Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thoughts on Homeschooling

I've only had half a cup of coffee this morning. So I can't be held responsible for the rest of this post. 

I am enjoying this spring break. Sleeping in. Cleaning up. Working out. Blogging. Calling friends. Lunching with friends. Baking. Sewing. Writing. Baking some more...

Today I am going to work on a project. I've been asked to make an apron for a charity auction. 

Cannot wait to get to that sewing room. 

These are all things I would do on a daily basis, BHS (Before Home Schooling). I've missed all those things.

Homeschooling this year has been an amazing ride. But, its also been very difficult. 

Yesterday afternoon, a mom I recently met, came over. She is about to start homeschooling her children next year and wanted to look over some of my curriculum. 

I prayed before she came. 

Lord, help me to sound positive.

The truth is, I have enjoyed homeschooling, and it has been the hardest thing I have done in my life thus far...and let me tell you, I have done some hard things. 

My students are amazing. They desire to learn. They are willing. They don't complain (too often). They don't have special learning issues that I have to work around or behavioral problems to deal with...For all intents and purposes, when it comes to homeschooling, I've got it easy.

The problem is the teacher. 

She wasn't prepared.

I wasn't prepared to handle all the spiritual and emotional lessons that God would dole out this year.

I wasn't aware that in the process of educating my children, the student would be me.

So when I sat down at my kitchen table with this mom, I wanted to be positive. Keep it simple, I kept telling myself.

But my self wouldn't listen.

I wanted to tell her all the good things. I wanted to be sweetness and light. I didn't want the deep-thinking, deep processing, wordy Kellie, to come out. 

I wanted all these things because homeschooling is amazing. It is exactly what my kids need in this time in their lives. It is a ministry. At times a joy, at times a burden. 

Its a lot of work. 

Work that I daily have to pray about. Homeschooling is a work that is refining me. Pruning me. Growing me up, in my heart and my soul. 

It isn't easy, but I'm eternally grateful. 

We'll do it again next year, because I know it is right where we need to be. 

Still, I wanted to grab her hands, look her straight in her (very beautiful!) eyes, and tell her that she was sitting at the wrong table. I wanted to encourage her to talk to someone who actually knows what she is doing. To seek advice from a homeschooling mom who has got this thing all figured out, and does it gracefully.

Although, in truth, I'm not sure that mom exists. 

I am praying that I didn't discourage the sweet gal who sat in my kitchen. I wanted to sound positive, because I am positive homeschooling is an amazing way to educate your family. 

So positive that we may be in this for the long haul, but personally, this has been a tough year. 

Sometimes I wish I was good at sugar coating, but it just isn't me.

I'm in the process of writing all the things I have learned this year (through homeschooling) and hope to post my thoughts from time to time. 

Speaking of posts....on Friday I will be posting my first installment of CoffeeGal: Calling Back

You can click the link above if you don't remember what that is. I am hoping to post every other Friday...I just don't think I can do once a week, I am about to start a busy season of travel! Yay!

All right, this post looks nothing like I thought it would, and its ended rather abruptly. However,  I have had a second cup of coffee and I am ready to start my day! Hopefully there will be apron pictures soon!


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. This is my first year and it's been the most amazing, terrifying, wonderful, painful experiences of my motherhood thus far. If I spent as much time feeling confident in my abilities as I did second guessing myself, I'm sure I would win some sort of award. I'm glad the prospective homeschool mom talked to you. If she believed that every minute of homeschool was like an unlimited budget at a 75% sale at Kohl's, you would have done her a great disservice to feed her naivety. Now, at least, on her worst days of homeschooling, hopefully she won't feel like a failure and will know that someone else gets what she's experiencing. So much for letting my words be few. Maybe we can talk more on this subject womano a womano another time.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could EVER homeschool because of the very things you mention in this post. I love my kids and I love teaching. I think homeschooling done right is AMAZING. I just don't think I'm the person to do it. I have no patience, am poorly organized, my house is never clean; I'm easily distracted and not nearly disciplined enough. I'd like to think I were the wonderful type of mom who could pull it off, but I fear I'll never be that woman. I would fail miserably on all fronts. I admire your transparency, example and dedication.

Gretchen said...

I just knew that I would never home school, because after all, school is for teachers. t.e.a.c.h.e.r.s. And I'm not a teacher. I'm a speech therapist. Who work(ed) with adults. Adults, who, despite numerous neurological issues, typically sat still and did what I told them to do.

God has a funny sense of humor.

I chose to home school my son last year, and we're really doing a modified version of such this year, since he only has about 5 hours of class a week. You're right. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I was and is convinced at the time that it was the best situation that we could provide for my son. And our hours together have been precious. Even on the hard days. But, boy...nothing has taught me to dig deeper.

Kellie, I applaud you for encouraging your friend in a realistic way. You know how everyone tells you the positives of breast feeding, but no one tells you it might h.u.r.t.? I'm glad you're not sugar coating this. Chances are, your friend will have a blessed experience, too. But it's gonna whip her some days.

Can't wait for coffee girl calls back.

