This post was most recently updated on May 18th, 2015
I am a home schooling mom of four. Well, three and a half really, since the youngest is only 16 months. But he is learning every day from the older three, so I think that counts. Let’s say four, then. Okay. Glad we got that established. This is middle of our fourth year home schooling – we started when our oldest son was entering 4th grade and our oldest daughter was entering 2nd. Our younger daughter was barely old enough for Pre K, but I started including her in class time anyway because it made her happier than having to go down for a nap.
It’s not an easy task, educating children. Or at least it’s not easy educating mine. I am blessed with gifted children. Now I’m not just saying that as their mom, blindly believing that my kids are the brightest to ever walk. They really are gifted. We had them tested. As a result, they are easily bored with the average educational materials, which is one of the reasons we pulled them out of public school. It’s good that they’re smart and curious and have great imaginations. But the flip side is that it takes much more effort on my part to find the right curriculum and resources to keep them interested. And, because there are four of them, there’s almost constant bickering, snipping, arguing and whining in our little classroom. Every single day. And to be honest, it’s a little exhausting. And I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to provide them with the most opportunities for learning and experience. Most days, I feel like their entire future is resting squarely on my shoulders. Fortunately, it’s not their entire future, just their education. *hysterical giggle*
My point is that the whole endeavor is quite stressful for me. I have to find activities for them that appeal to their individual interests and are within our very limited budget. I have to make sure they are meeting all the necessary education requirements for their grade level and make sure those lessons are interesting, engaging and challenging to each child. I can’t let my angst affect them or make them feel overly pressured. I must keep detailed records regarding lesson plans, attendance, extra curricular activities, portfolios with samples of their work, assignments and grades. And, (this has proven to be the hardest part of home school, believe it or not) I have to keep all the textbooks, lesson plans, supplemental materials, subject binders, administrative materials, craft/art/music supplies and materials organized and contained in one small, tiny corner of our very small, tiny house.
This is my “Home School Classroom Library”:
Impressive, isn’t it? (I know the pic is blurry … babies don’t make good photography assistants, in case you were wondering.)
Anyway, I know I chose this path for myself and my kids. And I’m not really complaining about it. Much. But when I read blogs or posts from other home school moms and they talk about their sweet little darlings who spend the mornings quietly and efficiently doing their school lessons and volunteering at a soup kitchen, followed by afternoon science experiments that involve dissecting frogs that Mom ordered from the internet (can you even get those on Amazon?) or building life-size replicas of the Apollo spacecraft using bottle caps and glitter glue, then going to their welding lessons before coming home to a delicious and perfectly nutritious meal that was planned out and prepared the day before and then spending the evening jamming with the family band and all the while Mom is toting around her 2 week old triplets in baby slings that she made herself from recycled panty hose … I just think – When do they find the time? What am I doing wrong? Why am I such a complete and total failure?? You know what I mean?
Anyway, home schooling is really, really, really hard. And it can be very, very, very stressful on Mom. But even though I question myself constantly and worry that my parents are right and I really am ruining my children forever … I still wouldn’t change how we do things. And I will never, never put myself out there as one of those moms who has it all together and gently glides through each day without losing my temper or my sanity. I’m keeping it real and sometimes real is real ugly.