Sunday, April 29, 2012

Owning Up - Homeschooling After the Storm

I knew exactly how I was going to homeschool.  I knew how I was going to do it.  It would involve a structured day and textbooks.  It would involve pencils and grade books.  I eagerly shopped for little desks and pint sized chairs.  It would involve a *blackboard* and real chalk.  I was going to love it.

Then I actually got kids.  And, they got big enough to homeschool.  So, we started in 2010, the children sitting around the kitchen table, and I, standing at a white board.  I lesson planned and followed through.  We did projects and read books and completed objectives. The kids and I were having a grand time.

Then, a couple months into it, life happened.  My son got sick, and he stayed sick.  School stopped. Suddenly, teaching him to read was not near as important as finding out whether or not he was going to live.  Teaching him how to quantify was not nearly as pressing as teaching how to cope with pain.  I no longer used the whiteboard for spelling lessons, but for my son's medication schedule. It seemed like it was never going to end, that he would always be sick and life would never, ever be the same.

He is much better.  He did not die.  He did not have anything that was going to take his life, just make him miserable.  We have his medication all sorted out and he is only on a single medication that I struggle to remember to give.  So, a year and a half later, I no longer want to homeschool.  I don't even want to send the kids to public school.  Really, I just don't want to do anything that is going to take a lot of effort.  I just want to breathe.

So, we are breathing.  We are doing the bare minimum.  We do reading and math for the little ones, on Time 4 Learning.  My oldest is doing a workbook curriculum and Math U See.  I don't have to plan.  I don't have to do anything except turn on the computer and listen to an occasional read aloud.  I don't even read books to them, not even the encyclopedia!

Our day consists of us getting up, getting dressed, and doing chores.  Then I turn on the laptops and get my little one's started.  My oldest gets going on her workbooks.  I try to not feel guilty.  This is nothing like I imagined.

But somehow, it is all still valid.  My kids are somehow learning. My son is learning to deal with is ongoing issues and still have a wonderful life.  I am learning how to breathe again, and how to not be worried over every little ache or pain my kid has.  I am relearning how to not be so overwhelmed that I feel like I am drowning.  I am learning how to live outside of "crisis".

It is slower.  It is calmer.  It is hard for whatever reason.  My shot of adrenaline has left me with a tiredness that I can not explain.

I keep telling myself that it is going to get better, and I know it will.  God gave us time and time is a blessing.  It fades pain and heartache and eases the intensity of loss.  I realize that when time has done its job, I will be able to see clearly again.

Are you or have you been here?  Lots of us have.  Maybe it is not a sick child, maybe it is the death of a loved one or close friend. Maybe it was marriage trouble or maybe you lost a home.  How do you homeschool through it?  Do you keep a schedule? Do you find comfort in the order of it?  Or, do you just let things go?  Do you feel okay about it if you do?

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Lori D in OK said...

I can soooo relate! I have been homeschooling for 10 years now and I started out just like you (little red schooldesk and all!). Now we have 7 children and this last winter I thought if we were all not sick for 5 minutes straight it would be a miracle! God has brought me through the entire spectrum of homeschooling techniques and I have now arrived at the Wisdom approach. Robyn Sampson st Heart of Wisdom dot com teaches how so very important the Bible should be to our homeschool, rather than 15 minutes in a "Bible" workbook. I have been so guilty of that! So, now we have refocused and God has blessed! My 2 older kids are seeking God on their own, my son has his 1st job at age 15 and is not ashamed to sit and read his Bible on his lunch break while still at work. So, what I am trying to say here is.... even if life is hard and kids are sick just do Bible time and the rest will eventually get covered, and I think God will make your kids understand the academic part easier because after all Proverbs 2:6 says... "The Lord gives wisdom, out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding."

Also, Mary Pride wrote a book titled School Proof which was helpful to get me over the guilt of covering every subject every day etc.

Jessica said...

Thanks for your encouraging comment Lori!!! I 100% agree about the Bible time!

Stephanie said...

I'm right where you are! We have been moved five times in seven years, had five children in six years and was on bed rest for two of those pregnancies. Tired can not begin to explain how I feel. Not only physically but emotionally. We do the basics of math, grammar, phonics and reading. If something comes up like finding frogs then we will do a unit study, but I try to at least focus on The Word as a core for the subjects we do study/learn. The guilt is huge but I lay it at the alter and pray I can do what the Lord wants me to do for that day alone. I can't look to tomorrow or I will get too overwhelmed. I will be praying for you!

Jessica said...

I will be praying for you as well! Thanks for your comments! There is really nothing to be guilty over, that is just hard to remember sometimes!

ourhearts4home said...

I learned a lot about being flexible during my Mother-In-Law's cancer treatments. Every home looks different and that is ok. :) God didn't design us to all function the same way. And even month to month and year to year it can change. Right now we've had a season of structure where things have gone more as planned. But the next time something strikes I pray that I remember the lessons I learned during those months of helping my MIL. There are lessons that just aren't taught in books, but are lived out one day and one step at a time. Sometimes just one breath at a time. I love your post, Jess!

Kat said...

I am so glad that your son's health isn't worse. I can't relate to trying to homeschool through a child's illness, but I can relate to trying to homeschool through a loss. My grandfather died in 2009 and it was very hard on all of us. We live next door to my grandparents and we saw him and spent time with him every day.

After he passed, we spent a lot of time trying to help my grandmother, and dealing with our grief. Homeschooling got pushed to the back burner for a few weeks. Horrible to admit, yes...but it was necessary.

We also use Time4Learning, and I am SO thankful that my boys had it back then. Once we started to get back into the swing of things, they could log on and do what they needed without me needing to be right behind them. It was nice.

This past summer we had another big break from homeschooling when my mom had a liver transplant. She lives two hours away from us, so my time was divided between the hospital, then her home, then my home. I needed to spend so much time with her. Sometimes the boys stayed here with their dad, sometimes they came with me.

Honestly, if we didn't rely on computers so much for our homeschool, I couldn't tell you how behind they would be. Thanks to sites like T4L, SpellingCity and LearningGamesforKids, I knew that my boys had resources and materials available to them, no matter where they were (here, grandparents, friends, etc). :/

Thanks so much for sharing. People can't imagine how helpful a post like this can be...just knowing that one isn't alone when they are struggling with life's derailment...

Praying for you and your family. :)

Jessica said...

Thanks for your comment! You all have brought tears to my eyes and I am not a crier!
I am so glad that we can come together and encourage and pray for one another through this venue.
Never doubt the validity of the education you allow life to provide your kids!

Raising Knights said...

After 10 yrs of homeschooling, the birth of our 5th son, my dh's return home from deployment, and moving into a new house, my mild post-partum turned into complete burnout. I struggled to keep up with almost everything and we also had to pare down our school. The older boys were able to continue on their own and I used Time4Learning for a while too. It happens to a lot more homeschooling moms than will admit.