Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Confessions of a Homeschool Mom

I wrote this a few months ago. I just finished looking through my drafts and found it. Thought it would be fun to post. 

So being that is our "first official year," I have been paying more attention to the areas that I tend to "slip up" os differently than I always said I would do them. Yep, that's right, ladies, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes it's rain and muddy water. Er well, in this case I should just say we aren't always the Cleaver Family. How's that?

1. The first thing I noticed was that, as many times as I have said, "No rewards system. She will learn to do her activities and learn without bribes." Today I found myself telling her, "As soon as we finish reading this book, we can get out your iPod." Yah. Terrible of me. Not quite bribing her, but on the other  hand, it is just like bribing her. And the worst part is that I basically just said, "Learning to read stinks. Playing the iPod is fun! So let's hurry up!" Usually I am very calm and we enjoy reading together. But as many hours as we spend slowly reading words on the page-although she is getting a LOT faster-sometimes a Momma needs a break! So we ended up shutting the book early and playing an art game on the iPod. One of the many advantages of the freedom we have.

Update: I still struggle in that area. She just doesn't like easy readers, so we are transitioning to chapter books together. Thus seems to help. 

2. I have found that I am writing in "lessons" in the lesson plan book that are so petty. The other day Samantha asked about typewriters, and since my motto is, "Never leave a child's question unanswered." we looked up a video on typewriters. Who listed that under "History" in the records? This Momma! Wanna know why? Because I'm not able to show on the records the truly rich learning we do, the things that you can't quite put into words, so I have to put something to appease the Board if they ever request her records. I have learned "Education-ese" and I will use it to my advantage.

Update: I don't see this as a weakness in our homeschool, except that at that point I was obsessing over "The Lesson Plan Book." 

3. We skip "calendar"-A LOT. Yah. It just seems like such a huge waste of time and Sam gets bored of it too. Too "student-teacher". So generally, we don't do it. I trust that she will learn that sort of stuff over time, and she has. Through songs and hearing people every day talking about the seasons, months, etc. And of course apps. 
Update: Again, not a weakness. Just a confession. 

4. I clock out. Yes. I clock out. This Mom needs a break some times. Being there 24/7, not even getting a break to do chores (Because "you know who" is always trailing behind me.) can take a toll on you. So we spend the day together. We play. We laugh. We learn. We cook dinner. Clean up. And then I'm done until bed time! Daddy and Sami play. Or Sam can keep herself busy. And then when bedtime comes, I gather up just enough energy to read books, write on the board, pray, the whole routine. And then I hit the bed and don't move again the rest of the night. Our guilty pleasure is watching TV and talking until we both pass out around midnight. Getting just enough sleep before we get back up in the morning and go at it again.

5. Here's another secret: I saw a big yellow bus the other day, and I though, "Oh, how nice it would be to have a break! To send her to school where I wouldn't have to worry about keeping "records" "just in case" or making sure that she is staying active in the community or learning what she needs to know. To get to stay home two days a week and get caught up on cleaning or stay longer at the Center if I want to. Or have a day with Jessie. (Who is off in Mondays.) I could focus on a hobby or spend some one on one time with friends. And then the other three days I could volunteer at the school so that I can still be a part of her education..." But I know I would never do it. And I don't want to do it. It's okay to have those thoughts from time to time. But they are never something I would act on just for a bit of "me time" and less worrying about lessons or record keeping. 

6. Oh, and speaking of typical, perfect homeschooling Stay at Home Moms...I have another confession to make...I don't sew. I bake from scratch. I bargain shop. I clean better than Susie Homemaker, but sewing is just one thing I don't do. I have tried it, and now I avoid it like the plague. There it is. I said it.

So there we are. These are my confessions of what Homeschool can really be like some days. It isn't always fun. And it isn't always perfect. In fact, there are days that we slack off so much, we just lay in bed all day and play computer games until dinnertime. 

I will never look back and say that I made a mistake by leading my family down this road.

I was thinking today during a long drive to homeschool gymnastics...and I thought, "How different would life be for Samantha if we sent Samantha to school?!" Who would her friends be? Who would her teachers be? Would she have different hobbies, interests, or even a different personality?" We will never know, but I am okay with that, because SHE is happy with the friends she has now. She has LOTS of hobbies and interests. And she has an AMAZING personality!

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