I can’t believe it’s already the end of the regular school year! We were planning to go through the Summer anyway with math and history, due to the newborn baby and taking time off, but a lot of things are wrapping up, and the kids are excited for Summer.
I can’t believe though, that we’re already in mid-May. I woke up Mother’s day morning and felt just an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. The morning sunlight was streaming into the kitchen, and as I walked around barefoot, getting my coffee and grabbing my hat before going out to look at the garden, I could tell it was already becoming a beautiful day.
My husband had already woken up hours before, had kissed me and whispered, “Happy Mother’s day,” to which at that insanely early hour of 4am-ish, I sleepily wished him happy mother’s day right back! 😂 LOL
We have tons of yellow squash flowers and a few of the veggies themselves growing, and already many juicy looking tomatoes! Peppers are coming in nicely all over the place… it is crazy how fast a garden grows. And having a garden just brings so much joy.
Our tomatoes are growing so fast, we actually have 12 tomatoes growing at the same time on just one plant alone!! Some are getting really big and heavy 😀 I’m thinking we’ll actually have too much and will give some away to neighbors if they want them.
Things have been so incredibly busy here for us. Just lots of different projects going on, together with homeschooling, a brand new baby, etc… it’s just a lot.
One thing I am grateful for though is our ability to homeschool. While most of our friends our constantly complaining on social media about how much their kids are expected to do for their new and very strange, “distance-learning,” we’re over here going on like nothing has happened, and school is still (thankfully – SO thankfully) enjoyable for them.
Homeschool is just amazing, there is no getting around it. Our 9 year old son is studying multiple subjects at such an advanced level that he’s basically at a middle school foundation of learning now. He’s set to have a science test on the brain and vision, and instead of just learning boring facts about all of that, he goes above and beyond to really research deep into the material on his own, and had the opportunity to even watch brain surgery (online) if he wanted to. It’s just a completely different experience than traditional government schools (or charter or Christian for that matter). And for our 5 year old, I’ve been able to go at a slower pace when he needed it, which has actually helped him advance suddenly very quickly when he catches on to a new subject! If he was in a regular school, I’m not sure they would have been able to slow down for him enough when he was needing it. With teaching them myself, I’m able to, “see,” exactly what they may be needing or not understanding correctly, and fix it, or try a different approach, right then, as opposed to making them feel more and more inadequate as they watch their peers around them move on (part of what I think is making boys in particular feel like school isn’t for them, leading them to give up altogether).
It’s been so wonderful getting to teach them first-hand and experience it all with them – so much better than passing it off to an overwhelmed teacher who has 20+ other children to teach at the same time. This one-on-one attention just cannot be beat, and it’s very wonderful to see that play out individually for each child based on what they need, and on what they want to learn when it comes to things they can choose.
I’m not saying homeschooling is easy. One of the disappointing things about this quarantine period has been seeing all the parents relentlessly complain about their children’s schoolwork and getting them to do schoolwork; explaining that children shouldn’t be learning at home like this anyway – that its just too much for them and that that is the reason why they are acting out or can’t cope or whatnot. It’s like they expected this to be really easy.
It does take awhile for new homeschooling parents to help their children get into the, “groove,” of doing school, but in general, homeschooling is kind of hard. It’s a lot harder at the beginning when you first pull your kids out, because they almost go through a kind of shock being out of the school system, but even after you get established, teaching should be expected to be a little hard – it’s a skill, and as a parent, you have to develop it overtime. Homeschool is beautiful and fun and hilarious at times, but it shouldn’t be expected to just be super easy without putting in first a lot of work to create the kind of environment to make it easier. It’s just hard at times, juggling multiple children and teaching them. There are a lot of tricks you can do to make it easier, like separating subjects so that each child has almost a whole day (or time block) devoted to one-on-one time with you to really set them up for more self-motivated (easier) work later on in the week, but even things like that aren’t fool-proof. Nothing is fool-proof when you have a lot of kids. One day a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to teach our lesson on Latin-based vocabulary words, and the baby just wouldn’t stop crying (even after being fed, changed and held). We had to switch up the schedule and have them do some work on their own where I wasn’t needed, and come back to the English lesson later. You have to be able to do this without getting overly stressed, otherwise it creates an awful environment. Homeschool takes a lot of flexibility and creativity… something that parents have to learn how to develop in themselves and basically figure out on their own when they’re in the middle of it. It’s not for the anxious or uptight parent, in my opinion… you need to be able to find the humor in plans gone wrong, to have fun and be spontaneous.
