Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teachable Moments

Homeschooling has always been a struggle for me. I'm not sure I was cut out for it. The amount of work and planning, the details, the level of devotion needed - I just really never wanted all of it. What I wanted from homeschooling was the moments. The joy of having the children home to learn to cook, and sew and do art with their dad. I had this pretty picture, you see. It was going to be lovely. I would teach them to read and write. They would love literature and poetry and social studies. History would give them goosebumps and somehow math and science would be dealt with. We would go on field trips and they would pick apples in the orchard and strawberries in the fields. We would go to daily Mass at least once a week.

Fast forward to real life. Math is hard. Science is hard. I don't know what a nominitive noun is. I comma splice like a madwoman. We have only once ever made it to a daily Mass, and that was years ago. We have way more fun hanging out and goofing off than we do doing school. I can't get them to read what I want them to read, and managing several students in the higher grades is just...hard. So, we leave our sweet Mother of Divine Grace curricula that we haven't really been doing much of behind in search of something more structured, something where I have to answer to someone just so things are getting done. We enrolled in an online school. For the first few months we were slavish about getting school done. We were in the school room for 8 or 9 hours a day. By the time Christmas got here, we were DONE. Fried. Over. It took a long time to want to get back to it, but we did, at a somewhat more relaxed pace. Trying to find the middle ground. But, the joy in learning together is all but absent. We are learning. In fact, we have done more school this year than we EVER have before. That's a victory. But, it has come at a price. We don't have any joyful discoveries. There isn't time. There is poetry, but we rush through it because we 700 more lessons to do before we can stop for the day. There is literature, the good stuff, too. But I don't get to snuggle on the couch and read it to all of them, because the other kids all have their own, separate lessons to do.

So, I have decided to take some of it back. I don't know how to work it all out for next year, but there has to be some balance. We need the joy back. We need the reading, the praying, the learning back. If I am going to teach my children at home, I want the moments! I want the recognition of a new idea. I want the goosebumps of history and the thrill of creating amazing pieces of art with Dad.

So what is in store for next year? I am not sure yet. I know we will be home, I know we will be better than this year, and far better than the years before. I think we are going to have to find something that gives me the moments back. I miss them.

1 comment:

  1. You are a good momma wanting a good education and life for your family. I know you will find a happy balance - but I'm not going to promise roses :) Honestly, it is a lot of blood, sweat and tears, this real-life learning in the home. It is very rewarding, but it is exhausting, there is no doubt about it. I do love Modg's sequence of curriclum so I know I wouldn't change from it -- however, I'm not enrolled this next year, but will still follow the syllabi as we have for the last 15 years now. I do add more read-alouds - like good children's literature (Five in A Row), but I keep it simple. Hang in there, you're doing a good job - I'm sure this has been a super-learning year for you all and you have all learned oodles and oodles! :)


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