I have been asked countless times how I'm "holding up" with homeschooling. I'm never quite sure how to take this. It's either said with a dubious look as if I will implode any minute with the supposed pressure I'm under or it's said with an unwarranted admiration as if I'm Atlas carrying the world on my shoulders. It's neither. I'm certainly not a Titan and if I'm imploding, I'm doing it with great pleasure.
I suppose this is coming on the heels of everyone returning to school. I hear conversations of the relief that parents are experiencing with the kids gone for longer stretches than a bathroom break! I remember that feeling as well, the summer was fun for the first 2, possiblely 3 weeks but it quickly fell into the chaos of bored children with nothing to do but pick on one another. Admittedly when we first started there was a definite period of adjustment, I'd quickly nip the fighting in the bud by sending them on a quick run to the stop sign and back, or giving them a chore no matter how menial because if you have energy to fight .... After three months they seemed to figure out it wasn't worth it and THEY became better at occupying themselves in productive and fun activities.
We had one such morning so I set them to the task of washing the van. Guess who forgot to fight and ended up in some wet fun!
As for space for myself, I had determined early on to ensure I had girl nights at least 2-3x a month, I maintain a 3-5 days per week of exercise which does a ton for me. (Yes, this nerdy, bookworm girl has become addicted to exercise) Finally I make sure I have an hour each and every day that is MY time. The kids are occupied with electronics and the littlest is napping and that glorious hour is spent on things that feed me.
This cutie had to get in on the action!
Most often that means I'm playing a digital puzzle to help with my neurotic obsession with control and order. (If only all problems and people were like a puzzle!). But often it spent for me to learn and grow. I've loved listening to podcasts (my favorites being TED talks and Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History) and even Kent and I spend out "free" TV time watching documentaries. Asking education a part of living for my kids has really rubbed off on us.
He greatest thing that has resulted from all of this is how it has changed us, our family and how we view the world. We've always wanted our children to be more globally minded and with more time we've begun delve deeper into certain subjects. Our latest was on Helen Keller. We took the time to draw a picture in a pitch black room. While we laughed at our funny creations and talked how we used our sense of touch to figure out where to put the sun and flowers and tree, it suddenly became serious when we talked about the pictures being produced by someone who is blind. We took time to learn some braille and Isaac even learned how complicated it compose messages with it. Then we added another layer by telling them to imagine them not only being blind but deaf also. It has made them more sympathetic to those that struggle with things typical people don't - ultimately it has helped them understand their brother more.
Of course this and many other projects take away from the little things I did to keep the house in my preferred neurotic order. We're busy with so many things that I delegate to the older two. The vacumming of the floor isn't nearly half as thorough, crumbs are everywhere when making toast and books lay all over the house. In the end I'm learning to be okay with 'crumbs in the butter' moments because I know the process of growing and learning is more important than the end result.
So glad to be on this journey with these munchkins. Now that we've found a rhythm it's a good fit for us and we have more opportunities to make memories together. The little irritations of imperfect life can't hold up in the face of these things!