Thursday, June 05, 2008

I am slowly going crazy... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 switch

You know how we are kind of freaks? You know, those people with the 5 kids and the homeschooling thing? Believe me, all the other hockey parents think we are freaks. I guess they talk about us behind our backs. Not in a mean way, just in a why would anyone want to do that kind of way. I remember a couple years ago, my husband overheard some of the other hockey parents talking about this other family. About how strange they were. They were another Christian family with 5 kids who homeschooled. And sometimes, heaven forbid, they would miss hockey for a church activity! I mean, what kind of weirdos would dare to miss one out of the dozens of games in the season to do something like spend time with God and other Christians?
My husband thought it prudent to inform these much more normal parents that we too were part of that cult. We, gasp, educate our children at home, but of course we only had 4 kids at home then. You should have seen the normal parents falling all over themselves to apologize. They didn't mean us, we were still cool...
Anyway, I am just having a bit of fun with this, we totally don't take offense when people think that we are a bit strange. We are! We have made choices for our family that most people haven't. We have more babies than most, we school our kids at home. We do go to church and try to follow Christ. We know that we are on the path that God has set before us and therefore we are totally okay with a little bit of criticism or incredulity.( which is far more common and very understandable)
That family the other hockey parents were talking about, have become our very good friends, partially because of that conversation. We were so excited to know there were other Christian home educators nearby! With more kids than us!
But today I am feeling that all those other people may just be onto something. Maybe the choices we have made are just crazy. Maybe I am completely and utterly insane to think that I could successfully parent 5 kids and home educate.
I am feeling a bit like I am at the end of my rope. The noise alone is enough to send me over some days. And the school thing? Yesterday, Superboy was still working on his first subject, math, at 8pm. I had them start school about 10 am yesterday, after I made them pancakes. At about 1:30, once we were done lunch, I really needed a nap. I had Superboy bring his math up to his room, so I could keep an eye on him (and so he would stop bickering with his big brother) and I laid down for a nap. I didn't really expect him to do it without me sitting on him, but I had a sliver of hope. He knew he wouldn't be going to taekwondo if he wasn't done his schoolwork.
When I got up, it was time to get everyone into the van and take The Boy to taekwondo. Superboy missed out. I had him bring his books in the van and off we went.
After we dropped The Boy off, we drove to my favourite coffee place to wait for my husband's ride to drop him off after work. I had my book to read and Superboy had his math. Or so I thought. I was doing a great job of shutting the kids out, so I didn't realize until Daddy got in the van, that Superboy did not have a pencil. Convenient.
When we all got home, Daddy had Superboy sit at the table and finish his school. Which he did. Argh! I was almost as mad at the fact that he finally did it for Dad as I was that he didn't for me all day long.
I seriously spent the entire day, alternately speaking very controlled and calmly with Superboy and yelling across the house for him to get his arse back to the table.
I have tried everything I can think of to change this behavior. Usually I will switch subjects and work one on one with him to try to finish up. Often things go fine. But then there are weeks like this where I wish I could just hop on a plane and disappear for a while. The day before, both kids pulled that B.S. and I was fighting with my husband til 2 in the morning. That was a good day.
All I could think about is how much more difficult this is all going to be in the fall. With one more baby in the house. Innumerable sleepless nights, and dealing with all these kids. The fact that my house is a freaking shambles, 24-7 and I can't do anything about it.
I keep dreaming about having a nanny or domestic come in and help for the next year or so. But if I want my hubby to work near home and have normal hours (less than 90 a week!), then we can't afford that kind of help. I am going to work a couple hours of housekeeping service in though. I have to.
I love having my kids home. I think that the upsides far outweigh the bad days. I am really not sure how I would manage if I had to get them all up for school and ready and take them there too. I love how they are learning about what it is to be a family, that everyone has to work together to make it work. That life has seasons. Like when a new baby comes, most of the other stuff takes a back burner for a bit as we get to know this new little person.
Of course that is part of why I have been stressing about school. My idea was to keep schooling right through July, so that we could take August and September off with the baby. I am starting to think that maybe that isn't feasible. I need a break. They need a break. We need a break from each other! I think that the sun on their faces and the wind in their hair may just be a far superior teacher right now.
I think I shall stock up on a bunch of books relating to our topics right now and the ones I hope to cover in the fall. Honestly, my kids learn so much more from reading than I could ever teach them. I dare anyone to ask them anything about history or the bible or nature and I bet they could give you a way more information than you would ever want to know. They continually amaze me.
And if the fall comes and we are too busy and tired because of the new baby, then we will just postpone academics until it is feasible to start again. It isn't going to ruin their lives if they miss a month or two of math. Right?

