Sunday, August 18, 2013

When we first started homeschooling, I imagined the experience would look like all the children gathered 'round the kitchen table, eagerly awaiting whatever knowledge and inspiration I was going to impart that day. Their little eyes would grow round with wonder and excitement. I was only going to read "the classics" and perhaps throw in some Latin for good measure. Then I would proudly sit back and pat myself on the back for a job well done.

That was not to be the case.  Initially, we all sat around the kitchen table.  We would gather there every morning.  I would present the lesson and it would go something like this:

Today we are going to learn about animal habi - Son, quit picking your nose.  We are going to learn about animal habitats.  I said quit picking your nose. Yes dear younger daughter, I know you don't know what habitats are. That is why we are going to talk about them.  Please pick your pencil back up and put it back on the table. Now, do not touch the pencil.  Animals need shelter. (Oldest daughter begins to reminisce about living in a shelter with birth parents).  No, not that kind of shelter. SON! Get your sister's pencil out of your nose! What kind of homes do animals live in?  I stinking swear, if you put anything back in your nose, I am going to take you to the back room and beat you.  Right! Birds may live in nests in trees!  Where el - no you all just had a snack. Let's just finish the lesson.  Do. Not. Touch. The. Pencil. Where else do animals live?  No, the ants don't actually live in the kitchen.....

And so on and so forth until I come to the conclusion that my idea of homeschooling was just that, and idea.

Homeschooling hopes and dreams.....

But, because I have to learn the hard way and I am a glutton for punishment, we kept attempting the kitchen table gathering for a couple more months.  I struggled to keep the baby (then 2 years old) busy while we were all gathered around and no one quit picking their noses and they all dropped their pencils several times during the course of the lessons. Then my son got sick a couple months into our homeschooling journey. 
And life changed.

My priorities changed. 

My idea of homeschooling changed.

Now, 3 years later, my son's health is much better.  I made the journey from wondering if my son was going to live, to wondering how he was going to live, to our current state - teaching him to live. Teaching us all to live with whatever life throws our way.

I feel like we can finally be involved and, dare I say it, commit to things.

So we committed and signed permission slips and registration forms and paid for things.  And now I am driving everywhere, my least favorite chore.

Today, homeschooling looks like kids and Math U See blocks and books sprawled all over everywhere. Since they are a bit older, I don't have to extract appendages and pencils from noses, but I do have to manage all 4 kids at once since my youngest has started kindergarten.  

Occasionally, we still all gather at the kitchen table for a lesson.
I have enrolled my oldest daughter in a local tutorial.  She is taking language arts, science, geography, theater and art there.  I only have to do tutorial homework and math here at home.  I have to take her 3 days a week.  She is also taking chorus at one of our local universities once a week.

My son is taking a tutorial class, chorus, a science class, and gymnastics, all once a week.

My two youngest daughters are taking a tutorial class and gymnastics once a week.

This equals a ton of driving for me.  Exactly the opposite of what I like to do.

And I am grateful.  So grateful for this bit of normalcy.

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Joy Capps said...

That's how we started too...around the table with a similar scenario but with a son with severe ADHD. (and a mama with ADD) It's neat to see how homeschooling takes shape to become what it needs to be. Not how we originally envision it to be.

Jessica said...

That is the beauty of homeschooling! We really can make it fit our lives and our current needs :)

Thanks for the comment!

Noteable Scraps said...

Love it! So glad you are getting some "normal" in your life! I think we all went through that experience of taking off the rose-colored glasses and seeing what homeschool was really going to be like - pretty much our first day of homeschool. Ha ha! But I too am thankful for everything it's turned out to be! :-)

Claire said...

SO funny! That really sounded like any given morning at my house!!!

I found your blog after reading your article in the AHE Journal this month! Thanks so much for sharing everything you do!