It’s not Little House on the Prairie

Like most home schooling mothers, I have had times when I’ve questioned our decision to home school. With the arrival of our fourth child this year as well as a few other things going on in our family life, thing lately have been rather hectic. I’ve had more than a few bad days and last week hit a wall of frustration, tiredness and feeling overwhelmed by all the demands of home life, parenting, and being with small people all day every day. (Well almost).

Some days it looks like this

In the height of the emotion (with copious weeping and feelings of despair) I dramatically stated that something had to change and it was time to consider sending the kids to school. Hence the weeping. Firstly I felt like a failure. (Why do I perceive not coping as outright failure?) And secondly I felt heart broken at the thought of giving up on this home schooling thing. Silly me ought to know better than to even broach such an important subject while I was an exhausted emotional wreck. But I did. I started to think about it. And it made me sad. Not because I’m anti-school, (although admittedly I don’t really like them) or because I can’t bear to be separated from my children (I know they’d be fine, and I’d enjoy the space). I was sad because I love so much about home schooling.

I’m passionate about the lifestyle, the freedom they have to pursue things they enjoy, the different people they meet, the natural and real way they can learn, and the fact that in these fleeting years of having young children, I get so much time with them. Time you just can’t get back if you miss it.

Anyway, I decided that school would provide a good break for me, but would add other stresses. Like 5 early mornings a week, and afternoon pickups. And homework (ugh). And a busy energetic boy having to sit down and listen and be still for longish periods of time. What would he be like by the time he got home? The same amount of energy, condensed into the time between school pick up and bed time? KABOOM! And you know what? None of all this was about their education. I’ve always said I wanted to be intentional about it and not just send them to school because everyone else was, or to keep them home because we always have, but to choose what is best for them, and for our family.

Where is this going? I don’t know… I can’t remember my point. Maybe there isn’t one. Just that I went through all this and decided that for now they will stay at home. They are learning. We are growing together as a family. And I’m loving seeing them growing in empathy and kindness. I’m growing too. Each time we’ve had a new baby, there has been a stretching time. It adds a whole lot of extra pressure and demands on the family. But it’s that pressure (and the ensuing crisis) that forces us to grow. To create space for each other. To share more and help each other. I guess that’s what family is about. And that’s what we’re working on at the moment.

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