Monday, September 28, 2009

Scattered Seeds and Brains

We are now beginning the fourth week of school. I can hardly believe it. I can hardly believe that I am still functioning and that my children are not begging to go back to a brick and mortar school...and most of all that they are still alive.

Many have wondered if I've had a change of heart. It's really a two part answer. No and yes. I still don't really like it, but I am realizing more everyday the importance of this new role I've undertaken. I am still trying to muddle my way through the curriculum figuring out what needs to be done and what is busy work. I have tried a new way to organize my week, for the third week in a row, and still feel that it needs revamping. Motivation is still slow going for the kids, I'm trying different rewards for work completed but still they dawdle - and still I yell. Comprehension remains a frustration for Brynna and requires repeating a lesson...sometimes several times. It continues to be a frustration for me as well, as I can't comprehend why she can't comprehend, and I feel as if I am wasting my time. The little ones still act as a distraction, as they demand a great deal of attention regardless of the crafts and teaching supplies I give them. The brief reprieves they do grant us often mean more work for me in the long run because they are off doing things they shouldn't; like drawing on their furniture and mirrors or taking everything they own and covering their bedroom floor with it. Vance still poops at inconvenient times, requiring diaper changes in the middle of lessons, and sometimes just needs mama time with a snuggle in a quiet room. Lunches and dinners have suffered greatly during this transition and I miss them tremendously. At least twice a day, I want to give up, but God is so good to me, a whiner, complainer, and bad homeschooling teacher. It has amazed me all the people he has sent to encourage me when I least deserve it. Friends who walk this same path, friends who I didn't think would understand our decision, and even complete strangers at the grocery store. Everyone has either had an encouraging word or has imparted advice that I have been able to implement and benefit from. It has once again confirmed this decision of ours, the decision I wish we had not made, the one that I still don't care much for, the one that complicates my life ten fold, the decision that makes me yell and my blood boil, the one I know had to be made - the decision I know, deep inside, was right.

I am clinging daily to Him and His word:
Galatians 6:9 NIV "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
2 Thessalonians 1:11 Message "...pray that our God will make you fit for what he's called you to be, pray that he'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something."

I certainly hope this all amounts to something, like my children's academic success, college accolades, and great jobs. However, if I have to settle for the harvest being children who feel loved despite my screams, who learn sacrifice, who develop a work ethic, and are happy caring adults; well then I pray with His energy I will continue tossing the seed no matter how haphazardly I feel it is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

School is in Session

The school room has been ready for weeks with computers and desks for Jace and Brynna and a miniature table accompanied by tiny chairs for the little ones. Educational posters adorn the walls and I have spent more than my fair share of money on school supplies. I have had grandiose thoughts of what it would be like, this new school adventure, how I would be amazing and my kids would excel under my tutelage graduating early with 4.0 GPAs. Fear has gripped me at moments as self-doubt has over taken me, not knowing exactly what to expect since Sunday School is the only teaching experience on my resume. Now it is here, the moment has arrived, the moment of truth, and now I have officially done it for two days. I am a homeschooling mom.

The first day of school is always such an exciting moment in a kids life and I think parents share in the anticipation, because it stirs memories of our own childhood. I only imagined that my first day as a "teacher" would be all the more filled with wonderment. Alas, reality has once again rained on my parade. Knowing full well, and dreading, what my next statement will bring; an onslaught of "I told yous", disgust from moms who do it well and could never imagine saying negative things about their kids, and sympathy from those who have been in my shoes, I will proceed regardless. As of yesterday...

I hate it. Yes, I am afraid I have made a huge mistake. I abhor homeschooling.

This is not my cup of tea. My poor attempts at organization have yet again been foiled. My patience has waned. Never before have I ever felt like such a failure. The first day left me tired, burnt out, hungry without an easy dinner to prepare, and the very existence of my children grated on my nerves. I longed for bedtime; both theirs and mine. I'm sure it didn't help that yesterday school began at 8:00 and finished around 6 pm. It was a very, very long day. My mind swirled with images of the moms who do this and the ease they portray as they handle their days, their lives and I began not to like them. I thought of the moms who said I would have these days and couldn't imagine that they had lived lived this day, because if they had they would have quit. Truly this day that started off with "greatness" was now in a hand basket somewhere in hell. I pushed through my pity party with clenched teeth, unkempt hair, and crazed eyes anticipating relief but thinking it was only a farce. After dinner, Brian and I sat alone at the dinner table for a minute and I lost it, I began crying, telling him I couldn't do this, that I didn't want to do this, and that I would not be birthing anymore children for him. Bless Brian's heart, he never knows how to handle my emotional episodes, thankfully this outburst he didn't pat my head like the family dog as he did the last time I sobbed. He remained relatively silent. I pulled it together still discouraged, but functioning. That's when I noticed he took the kids outside and allowed me to catch my breath. He even had a heart-to-heart with Jace that night and addressed some of the issues of the day. The load felt a little lighter.

Today was better than yesterday, with the first book being cracked just before 9 and the the towel being thrown in with one subject untouched at 3:00 (this included making cupcakes for Brynna's Girl Scout Troop tonight). I figure we can try and catch up tomorrow and if not we will get to it eventually. I would hardly call this a happy ending, I don't think I will see that for at least another 6 years, but at least today I didn't push my own limitaitons, I'm still welcoming their hugs and kisses, and I know if I need it my man has my back. Do I still hate homeschooling? Well hate is a strong word, so maybe I will re-think it. How about, "I don't care for it." Does it mean I'm quitting? I'm too prideful for that and if anything these couple of days have allowed me to see that Brynna really needs the extra attention that I don't think she would be afforded in public school. Most importantly, if I believe that this really was God's calling, then there is no other choice. It's time to step up.