This fall I have been bombarded by "first day of school" photos and stories from many people that I know and love either through blogging, facebook, or right here in our own little home town.
There are pictures of cute outfits, school buses, and sentiments of tears and relief that school has arrived.
There are moments that I honestly struggle with jealousy over the freedom that my friends are afforded by sending their children to school.
What would I do with that time? Walk the dog?
Clean the house? Read a book? Meal plan? Grocery shop with only one child?
If I dwell on it too long, I feel the envy seeping from my pores.
My day looks quite different. I try to get to bed at a reasonable hour at night so that it isn't too painful when I get up before the children at 6:30 in the morning.
I tippy-toe down to the kitchen and start the hot water for my tea and spend a little time reading and spending some moments in silence, just me and my creator. It's really the only time in the day that I hear the sweet sound of silence.
At 7:15, I creep back up to get in the shower and get dressed and ready for the day. If I do the above in the reverse order, the boys inevitably wake up and I don't enjoy my "me time."
Nobody, including my men, enjoys a day when mommy hasn't had
that "me time."
I try to be back downstairs between 7:35 and 7:45 and I can count on my boys meeting me in the kitchen, probably starting breakfast without me.
We They eat and get their morning "Helping Hand" (dressed, hair, teeth, room) done, but not without much rukus and rough housing.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Rufus enjoys his morning at a local co-op preschool from 8:45 to 12:45. It is fun for him and allows me to stack our homeschooling schedule on those days so that Tuesdays and Thursdays are lighter days that allow more time for brotherly play time.
The Hunter, Sauce, and I are usually started on their school no later than 9 a.m. and sometimes a bit earlier. We start with the core subjects and try to get those out of the way because they follow the most routine in the work that is expected from them.
I try to encourage independence through as much as possible, but I alternate my time with who might need individual attention. If needed, I give breaks and they like to alternate who is playing with Squirt as well.
Our day is usually done by early afternoon and sometimes we save literature and reading for the evening.
Most days, it goes quite well and I even surprise myself sometimes with the efficiency and success we achieve.
Then there are days like today.
A day when there doesn't seem to be two brain cells between the ears of one child in particular. Getting him to pay attention or actually produce a correct answer in a subject that doesn't come naturally to him is nearly impossible and it takes the full power of God to keep me from blowing
We spend more time on school than usual and get half the work done and I come away feeling frustrated and wondering how he will ever make it to the next unit, the next grade, and college - ugh, impossible.
I won't even mention the attitude issues and inappropriate bodily functions I had to address today.
And where is the number for the yellow school bus?
But then I take a step back and remember our reasons for choosing this route to begin with.
I try to imagine what it would be like for my son to sit in a classroom of 25+ other kids and one teacher - and pay attention, think, process, and produce correct answers.
Oh, and sit still and behave appropriately.
I realize that what he needs right now is NOT to follow a strict timeline, but to work within his mind's timeline. How much will he benefit if he spends the rest of third grade reviewing the concept of calculating change ($) and playing store?
If we take the time to go over things like - naming every number between 2000 and 3000 that have seven tens and two ones - several times a week for the next six months, how much easier will future math challenges be?
I agreed to do this, not because I thought this would be easy, but because it is the best option for my boys right now. They obviously needs the individual attention that homeschooling offers and will ultimately benefit from working at their own paces.
At the end of the day, we have more time for things like soccer and dinner as a family. And hopefully, I'm equipping them to succeed in what lies ahead for them.