With the new quarantine distance-learning, our friends are basically just harassing their kids in order to get them to do their work, which of course, would be awful everyday, all day long. It is just SO incredibly different from real, actual homeschool where YOU as the parent create the curriculum, know your limits, know you can extend some subjects over the Summer, and set your own goals and tests/quizzes, projects for your own kids! It is a WORLD of difference from what this new distance-learning pseudo-homeschooling is.
And my hope is that a lot of parents are going to see through this bs, see how the only way their kids were getting work done before was in having the teachers basically (sometimes lightly) harass them into doing it, and pull their kids out to have more control over the situation. Government schools are already failing at epic proportions to actually educate our children, we might as well call them on it now – now that the parents have had a chance to see what it was really like, and teach your children yourself at home.
I’ve found that you really don’t need to harass your kids as I’m seeing our friends complain about in order to get them to do school. Our boys have gotten very good at focusing, and understanding that the quicker they get the very hard or just unpleasant work done, the more time they have to actually do fun things they want to do. When I pulled our oldest out to homeschool him, the first thing I noticed was that he had zero self-motivation, which was tragic and horrifying (and when I homeschooled him before, at age 2-4, he wasn’t like that at all, school had beaten it out of him). He always made A’s in government schools, but being smart enough to do well like that, and learning the life-skill of being motivated to learn and taking ownership over your work are two different things.
It’s a good life lesson in helping them learn self-discipline and grit to persevere through something less than pleasant, but thankfully, most of homeschooling can be tailored to help make it all mostly pleasant! That Latin-based English lesson is intense, and it was never our oldest’s favorite subject, but he has come to really enjoy it and look forward to it! I’ve very grateful our boys have almost mastered their self-motivation and self-discipline at this point, so that it really isn’t so much of an issue anymore. This is extremely helpful when you have a newborn… they can do their work self-motivated, and the parent isn’t constantly on top of them to get them to finish.
Another quick thing about homeschooling is that you get to set up the environment tailored to your family’s needs. On Mondays, we love to make Monday jokes during our, “warm-up,” and breakfast time, and it’s been tradition to watch an episode of Garfield’s horrible Mondays to laugh at the start of the new week. But typically, we all love to hear classical music during the morning school routine, so I usually just put on, “Classical for Studying Radio,” on Pandora, but since pandora is tailored to one’s own liking, ours has mostly soft piano classical. Piano touches something deeply within me when I hear it… both my parents played really well, and it takes me back to that feeling of coming home, and our boys love the peace it brings.
Here’s a sample of the music we hear during our morning homeschooling –
Lastly, I’m sorry to end on such a dark note 😦 , but it’s been hard being the wife of a man who is on the front lines of rescuing children from abuse during this quarantine. He’s helped children who tried to commit suicide due to the abuse they’ve received, along with lots of other situations and I’m sure many more to come… and everything just kind of permeates me, even though I try to have a thick barrier. And he does try to preserve us from knowing a lot of the details… we are his peaceful, pristine place to come back to from the horrors he sees and tries to deal with. It’s almost always though only a situation where he feels like he’s never doing enough… only in his words, “putting a band-aid on a wound that needs expert medical skill and stitches.”
I think there’s a connection there though, between the parents like I said, “harassing,” their children basically, to get their work done, and the ones who crack and begin a cycle of emotional or even physical abuse. Not that some aren’t already in an abusive home. Just a couple of days ago, a horrific story came out and I almost couldn’t function I was so overwhelmed with emotions for the children, and especially the target boy – my heart died inside. And yes, it isn’t lost on me that she pulled him out of school, under the guise of homeschooling him, just so she could continue the abuse. Things like this make me beg my husband to adopt, or try to intervene somehow for these kids, even though I know him being there to get them out, put the monsters in jail is good… it just never feels like, “enough.”
If anyone is in Florida and thinking about becoming foster parents, that target child of the most demonic-like abuse, desperately needs a family who could help him. If anyone is in the situation to help him, I’ve been praying constantly for 3 days for him to be placed in the right home.