Monday, September 26, 2011

I've Decided Some Things

I believe I have blogged on and on lately about how tired I've been. may have mentioned lately about being tired. We had all last week off of school and I went out of town to a ladies' retreat this weekend. I've had some time to think. Here is what I've concluded:

I do not want to go back into that homeschool room!

It may look pretty, but it feels like jail.

It finally hit me last night as I was lying in bed. I have lost me! I know that sounds dramatic but folks I think I have been having a bit of a homeschool burnout. I've never had that before, but this is our 5th year and I found myself thinking of the old Reba McIntyre song "Is There Life Out There?" (Except I don't want to go back to school like she did in the video thankyouverymuch. Nor do I want to be married to Huey Louis.)

Anyway, I think the disdain I feel for walking back into that homeschool room is because for the last 6 weeks, I have been sitting in there for 4-5 hours a day. Then what else do I do with my time? Well, meal planning and prep, grocery shopping, mom taxi, errands, housework, laundry, and then on the weekends we do family stuff. And in the middle of all that---I realized---I am not ever doing anything I want to do!

Don't get me wrong--I WANT to homeschool my kids. I WANT to be a homemaker. I WANT to go do things with my family. But everything these last 6 weeks have just felt like I run from one "have to do" item to the next with no stops for other things along the way. There has to be joy in the day. This should not all feel like one big job that I don't even like!

I have to make it where I can enjoy these two loves!

What am I doing wrong, I wondered? What happened to "just live life and your kids will learn long division along the way?" (I've never bought that, by the way) Isn't homeschooling supposed to be a way of life....not a job?

So I decided to try a little experiment this week. You remember our wall schedule, right?

Well, I'm going to rip those suckers right down and shove them in a cup. Then we are going to start our day with a prayer or some Bible reading (that has been missing this year too) and then I'm going to set the girls loose to get their school work done. I am placing the responsibility on them. I am tired of the homeschool sun rising and setting with me. 

Of course there are lots of things they need me to do with them during the day. So, I'm going to clean off the table in the homeschool room and announce there is no more "assigned seating." Just plop down where ever you like and if I'm needed (like for 100 Easy Lessons with Little Bit), well I'll just plop down next to wherever she sat. Variety is the spice of life, right? Why should we sit in the same chair every day?

As they pull cards from their cup and think about what needs to be done, they can decide where to work for that particular task. Handwriting? They have 3 choices: their desk in their bedroom, the dining room table, or the homeschool table. Read-alouds? I want those to start happening on the couch. I've made a place under the lamp table to store the Sonlight binder and the books. The girls will be responsible to come find me, ask if I can read with them right then, gather the materials, and meet me on the couch. If I am not available--they can pull another card and work on something else until I am. Math? They both know how to put in the DVD and watch their own lesson and get started. I'll probably join them to make sure they understand it, but they can take the initiative to get started!

So what am I going to be doing, you may wonder? Well, I decided I'm going to be a mom. And a wife. And a homemaker. I'm going to go ahead and wash those dishes. I'm going to switch the laundry out. I'm going to sew on those quilts the girls will need soon. If I'm sewing in the dining room, and Sweetheart is having trouble with math, well she can just join me at the table in there. I realize I will still be doing a lot of school with them, but I hope it will be broken up and done all around the house and not feel like such drudgery.

Now this is just an experiment and I'm sure it will need some tweaking. I suspect it may drive me crazy to have them interrupting me all day long just as I get going on a task. We may need to make some rules about "these subjects first" and "then these." But something needs to happen where, between the 2nd grader and the 6th grader, the mom has a break or two in the morning.

I'm happiest when I have some sort of project going and right now, I really need to start working on Christmas presents. Hopefully, with my new plan, there will be time for that. I'm done being in control of each little item. It's their schoolwork and they need to get it done. I'm letting go of a lot and letting them take the reins.

I'll let you know how it works out! And if things work out like I hope they will, we may be moving back to the smaller homeschool room.

Mama's gone off the deep end, but it's gonna be OK!


Your slightly crazy but it's OK because I have a plan friend


  1. Oh, I know just what you're talking about! Your idea sounds like a fun one - I can't wait to hear how it works out! Praying for your (and my) joy!

  2. Brenda, your new plan sounds excellent! Being cooped in one room all day works against the idea of homeschooling as a way of life.

    Thanks for this because I have been planning and preparing a space for homeschooling and I wondered, "Will we get sick of being in this one area all day?" Instinctively I know that it would bug me and them.

    Happy Monday!

  3. You are doing fine. Keep up the good work, okay. I am sure you will have a great time with how everything changes.

  4. YOU GO GIRL! I pray this works for you. My children are on auto-pilot like this and it is BLISS! Praying for your success!

  5. While it's true that what works for one doesn't work for all, I've found that most homeschool Mom's don't do well long-term while schooling in a school room (that doesn't mean that no one should have one, just that they shouldn't feel bound to it). We've structured our day a little differently this year and it's working out beautifully. I have two 8th graders and a 4th grader. We pile up in the living room for Bible and History (read alouds) together every morning. When that's finished the girl (8th graders) go work on the rest of their work, wherever, they choose (except for upstairs), they have to stay somewhere that I can easily see them. It helps them not to get distracted. Then my son and I remain on the couch while we do his science, language and reading together. Then I'm free to do whatever, until they have a question and they just come find me for that. Honestly, the questions from the girls are few and far between (I've tried to find curriculum that is very independant, but also enjoyable for them) and my son is usually finished around
    10:30 or 11:00. I also look for thorough curriculum that is condensed. I've just found that none of us do well with all day school, so we like to start by 8 and be finished around 12 or so. Sometimes my girls go later into the afternoon. This is working great for us and I hope your new method works well for you!

  6. Kristie, we have always enjoyed our homeschool room up until now. This year is just different. It's weird. I am really loving have a way more independent 6th grader and that taste of freedom has made me want more!

  7. Brenda,I think this uneasiness is called 40.I have it as well and I have had for a couple of years now.So I am hoping this works for you.I have thought about putting my children in public school but would never really do so.I believe schooling at home is the best place for my children.LucyT

  8. Good for you, for making changes when you see the need! May you be blessed in your new found freedom, as you figure things out:) Can't wait to hear your updates!

  9. We all need to change things up a bit at times. Your kiddos are definately old enough to be a little more self directed. I saw on another blog recently something that you may helpfull. They had 2 lists per child. The first list was things that "Must" be done each day, including chores. The second list were things that "May" be done each day.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)