10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Homeschooling

I’m over at Simple Homeschool today talking about how homeschooling my kids has given me an education of my own.

“There are stories I can’t tell these days — struggles that will stay between our own four walls out of respect for my kids.

The truth is that when I talk about homeschooling now, I end up talking about me, not math. I write about how I hope all the years at home have served my kids well, hoping I’ve done enough of this or that, or that I’ve said enough “I’m sorrys.”

Will the future be kind to me, I wonder, as I see this strange and sweet chapter nearing its last few pages?”

– See more at: http://simplehomeschool.net/10-years-of-homeschooling/#more-41810

The Hardest Part of Homeschooling

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Over at Simple Homeschool, parents are writing about the hardest thing about homeschooling their child(ren).  As I think about this topic I realize my answers to that question have changed over the years.

Once, the hardest thing was coordinating nap times so that I could grab uninterrupted reading time with an older child.

Later it was dealing with constant distractions and short attention spans.

Then it was homeschooling in a foreign country and having everything I relied on for routine and structure stand on its head for months at a time.

Now, with so many of those little kid (and traveling-while-homeschooling) scenarios becoming increasingly distant memories, I’m in a different place.

Now?

The hardest thing about homeschooling is dealing with my own self–my lack of motivation and my general sense of fatigue.  It’s not my kids’ squirming or attitudes or sleepless nights due to power outages that give me pause.

It’s me.  I’m tired, and sometimes–can I be honest?–a little bored.

This isn’t what I expected five years ago.  I thought that after ten years of teaching my kids, of having endless conversations about ideas and the world around us, after years of browsing through museums, of setting timers for wayward math-sheet-fillers, I’d get to a place where everything fell into place and we breezed through the years.

But it turns out that just when this path gets easier in one way, it gets harder in another.

I’m not sure how to the solve the problem of my own self.  I know that this educational choice is still the one that works best for us, so I want to get out of my own way so that we can go the distance.  So far, I’m trying to help this mother out by

  • spending extra time in the morning reading, praying, writing, and thinking.
  • working on a few personal projects that are mine alone, ones that have nothing to do with my kids and everything to do with the person I am outside of Mother.
  • spending time with women friends when those moments present themselves.  (I need to be encouraged and refreshed by other people, though of course there are times when they drain the life out of me, too).
  • doing the types of “educational” things with my kids that make all of us happy, like re-reading favorite books together.
  • exercising with the door shut while listening to my favorite music.

One thing I know is that this season will pass, too, and with it a host of good and some not-so-good memories.  But that would be the case no matter how we managed our educations.  I’m not as naive anymore when it comes to thinking through what I want my kids to have gleaned from this homeschooling lifestyle.  But I’m not a cynic, either.

This journey, like all journeys, is a patchwork quilt of moments, and some squares are more tattered than others.  Still, I’m trying to remember the big picture, the warmth of the whole, rather than picking at flaws in the fabric.

The Power of Poetry

I’m over at Simple Homeschool today.  We’re talking about poetry, of all things.  Come over and join us!

“We’re in the living room. Two of the kids are stretched on the couch and they’re tugging a blanket between them, though they know better than to wear it out further.

The middle boy sits on the loveseat. He smiles and flops himself flat, legs off the side.

He knows he has the better seat, the one across from me…”

Read the rest here.

Pressing Through the Middle Years of Homeschooling

I’m a writer who likes fresh beginnings and well-timed endings.  Middles?  Not so much.

When I think about the middle of, say, a novel manuscript, I imagine a hammock creaking under the weight of a couple of lemonade-sipping kids or a dad who really ought to be mowing the lawn.

Creative writing instructors refer to these in-between pages as the dreaded “saggy middle.”

They teach rookies and published authors alike how to push through their own saggy middles with enough energy and forward momentum to keep readers engaged until the end.

– See more at: http://simplehomeschool.net/middle-years-homeschooling/#more-35332

Homeschooling In A Different World

The sun’s warmth slipped through the iron latticework of our living room windows, burning away the early morning fog. The first call to prayer sounded over the loudspeaker filling our apartment with strains of muffled devotion. The kids emerged from their shared bedroom with sleepy eyes and plopped on the couch.

Dilsara, our Nepali house helper, whisked past them to sweep dusty floors and make beds. Breakfast would be cereal and buffalo milk, as usual.

The kids begged to watch a Popeye cartoon in Hindi, and I pretended to hesitate before relenting.

Our morning ritual in India. […]

Read the rest over at Simple Homeschool.