Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Is it hard to homeschool?

Is it hard to homeschool?
Yes
and No.
How's that for an answer?

It's hard at times, to stay on top of things. Keep my grading up-to-date. Backtrack or slow down when my kids really need to. Let go of my schedule and routine to experience learning differently. It's hard at times, not to get the "I Wants" when I see all the shiny new curriculum choices and sah-weet homeschool gadgets and games. Its hard when my children hand in less than stellar work or worse yet, cheat on a test. Its hard to give my child a bad grade. Its hard sometimes to stick to my guns and make my student redo a poor assignment. Its hard to watch my child struggle with learning a particular concept, harder still to keep teaching it over and over, trying to find that right combination of explaining and hands-on demonstration to get the point to hit home. It's hard to ask my children to step it up when all I want to do is give up. Hard at times to finagle an already tight budget to make room for homeschooling needs. It can be hard to juggle the laundry, cooking, cleaning and homeschooling.


What's not hard- those moments that make it all worth while....
Watching my child master a hard concept, ah-ha moments, hearing my child read aloud, family field trips, when hard lessons become easy, hearing my children cheer each other on, watching them love and encourage each other, seeing my oldest reach out and help my youngest- the student becoming the teacher, using every day living real life experiences as learning opportunities, taking care of discipline issues right away and working on attitudes together, learning right alongside my children, having them teach me new things, taking time to slow down and really study the things we are enjoying together, nature hikes and the outdoors are part of our science lab, gym class is bike riding and hiking and flash light tag and a made up game of bocce baseball with ghosties on bases, watching them use their knowledge in real life situations.

And to be totally and completely honest....
I love that we don't have to get up by a certain time- that if we stay up late the night before watching some PBS special or driving around to see the Northern Lights or playing some crazy chaotic family card game or just all piling in our big bed with a tub of popcorn and a family movie... that we can then choose to start school later the next day-- which leads to us all being in much better frames of mind when we start out the day.
I love that we can do school in our jammies if we wanna. That I don't have to pack lunches or put my eight year old on a big school bus with a seventeen year old. I love that we can start our school year when we want to, continue to do some light schooling in the summer, and take off for a fun family field trip in September on a weekday when the crowds are nonexistent. I love that we can take school in the car, to the beach, to the dentist and to Nana's house. I love that Nana will often declare snow days for that sent schooling when its sunny and 60 degrees out-- and instead teach my children other things- like nature study, kite flying, gardening and more. I love that a local artist is teaching us all how to paint- me included.
I love that we can slow down when a child doesn't understand a concept and they don't "fall behind". I love that there's no homework in the evenings- instead its all family time. I love that my children spend most of their free time with each other and have developed strong family bonds... I love this close-knittedness homeschooling has created for our little family. I love that bringing Ms. Books home from public school in 3rd grade did a 180 on her attitude and rebellious behavior. I love the mentor she has become to younger girls and the wonderful confidence she has.
I love that when we did our state history, we took little family trips and saw what we were reading and discussing up close. And that we have had opportunities to do the same with some American history. I love how we plan these trips- how our whole family loves history. I loved overhearing my daughter say to a friend when they commented on how they disliked history, "You'd love it if my mom was teaching you!" I love how we are able to spend the time helping our children develop filters for living in the world but not of it; helping them develop the Christian world view I was sadly lacking until I started teaching them.
I love how my family is able to serve others differently  because we keep a different schedule. Such as picking up/delivering items, hands-on helping during the day, babysitting during the day, babysitting later in the evening during the week, helping with meals and other great ministries that teach us how to serve rather than be served.
I love how we are able to incorporate other wonderful people into our schooling lifestyle. The family friend who teaches us art, my sister and two family friends teaching sewing....

The list could go on... it's obvious that the loves outweigh the hard and even really difficult stuff. The hard stuff, while hard, if sparing when up against all that we gain by homeschooling. And while I know that I would never ever have willingly chosen this path, I am so over-the-top joyously glad that God did. I am thankful for His daily leading and interceding; for his never ending mercy and grace- without which I wouldn't be much of a teacher.

Do you homeschool? 
What do you love?
What's hard for you?
Please take a moment and share your thoughts.... I'd love to know them!

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