We’re about 5 weeks into this homeschooling and the short story is that it’s not going well.
The first couple of weeks were great. Better than great. Eva picked up new skills like crazy and we looked forward to our homeschool lessons together. I built time into our schedule for more outings, more games, more computer time, more books…and for a while there I was kicking myself that I had waited so long to homeschool because we were having such fun.
I’m not sure how we started sliding downhill. I think the novelty of doing homeschool lessons began to wear off for Eva so she suddenly “forgot” how to do everything and each lesson took twice as long because she’d put her head down and cry. My work started to pile up, so outings got a little more stressed, board games were a little more frustrating, and reading to the kids at lunch turned into playing educational videos for the kids at lunch (and then Disney videos eventually) as I desperately tried to regain a hold on my email.
I reached out for help and was encouraged by fellow homeschoolers who said to plan on a solid 6 months of transition time before everyone would be used to it. That sounded uplifting until I started to realize I was staring down the barrel at another 5 months of dragging Eva to the bookshelf to pick a book when she used to come running to me with an armload of stories she’d picked out. What was happening to my eager-to-learn kid?
Then the little things started to pile up. First, she began to ask about her friends constantly and when they’d come over she’d be practically frantic to make them stay as long as possible, totally preoccupied with what time they had to leave. She also started packing things into her school bag and leaving it by the door every day. “I know I’m not going to school anymore mom, but just in case.” In fact, “just in case” became the reason for everything…packing snacks, buying new shoes, making a Valentine’s Day box. She wanted it all just in case she woke up and it was magically a school day.
And then, this week, two crying fits with her asking for her teacher by name. Promising to try harder if she could go back to school. Making schools out of legos, wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs. Trotting all of the Calico Critters in and out of her created classrooms.
And, to be totally selfish, I’m not a happy camper either with this homeschooling thing. It’s really tough to get my work done in the little gaps between all of the other things I have going on. The house is destroyed. Dinner only gets finished if we turn it into a homeschool lesson, in which case it takes twice as long to prepare, uses twice the amount of dishes, and tastes half as good. Plus, I’m now self-conscious about my skills as a teacher. I’m a smart person, but early education might not be in my skill set. Apparently 1 out of 1 of my students would really, really like to switch schools.
According to homeschool lore, if we stick it out it will eventually get really good. Eventually.
There are a couple of other options we haven’t explored. Different schools. Different plans. Things that are harder and less convenient and more expensive. Ultimately, things that she’d probably enjoy much more…even if that bar is pretty low at the moment.
I don’t know. I’m tempted to struggle through but I don’t want to waste too much time making us both miserable if this isn’t for us. I love doing things with my kids (especially educational things) but right now I’m burnt out and she’s burnt out and I feel like we all like each other a little less than we did five weeks ago. So maybe changing up the plan will get us back to a good place…or maybe this is the post I reference later when I talk about how I wasn’t sure homeschooling was for us and then I realized it was the greatest thing in the world.
Just another parenting mystery I haven’t solved yet…