Monday, February 29, 2016
We pulled Apple out of public pre-k way back in 2009. That's really when our homeschool journey began. I stayed home with her from the time she was just a few months old but the decision to homeschool happened around 2009. I had a few friends that homeschooled their kids so I knew all homeschool moms didn't wear denim jumpers. Beyond that though my expectations were less than realistic.
I can't tell you an exact moment that we decided to homeschool because I fought the decision for quite awhile. I had looked forward to public school and time alone with little brother and eventually going back to work full time. I never expected to be a homeschool mom. It wasn't in my plan. I didn't think I could do it. Once we decided to give it a try, I jumped in. I had all these expectations. I'd cook a big breakfast every morning. We'd have perfect mornings learning and playing. I'd continue to get loads of things done at home because we'd have so much time and flexibility. I'd bake and we'd go to playdates. It would all be perfect.
Reality: It wasn't perfect then and it isn't perfect now. I'm always learning something new or trying something different to make it better. Sometimes we have more bad days than good days. Some days I'm certain I'm going to go crazy, or I'm going to drive my kids crazy. I like schedule and routine. Our days hold little of either.
Let me give you a few examples.
Expectation: We will all get up at 7. We'll have breakfast and ready ourselves for the day. All 3 of us will be at our desks by 8, and we will be ready to begin our homeschool time.
Reality: Even when we are all up at 7, we rarely make it to the schoolroom before 8:30. Someone is always dragging. The phone always rings. There's always some chore that needs to be done. The dog needs to be walked. Hubby is trying to get out the door. We overslept because we got home late the night before. There's nothing quick to eat for breakfast.
Expectation: The kids will do all their independent work independently. They'll read on their own and follow the instructions and finish in a timely manner. They will turn in neat, complete work that will render an A+.
Reality: They will ask questions. All of them. All of the questions in the world. They'll argue over the DVD player for math lessons. They will argue over the computer for online work. They will not bother reading any of the directions on anything. They will write their answers in such a manner that I will pray they are both going to grow up to be doctors because I can't read their writing. They will take FOREVER. They will go to the bathroom 643 times each. They will sharpen their pencils 452 times each. They will lose every paper, colored pencil, book, notebook, dictionary, pencil that they need. They will make me lose my mind.
Expectation: We will all sit in a circle and do our group work together. I will read and they will listen like little angels. Then they will work together to complete the tasks for those subjects.
Reality: There is no circle. There are no angels here. There will be an argument over completeing shared work. I'm not sure anyone listens when I read.
Expectation: We will finish at 12:00 (or earlier) each day and then have lunch together. Our state requires 4 hours, and 4 hours should be ample time to finish their daily work. After lunch they can do chores and then have free time or we can run errands.
Reality: Ha. There are days when we finish at 12. There's just as many if not more days that we are back in here working after lunch. Some days it takes ALL DAY. Like longer than public school. That's a rare bad day but it does happen. Some days it's just a war. Some days it just lags on and on. Some days I should probably just call it quits and save it all for tomorrow. But then we won't get done on time tomorrow, and I'd call it quits and we'd never get a break.
Whatever you've chosen for your life- working or staying at home, public school or private school or homeschool, fast food fanatics or health nuts- there's probably a gap between your expectations and the reality. Just remember that is true for all of us. Everyone around you experiences the same thing on a daily basis. I find lots of time in prayer helps me make it through. A quick text chat with a friend living in the same reality can be priceless. I think in this digital time my best suggestion when you are facing a dose of reality is to stay off of social media. There isn't much reality on Facebook or Twitter. Even some blogs are guilty of only showing off the perfect moments. I've even seen some #keepingitreal posts that feel very staged and unrealistic. Find a friend IRL and enjoy some reality with them.
I'll leave you with one last expectation vs. reality.
Expectation: If I know it's going to be a busy week ahead I will clean my whole house on Saturday or Sunday (rather than doing my daily cleaning). I ALWAYS do this cheerfully expecting my house will stay clean all week.
Reality: By the time I finish the last room, all the other rooms are already a mess. It never even feels clean for a whole day. I can even go back through and pick up and spot clean and within 24 hours it looks as though a small bomb has hit just my house. Sigh.
I'm sharing this dose of "R"eality on Blogging Through the Alphabet with Adventures with Jude and Through the Calm and Through the Storm.