Thursday, November 26, 2009

the reality of it is...

What I want to do:
I want to wake up and start "school" whenever everyone is ready. Whenever that ends up being. You know, no big hairy deal. School in our jammies? Costumes? Bathing suits? Sure. Whatever. Show up when you're ready. Sometime today.



Actually, what I’d really like to do is just exist and experience life and take whatever learning we get from it as The Truth. I'd like to open the front door for my kids every morning and say “Run free, little children of the wind. Run free, explore and learn!” and be amazed at the tidbits of truth they find around every corner.



I would love to spend all day happy and free, working as much on my own self and what I want to learn as my children are happily exploring their world in whatever way they see fit.

I've read people's blogs and websites and books about this great and happy and free life. And I wanted it completely and totally for myself.

However.
The reality of it is...

It's not working.

And the deeper reality of that is...

It doesn't necessarily matter what I want in this educational choice called homeschooling. What matters is that it is working for my kids. You know, the kids who were the whole reason we chose homeschooling in the first place?

The reality is...

The happy daisy chain freedom that I've sucked out of blogs/websites/books/people is great for who it works for, but I've come to realize there are actually children who cannot function in happy daisy chain freedom. And I'm not meaning any disrespect with "happy daisy chain freedom" because I would very much like to have that. Its just not where we are. And I think its ok.

The reality is...

I have Iggy. And Ooky. And when plopping them in the middle of happy daisy chain freedom...it just plain isn’t working. I tried to ignore it, and then I tried to fight it. (Really hard.)But not liking the facts doesn’t change the facts. Right now, in this season of life, my kids need more structure and guidance than that. And my priority needs to be what works for them, not what sounds like a dreamy happy parenting theory to their mom.

In this season of life, my kids knowing that school is planned out and will last from 9 am to noon is security. In this season of life, my kids knowing that bedtime is 9 pm and that before that we always take baths, read from a chapter book, and brush our teeth is a good thing. In this season of life, it is important that my kids know when-you-do-this, this-is-going-to-happen (whether that thing be a good or bad thing). In this season of life, my kids knowing that they have some choices but also a lot of responsibilities is a good thing.



I have kids (like many people)who will, when given an inch, take a trip around the globe. Twice. In happy daisy chain world, those kids take over the house.

I have kids who, when not given enough boundaries, resort to freak out panic attacks and all sorts of insane "have you ever thought about taking him to a counselor" types of behavior. In happy daisy chain world, those kids take over the house.

The reality of it is...

I'm frustrated. Because after reading blogs/websites/people, I was left to feel if a more loose and free way of education wasn't working for me, there must be something I was doing wrong. In other words, I'd gone and screwed up "free".

But the reality of it is...

The only right way to homeschool is the way that works for you. And that's all that matters. There are so many options out there your head might just explode. And nothing works for every kid or every family. And nothing works forever. You find center, and then it moves. You move with it. Life goes on.




So if right now, in this season, it works for me to plan out lessons and research and "do school" in a way using methods I hadn't quite planned on...if its working, why should I worry? Why should I feel guilt? Why should I feel like I have to explain myself?

The freedom we are given in choosing to homeschool does not necessarily translate for every family to mean happy daisy chain freedom.

The reality of it is...

the freedom we are given is the freedom to do whatever works for us.

10 comments:

Sherry said...

I wish you much luck in finding your family groove.

If you haven't seen this article, it may make you feel better.
http://www.homeeducator.com/FamilyTimes/articles09/92-9.html

Me said...

Great article...very well said. Thanks for the link. I encourage everyone else to take a look at it :)

Kim said...

Thanks for this! I SO badly want that happy daisy chain freedom...and for my kids to thrive in that...but then there's reality and reality is it just doesn't work for us much either. I always resort to feeling that it's because I must be doing it wrong somehow...so its always a relief to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way! :) Here's to finding that groove...whatever that looks like!

s t a c y said...

Yay! Center moves. And we do, too.

I like that.

I wish you many blessings in moving with the groove. :)

Jennifer said...

My kids are the same way. I think a lot of it has to do with them being so close in age. If given too much freedom in deciding their activities for the day, all they do is end up fighting and getting into mischief. They get bored and can't think of anything else to do besides bug each other. That's what happens here anyways. We "do school" from 9-11 each day, have lunch at 11, and then they go outside and play until around 2:30 when they come in for snack time. Then they play inside until 4:30ish when we have dinner. After dinner they used to go downstairs with Daddy until bedtime at 7:30, but now that Daddy is working until really late so they are with me. They each get 1/2 hour on the computer, and then watch the other one play, and then we'll watch something educational on HIST, Food Network, or Animal Planet until bedtime. I think the structure works well here because they know what the schedule is and don't get bored so easily.
I commend you on trying new things and finding your groove :o) Everyone, and every family is different and has to do what works for them. Good job Mama!

Sadie said...

I feel the same some days. I love the look of unschooling on paper....but from what we've tried..it doesn't work for us. They need structure of some sort. They enjoy our units on things they didn't think to be interested in until we began to learn about it. I need it too. Our education and life has evolved as things change and it will continue to do so I am sure. I am off to look a that article....good luck on finding your new groove.

mamak said...

You little groove finder, you! I am still searching for mine, but my kids and my needs keep changing, such a conundrum. Love this post! going to check out he article now!

topsytechie said...

I hear ya, sister. My boys at the age yours are now, would have never stood for blissful freedom and unencumbered learning. They craved structure like they craved air. I tried to fight it, but couldn't. So we kept a nice structured homeschool environment right up until this year, when they are now 13 and 15. And now...at this stage...interest-led learning is a blessing beyond a blessing. The timing is right...they kinda know who they are and what they want now...and they are lapping it up. Take it year by year. One day, you will be able to send them out the door, and say, "go forth and learn", and by god, they actually will!!!

growingflowers.wordpress.com said...

thank you for this. I like hearing the reality of it all - I know what you mean when you discuss the happy daisy chain freedom type of parenting - or at LEAST the parenting that is reported. I know that those writers who write just the beautiful side are experiencing the challenges as well. We need the honesty. I have older kids - and am desperately looking for other "growing naturally" type bloggers for older kids - 12 and 14.... I'm trying to make my blog honest. It's one of the reasons I respect Mama-Om.
Thanks!

Crunchy Christian Mom said...

LOVE this post! I tried to say the same thing a couple months back, but you said it better. :)