do it? Yes, but having realistic expectations makes all the difference in the world. When school is in session, that is the main priority. Housework can be assigned as part of the school routine, and children are made more responsible by helping. Household responsibilities that can be delegated to children are: taking out the trash, loading, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning mirrors, sweeping the floor, picking up toys, making beds, putting away groceries, folding clothes, taking clothes to the washing machine, etc. If you aren’t able to get the help that you need, then take short breaks to stop and do some mini cleaning. It won’t be such a big task at the end of the day if you pick up as you go.
Difficult Can you believe I said that? 🙂 I wouldn’t be truthful if I said we never had problems and all went smoothly in our school. Ian says he remembers the calls made to the principal involving behavior issues. While I couldn’t march him to the school office, he did have to talk to his dad at times. The good news is that he is now a young adult who has a great relationship with us. He didn’t even have to go to the Dean of Students when he went to college, at least not that I am aware of!
Lest you think that only Ian and I had our difficulties, Malcolm had talks with his father as well. The discipline of sitting in a chair and doing schoolwork was a habit that I think he never caught onto when in school. To this day, you will find him sprawled out on the floor of our family room when he comes to visit. I was so distraught about him falling out of his chair when I would mention math that I called a friend who homeschooled 6 sons. When I told her about Malcolm and his “limpyness” she proceeded to tell me that was normal for some boys and not to make a big deal of it. She put things in perspective for me, but I must say that it was hard not to lecture him each time he did that. I loosened up a bit and gave him permission to do his work on the floor, but he also had to sit in a chair and pay attention when I was teaching a lesson. Isn’t that the beauty of homeschooling? He didn’t have to be in a chair all of the time and I didn’t loose my relationship with him over something that really wasn’t as big of a deal as I was making it out to be.
Rewarding I wouldn’t trade all of those joys and struggles we had while homeschooling for a clean, quiet house. (seriously!) The time will come all too soon when you will have the opportunity to have a spotless home and a house that is so quiet you jump when the air conditioning kicks on. I always thought that would be great and I found myself wishing for a day to get things straightened up. Now I have no excuses to keep me from cleaning! I don’t even have a pet to blame and I realize that I (sometimes) miss the days where things were messy.