The Hardest Homeschooling Year
Do you ever have good intentions and broadcast them as unrealistic as they may be to the world — or rather your Facebook wall? Then you find that you end up eating crow? The objective was to journal our Classical Conversations Challenge A adventure. This was a great idea until the hardest homeschooling year hit. So I am eating crow soup, crow pie, crow sandwiches, and crow cookies.
As usual, I leaped passionately into an adventure without truly counting the cost and evaluating the ramifications. Tutoring Challenge A, sight unseen, was probably not a wise idea. And truly, while I had my husband’s blessing to tutor (instead of attending as a parent), it has been hard for him to bite his tongue. I have heard multiple times,
in an ever so loving manner, “I told you so,” to my dismay — because I truly didn’t see my current reality unfolding as it has. While I thoroughly LOVE educating our children, mentally this has been the hardest homeschooling year of my life.
Why Has This Year Been Hard?
You see, my kids are great. Their attitudes regarding learning are encouraging. We are all still bibliophiles. Snuggling on the couch for a read-aloud is the bee’s knees. Tea parties during Mystery of History is the best.
There simply isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all the academic things we truly want to do.
And therein lies the problem. We like to always be together and learn as one.
Time Management Problems
The weight of being a Challenge A director/tutor is a heavy burden on my psyche. I absolutely adore my 5 students and want to honor them by being prepared, asking thoughtful questions, and engaging them in quality conversations. I desperately want to be a good steward of the minds I have been giving to shape for 30+ weeks.
Classical education has effectively trained me in the art of asking critical questions, researching independently without the aid of Google, and seeking multiple resolutions to a variety of complicated problems.
This ability to think critically and perhaps independently is beginning to backfire in our schoolroom.
That or my black sheep tendency causes me to challenge status quo.
The reality is that I want to spend time with each of my children assisting them in their school work — NOT studying by myself. I don’t want to watch them helping each other learn as I watch — the ever present bystander — and not engaging in this rewarding process — one of the best high’s of homeschooling.
I don’t like watching my eldest worry about completing every assignment in his Challenge A guide, when the reality is that more assignments have been provided than what is humanly possible for a moderately busy 12 year old. Yet, he doesn’t understand why it would be assigned if it couldn’t all be accomplished. Why would someone set him up for feeling like a failure?
He understands but doesn’t like the fact that while I am his tutor on Friday, I often don’t have time to be his teacher throughout the week. What’s up with that? I WANT to be his teacher.
I want to study ecclesiastical Latin using Lingua Latina NOT Henle Latin and return to IEW in lieu of Lost Tools. I simply do not understand Lost Tools and find the pace and instruction confusing.
Three weeks into the school year, I began having major anxiety issues. The night before Challenge A, I typically find myself staying up late preparing. And crying.
Seminar Day occurs — and because I love my students so much — I love the day. Until the following week the cycle repeats itself.
So we started hosting Challenge at our house — which is a huge blessing. I now have a clean house the majority of the week. And we feel better that the younger kids are contained with age appropriate toys.
But there still is one problem.
Two Days Apart
Essentially there are two days out of the week that I am not with ALL of my children.
Some mom’s might be thankful for this (and that’s OK), but I am not. If you know my story — and how hard it was to have children — then you’ll understand why I desire to be with my kids. On Tuesday’s, Asher is off by himself accomplishing Challenge A school work. I see him at lunch.
On Friday’s, his siblings are down in our basement with other Challenge Siblings — hopefully doing school.
It’s not ideal.
In hindsight, I would not have two co-op days.
What’s A Girl To Do?
I am not sure. I don’t have the answers or the perfect solution. I was prompted to share my thoughts because I started Brene Brown’s book, Rising Strong, this morning. She writes,
When we own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in stories someone else is telling.
I am risking showing up and being seen. But I’m being seen so that other moms know they are not alone. I don’t know that it is possible to do it all.
The choice was made to tutor with prayer. I know that I am walking in obedience. But that doesn’t mean its easy. Or that there aren’t consequences. Or that I will make the same decisions next year.
But like Brown, I intend to
bring to awareness all the choices that unfurl in front of us [me] during those moments of discomfort and hurt, and to explore the consequences of those choices.
In doing so, I hope it helps some of you who are struggling in your homeschool career.
Please read my follow up post.