Tag Archives: children

Homeschooling Is A Roller Coaster Ride

Homeschooling is a roller coaster ride. We got on the ride in November and we’ve been going full speed ahead, up and down, up and down, sideways, upside down and stop, stop, go ever since.  As a parent it is the best and the worst of times. It’s both energizing and exhausting. My only advice, If you are thinking about homeschooling, is make sure you put on your seat belt first.

Homeschooling Is A Roller Coaster Ride

There, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system I’m going to dive in with why we love it. First, field trips are fun and we can do as many as we want. We can go any where, at any time. We can turn almost anything into a learning experience!

We take as long as we need to learn something.  When my daughter is struggling with the concept of doubles plus one, we can just hang out and practice it until she’s got it down. She doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of a classroom filled with other kids ready to move on. If we don’t like the book or curriculum we are using we can change it.

We spend lots of time together (this can also be stressful at times especially when you are a die hard introvert like I am). We get to witness our daughter learning. When she grasps a concept that she has been struggling with I turn into a real-life cheerleader, pom-poms and all. It’s one of the most exciting experiences I’ve ever had. My daughter loves all of the undivided attention. I get to learn about how her mind works and what interests her.

A short lesson on dinosaurs can evolve into discussions about big things like space, the big bang theory, God, various religious beliefs, scientific theories, the life cycle of turtles, and evolution. We have all of the time in the world to talk, dissect, and explore.

The downside of homeschooling is pretty thrilling too. Like a psychological thriller. There are endless periods of anxiety where we question if we are teaching enough or if she is learning enough. We worry about whether we are teaching her the right things. Is she behind her peers? Is she ahead? Will she be able to make it in the adult world if I close up the books and use baking to teach her fractions instead? I can lie awake for hours pondering these questions while simultaneously googling for statistics, curriculum, and homeschool support networks.

There are also days where nobody wants to do anything at all. The baby is cranky, the six year old is determined to watch Netflix until her eyes fall out of her head and her brain turns into zombie mush. There are days so packed with social activities that we forget to do spelling, or math, or to read. It’s feast or famine around here with almost everything.

Some weeks my daughter will be obsessed with math. It’s math from morning to night.  Meanwhile I will fret over her undone phonics workbook pages and reading practice. The very next week she will hate math telling me it’s boring or too hard and she will want to read everything she can get her hands on including the small print on the dog food bag. I then, of course, fret over her unfinished math worksheets and fall into despair over whether or not this first grade math failure will prevent her from acceptance into MIT.

There are entire days devoted to art, music, and cinema. These days I will congratulate myself for exposing her to culture, imagination, and creativity. Then I will berate myself for neglecting the three r’s.

Other days will be about science and history and the all mighty playground. On these days I will fret about how messy my house is becoming and about how I have no time to myself anymore. I’ll worry that the baby is being shuffled around from place to place and doesn’t have the nap schedule she deserves or needs. I will look around and realize that the homeschool stuff is taking over every room of the house and wonder if we really need all of these items to produce a well-rounded education. In the next moment I’ll worry we don’t have enough stuff or that maybe I have invested in all of the wrong items. There is always the sense that we could do more or could do better.

Homeschooling is a roller coaster ride. I’m hoping over time the anxiety will settle and our schedule will become more consistent. I’m also hoping to learn to accept the ebb and flow and develop a stronger faith in the idea that things will turn out all right in the end. So far, none of us have wanted to get off the roller coaster, no matter how scary it gets, so I guess that speaks volumes about the experiment we are conducting. Tiny-Small said it best the other day when she was  clad in her pajamas at 1pm and eating chocolate while building a house out of gumdrops and toothpicks, “I’d never be able to do this if I was in school right now!” I picked up a chunk of her Rice Krispies earth model we had cut in half the night before, bit into it and said, “You got that right, Kid!”

Motherhood Is Like Being On Stage With Your Mic Turned Off

This morning I was in the shower, where I have all of my epiphanies, and I realized motherhood is like being on stage with your mic turned off. People are expecting you to perform and solve their problems and just be awesome, but at the same time they can’t seem to hear a word you are saying.

The other day, for instance, I was in the shower when I heard someone yelling, “Mom? Mom? Mom!” The yelling was coming from downstairs, but I figured if I could hear yelling someone could surely hear me yelling back, “I’m in the shower!” but I was completely wrong. This is what happened instead.

“Mom? Mom? MOM! Where are you, Mom? MOM!”

“I’m in the shower! I’m upstairs in the shower.”

“Mom? I can’t find you. Where is mom?”

“I’m upstairs in the shower!”

“Mom? I’m all alone. My mom left me. Maaaaaaaawwwwm. Maaaaaawwwwm!”

“I am right here in the shower!”

“Nobody is going to take care of me. Mom? Mom? Oh no, where is my Mom? Maaaawwwwwm!”

“In the shower! Upstairs!”

“Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? MOM!”

At this point I just couldn’t yell anymore so I jumped out of the shower, flung open the bathroom door and yelled, no screamed, “I-AM-IN-THE-SHOWER!” I wanted to yell something more like, “I am in the #$%&! shower!” but I didn’t because I am a mother and you aren’t supposed to swear at children even if you really, really want to.

Then I felt a hand on my wet, soapy leg. I looked down and there is my daughter staring up at me, “Why are you yelling, Mom? I heard you the first time.”

Again, swearing at children is against the parenting code of ethics so I just gave her my best stink-eye and tried not to grind my teeth.

Whatever. I’m a grownup. I have to act like one.

Motherhood Is Like Being On Stage With Your Mic Turned Off

I got back in the shower while my daughter stood in front of the mirror putting my face cream on her body like spackling. I was just grateful that the yelling had ended. As I was rinsing my hair the water from the showerhead sort of faded into a mere trickle. My house was built in the 80’s so the plumbing is a mystery. If you flush a toilet while someone is in the shower the water just stops coming out of the shower head and because we have an on-demand water heater the water also gets ice-cold.

My husband, even with all of the yelling back and forth between his wife and daughter for the past five minutes, had no idea that I was upstairs in the shower. Even though I had specifically told everyone, “I’m going to take a quick shower,” just moments before taking said shower, my family had no clue what had happened to me or where I was. I stood in the shower, naked and freezing with shampoo dripping into my eye waiting for the water to come back on. I thought all the swears…every single one, but I remained silent and started plotting my revenge. I haven’t taken an uninterrupted shower in five years. I swear, if I try to take a shower when nobody is home my husband will mysteriously arrive having forgotten something and flush the toilet, run the dishwasher, or decide to wash his hands as if he were scrubbing in for surgery. I plot my revenge on a regular basis these days. Five years of revenge is staring to take a toll.

Anyway, that’s another story for another day.

What I really want to say is I know my family isn’t deaf because they  hear other people speaking and they hear dogs barking. They laugh at funny things said on cartoons and comment on birds singing. My daughter can hear a whisper about chocolate ice cream from a mile away. My husband can sing the words to all of his favorite songs with accuracy. My family members can physically hear, but for some reason they cannot seem to hear me.

That’s why motherhood is like being on stage with your mic turned off. People see your lips moving, but apparently no sound is coming out…unless you yell and scream really, really loudly. Then they just act like you are a total lunatic because at that point, naked, shooting daggers out of your eyes with soap bubbles sliding down your cheek, you really are a lunatic.

Motherhood. It’s a mad house.

Pass the chocolate.