Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ruminating On The Joys of Freedom From School

I hear a lot of people say things like "How do you find time to homeschool? I could never get it together enough to manage coordinating that!" But lemme tell you.....

Elementary school almost killed me.

School times are not in any way shape or form based on work schedules and coordinating every body in the house waking, leaving, coming, and going to bed at different times wore me to the core. I am not organized in the least when it comes to time management and even as a stay at home mom I completely wilted under the stress of trying to manage elementary school life.
It is nothing like June Cleaver's days of everyone getting up, having a breakfast together, kids going off to school around 9, coming home in the early afternoon, playing before coming home for dinner at the same time as Dad, doing a bit of homework, and going to bed.

It was more like dragging a sleepy child up in the wee hours of the morning,
shoving her out the door so she can make her hour bus ride, then doing all the things teachers expect parents to do during the day (because apparently they aren't able to manage their time either and have children do their schoolwork during...you know...school), not to mention the constant requests to come in the help "supervise" classroom activities and parties (I'm shocked at how many "rewards" children are constantly given in school. Food based rewards. Nothing motivates Sit Still and Pay Attention like telling them they'll get skittles if you do!),
and then waiting for the bus since they have about an hour long window when they may arrive at your house and you HAVE to be there because even if you feel like your six year old is responsible enough to walk 100 yards home the school knows better
and then forcing your grumpy child to do her homework when she'd much rather be out playing since she's already been sitting inside missing out on the sunshine all day
but you know she has to do it now because when Dad comes home you'll eat and by the time you're done she will only have just enough time to take a bath and get into bed so that she's not literally melting into nothingness due to sleep deprivation.

Needless to say, I have a lot of respect for the vast majority of parents who do this. Every day. For years.

We lasted 3 months before I couldn't take it anymore. My child was in school all day but yet somehow the school had reached it's tentacles all the way into my house and strangled my own daily routines.

So what do we do now?

We play in a lot of gardens. Ours or other peoples.

We spend a lot of time taking care of our various pets

And try to meet up with Dad for lunch at least once a week

We can leisurely do our errands...

....and can enjoy painting from life rather than from a picture.

We play dress up

Sometimes as animals...

...and sometimes as nice gentlemen and ladies

We perform plays and make movies (this is a still from Lily's book report on Ramona Quimby Age 8, in which Lily made a commercial to sell the book, just like Ramona did)

And take lots of field trips

We enjoy silly things like playing with light and reflections

And only fall asleep when the house is still and quiet

So maybe homeschooling is a bit more about me than the kids. I am terrible at handling stressful days, I am terrible at forcing my children to do things, and I am terrible at doing things I don't want to do.
I melt into a pile of goo when you throw a bucket of stress on me. But hey, we all just have to do our best with what we have, right?

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