Can I turn this week back into the librarian? This week played out like best selling horror novel, complete with a twisting plot, warring rival factions out for blood, mental trauma, blood curdling screams, and rain. It was intense.
Despite how intense and overwhelming this week has been, it forces me to stop and put things into perspective. I have to remind myself of what we stand to gain. If I don’t do that, I will quite likely go mad.
Backstory: Our children are homeschooled. So that means, I have 4 children at home 24/7, 365 days a year. Two of those children are entering puberty. The two youngest are vying for “Cutest Baby of Life” position. It is non-stop action and some weeks are better than other. This week was hell in a handbasket on fire. As the kids get older, we are moving into uncharted territory when it comes to sibling interactions, parent to child interactions, and child to world interactions. It seems like there is a constant war going on and the casualties are heavy. It makes it difficult to remember why we choose to keep our kids at home when everyday it is a struggle to make it through the day. However, it’s been 4 years and we’re still going strong. I expect to have a crown of beautiful gray hair when all is said and done. AJ has an short attention span. EMc is dyslexic and a reluctant reader. BMo struggles with math concepts. And that is okay. Each child has their own educational challenges but we can address each child individually as needed. They are allowed to blossom and grow in a comfortable environment. We explore their personal interests and incorporate them into the school day. But most of all, I can give them the time they need. Education is a journey and I want them to develop a love of learning which is something I never developed as a public school student.
Our choice wasn’t an easy one by far. I was adamant that our children would be heading off to school daily because I didn’t feel qualified to be their sole educator. That was until we actually sent our oldest off to school. He was accepted into an early intervention program at age 4 so he started out his educational career as a special needs preschooler who was shunted back and forth to small groups designed to address a speech/language delay. While he enjoyed this half-day adventure, what it did was separate him from his peers and label him but no one was able to tell me how this would help him in the long run. But because I didn’t see any other options, I went along and hoped this was the right thing for him.
For context, we were living in Connecticut at the time he started preschool and was the youngest in his class at age 4. Most of the kids were 5 and heading towards 6 in time for Kindergarten. That meant he was a young 5 when he finished preschool and would be gearing up for Kindergarten just shy of his 6th birthday. In most other states, AJ would be left behind a whole year because his birthday is in December which is the past the enrollment cut off. Then we moved back to SC after Josh received new military orders and we were left to deal with a new state’s laws. They were threatening to undo all the progress we made with him while in CT which I was not having. We were pressured into starting him before he was ready and now you’re wanting to interrupt him?! Enough was enough. It was time for us as parents to take back our power and do what was best for our son. We pulled him from public school on the first day back from summer break and haven’t looked back since.
Our homeschool style has changed so much over the years as we all have become more comfortable with the process. I feel like we have settled into a laidback routine that suits our family’s lifestyle. I’ve locked down some tried and true curricula that fits the kids educational needs and we are working to fill in the gaps. Reading is crucial for our household so the kids are strongly encouraged to read as much as possible. Josh and I love discussing history/current events and encourage the kids to join in. AJ started taking German lessons so he can smack talk an F1 driver he doesn’t like (his words, not mine!). In the afternoons, they are set loose to play with their friends around the neighborhood.
TL;DR Dang, I’m long-winded! Four kids at home ALLLLLLL day, homeschooling, puberty, toddler power struggle, crazy mom, laundry in piles.