Here endeth the hijacking of the comments section.

Carpoolqueen said...

I fear the Lord is surrounding me with home school friends because He may call me to do it sooner rather than later. I just can't see my boys in a room of 40 children getting the attention they need. I applaud all of you, and I'm watching!

kathy said...

OMGoodness! I Love You! This so sounds like me! I love homeschooling and I can't quit when I see how much my children are getting from this. I so agree on how I am also learning right along with them. I love doing this and I miss all the things I used to do that were my passions. I'm slowly working some things back in. The boys are helping me start seedlings - what I really loved yesterday was my 12 year old got so excited when he saw the first sprouts peeking out and immediately started talking about all the varieties of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc that we should expand on. We are now going to turn the workshop in the basement in to a growing plants room with grow lights which we'll be researching today. I was so happy to see his passion. I told him I was growing a bread garden (herbs) right now and now we are going to expand in to a pizza garden, a salad garden, fruit, etc. My 11 year old is going to set up an excel program to help us keep track and he is also going to video tape everything. It really is fabulous! I love what I do!

Tiffani said...

Girl. Where should I start??

You handled yourself perfectly. I am certain she walked away with truth and honesty but there's no way she walked away not seeing your heart for your kids and homeschooling them.

I echo Whimzie and say really, Lord? Me? This? Them? And, everyday He reminds me that HE is homeschooling ME ;)--He reveals Himself through educating them, studying history and the Bible, or loading my dishwasher even...

It IS hard and IS time consuming and it IS a gift...I am proud of you for persevering through the this first year and being willing to find your footing...and for carrying on next year too.

I find it very refreshing to talk to a HS Mom that tells it like it is and talks the "real" stuff...if I hear of one who talks as if everything is Fluf'nStuf..I get a little leary...

I absolutely love how you described this journey and how we become the student...thanks for sharing and I love ya.

Lori said...

This is a great, honest post, Kellie. We're considering (and most importantly - praying about) homeschooling after kindergarten and I appreciate your willingness to tell it like it is. I know HSing comes easy to some, but I have a feeling I'll be in the other group. I'm glad to have your blog as a resource and encouragement if we go that way! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so honest about your Homeschooling journey. I have been mulling around the idea of homeschooling.. yet.. I am not sure.. I know I have a while to make this decision.. I use to be completely shut off to the idea of homeschooling.. God is softening my heart to it. I have decided to wait and listen to see what he has to say about it.. that is a HUGE step for me!

Carrie said...

Thanks for sharing topic with us. I am surrounded by home school mommies and they are great but I often wonder it the whole experience is as great as they make it look. I know that you are probably doing a fantastic job, don't be too hard on yourself.

meh said...

It is so funny that you blogged this topic today...had a conversation this morning with someone who "doesn't understand it", specifically due to a certain child in our church with "social issues" who is--gasp--homeschooled.

And, yes, I did get defensive. You know me! But dude, how many kids with "social issues" are in my kids public school classes? Or were in their private school classes back in the day? Yep!!!! Don't get me started!!

But, ANYWAYS, back to what I was originally going to say. Homeschooling taught me that God sometimes calls us to do things that are hard and out of our comfort zone. He helps us see it through day to day, month to month, year to year. It sometimes isn't until later that we see the challenge for what it really is and then we are dazzled with how Strong and Wise He is and we get to be left...amazed and awe struck and humbled!

That is what homeschooling taught me. I am so glad you are following His call at this time in your life and are willing to "be there" for others who may be called to homeschooling!

(Could this blog have possibly created longer responses?!)

Michele said...

Oh Kellie . . . I wish I could just give you a big hug and a big AMEN! This is my 8th year homeschooling and I'm still the student . . . BIG TIME! I just love the way you worded your feelings . . . and you are The biggest thing God teaches me with homeschooling is the constant dying to self. .. oh, how I struggle. See, my children have never gone to school. . . so I've never seen the grass on the other side. . . I just look over there and sometimes want to go and graze. Your feelings are perfectly normal . . . whether you're a newbie at homeschooling or a seasoned one. Very well said, my friend, very well said.

Michelle@Life with Three said...

Kellie, this was such an authentically written post -- and that's why I love reading your blog.

Homeschooling has to be one of the hugest undertakings imaginable. It would scare me to death. I admire you for being so open to God's leading and being so committed to your children. And, I admire you for being straight and saying, "Hey. It's hard work."

I'm not sure that the woman at the table really wanted to hear a "rah rah homeschooling" speech. She wanted a glimpse of what to expect. And by sharing the benefits AND the challenges, I think you helped prepare her for the road ahead.

Just my two cents. :)

Woman Interrupted said...

Wow! This was a hot topic and a great post for me to read on the topic (my husband is sold on HSing.) I was a teacher and know how much work it is to prepare for one subject and one grade level. I am skeptical how the big families with lots of kids get it all done! I guess I'll pray instead of worry whether or not its right for us (still have some time to think about it.)

Anonymous said...

Love this: "Homeschooling is a work that is refining me." Exactly! Oh, and what refinement I've experienced *this*