Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Bad and the Ugly

Ahhh...would that each day could go as smoothly as the one I described here.  Yesterday was sort of its antithesis.

The fact is that homeschooling, while our family's preferred educational path, is not a panacea.  It does not produce perfect families or perfect kids.  It is not necessarily easier or more peaceful.  The way we do it is certainly not ideal either.  If I had my druthers, we would be traveling around the world and learning in that manner.  But my druthers have been trumped by our bank account and so we do most of our traveling virtually.

With that, I have complied a short, not in the least exhaustive, list of the struggles we have stumbled across while homeschooling:
  1. It is often times exhausting to spend all day with the same group of people, no matter how much I love them.
  2. Children possess a variety of learning styles.  Each of mine is vastly different from the other.  I have a friend whose three daughters all have very similar learning styles and all taught themselves to read by five years old.  She is dead to me.  This is not the norm, nor is it my experience.
  3. Just when I think we've got a positive rhythm going, someone or something shakes it up -- usually drastically.
  4. My particular homeschoolers' perspectives of what is a challenge, a struggle, and hard work is often times skewed by the fact that they do not experience stress over things like due dates and tests.  While I am thrilled they they do not experience such stress, I feel pretty annoyed frustrated when having to do something like learn their lines for a play or a new piece for their instruments sends them into a tailspin.
  5. Winter is tough.
  6. Activities can prove costly.
  7. Our house is never clean.
  8. Frequently, all those projects I want to do for ME are put on hold after bedtime in favor of something more mind-numbing.  This includes conversations with other adults.  I am often unable to put together a coherent thought by the end of the day, much less express it verbally.
  9. I spend a lot of time transporting my kids to classes, activities, playdates, rehearsals, and the like.
  10. I hate boardgames made for children (THERE!  I said it!) and there is a lot more time in the day, particularly during the long winter, for my kids to request that I play them.
I wish I'd had a mental version of this list when we were just beginning our homeschooling journey. While it would not have driven me away from homeschooling, it would have been nice to be more prepared.

Of course, every family is different.  What might be an issue for us might not even cross someone else's mind.  In fact, as I re-read the list, I note that several of them are also items I count as positives -- like that I GET to spend all day with my children (#1) and that homeschooling is an ever-changing, always interesting sea of possibilities (#3).  I plan to create a list of the positives as we have experienced them and am sure that nearly all of the above will also make some version of an appearance on that list as well (except for #5 -- I am still trying to reconcile that one).

I am interested to hear how these resonate with other homeschoolers out there and what you might add to the list.

Where I spend some of my mind-numbing time
at the end of the day when I cannot think:


Michael said...

Eliminate #5 by moving to California.(selfish request on my part!)

LakeMom said...

Ha ha! Wouldn't that be lovely?

Susan said...

There are ups and downs to every choice we make. We've had a lot of downs lately in our homeschooling journey, but I think (I hope?) they get outweighed by the positives.

And yeah, winter, not my favorite season. But then a rainy spring soccer season isn't really my fave either.;0)

LakeMom said...

One of the reasons I started this blog, Susan, was so that I could look back at the good times when we are feeling low. It also helps me to look back at the low times and recognize how they have dissolved. It keeps up my spirits.

I agree with you about the wet spring. We are all waiting not-so-patiently for summer here.

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