16 comments:

  1. I think that missing a month of math will do nothing at all. No worries, MMM. You'll figure it all out.

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  2. I don't think your lifestyle is crazy.
    I think it would make me crazy...I just don't think I'm patient enough to teach academic things. Maybe I'd surprise myself, but I don't know....the whole "Home Schooling" thing intimidates me. I think that those who can do it and do it well are amazing.

    Now, I'm going to type something, and it's not intended to be hurtful for anyone, or that I think you are doing a bad job---one of my fears about home schooling is: what if I did a bad job at it, but didn't know that I was doing a bad job? What if my kiddo went to take the SAT or ACT to get into college, and totally sucked b/c I was tooting along, thinking that I was doing a good job, but really I wasn't?

    I guess my fear of failure and fear of losing patience is what makes me think that it might not be for me.

    ...although Hubby still thinks it's a great idea. He thinks that I should believe in myself as much as he believes in me.... but I don't!

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  3. Maybe a short little break to regroup and mellow - and then you will not feel as guilty when the new baby comes and your time is stretched even further.

    Good luck...just do what feels right...who cares what others say or think.

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  4. IT sounds like a break might be in order. I don't homeschool, but I can relate to the kid that is begging to be strangled. We are also get frustrated at time with sports schedules that include Sunday morning games.

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  5. Missing math won't kill them. Or, you could just have them do review and working on boosting their memorization of multiplication facts.

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  6. I don't know how you do it - honestly, but I give you a lot of credit! I shudder to imagine what it would be like in my house if I were the one trying to teach all these kids - I just couldn't do it. It sounds like you do a great job!

    Have a good evening and rest up - Kellan

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  7. I'll be posting about my own fun with homeschooling in the morning. :) Yeah. I didn't do such a great job.

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  8. You Home-Schooling Mamas are my heroes!

    I don't see how ya'll do it . . ..

    Seriously. :)

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  9. Absolutely right!!! Seriously take a break!! If you teach them anything teach them housekeeping skills :) And required reading is THE PERFECT alternative!! ESPECIALLY if you KNOW they love the subject matter and that they learn that way. It's JUST a season! And it sounds like your oldest is independent in his learning anyways it's the other guy you need to find out what works for him. It's not tae kwon do or he would have it done (it could be it gets him the attention he wants (just a thought)). Anyways wish I was there to give you a big hug and tell you that it will all be ok (it will!!). And I think your family is absolutly WONDERFUL and AMAZING, you are such a blessed woman!! Keep us updated and you'll be in my prayers!!

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  10. Ups and downs...it's part of life, right? There's a lot going on right now, with your pregnancy and the worries attached, try not to be so hard on yourself. Also, the boys are getting older and are bound to become a bit more oppositional/difficult as they verge on teenager-dom.

    Missing math every now and then is not going to hurt anyone - but all that time you spend together on a daily basis will one day be precious memories. And then you'll know for sure that the choices you made were the right ones.

    Hang in there, MMM! :)

    Heidi

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  11. I don't think you are freaks-as long as people are taking care of their kids, than whatever (you are feeding them, right? :)

    I don't think I could homeschool Will, this week I can't get him to stand still to get dressed or pick up any toys, everything I ask him to do he tells me he can't because of some silly reason-like his legs are broken. I'm interested in homeschooling only so far as I would like to add to what he does learn in school.

    I get stressed and overwhelmed with the two of them, I don't think you are a freak, I think you are a mom doing the best she can for her kids, just like every other mom!

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  12. "Normal" kids get 2 months off for summer, so I don't think missing a month of math is going to hurt anyone.

    Make time for yourself, even if it's only 30 minutes. It sounds like you could use it! LOL!

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  13. I think all parents (homeschooling or not) put pressure on themselves about their kids school work.
    I'll tell you like I tell myself- this one time wont ruin them for life.
    I have struggled with my oldest and his learning. I take many deep breaths throughout the school year

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  14. Hey I of course totally get it!

    We really can't do it alone. I don't believe we're designed too! I wish I was closer but I'm there in spirit.

    Oh and you are taking a week at the end of the month...remember?! Or at least your kids are.

    hugs from one freak to another!

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  15. I think you're amazing MMM, and no matter what choices we've made as parents we're sometimes going to question them. There is no one right way to do things, no BEST answer....we all just do the best we can in each moment...and sometimes our best isn't good enough, but sometimes our best is fantastic. Your kids will learn what they need to learn at their own speed - they can catch up later on their math, but those first days with their new sibling? There's only one shot at that.

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  16. I don't think you are strange at all. Just really, really brave! : )
    I know I couldn't home school but I have to admit I am not looking forward kindergarten. At least I have another year before it starts for my first. I just pray that my sons have good educators.

    P.S. Thanks for visitng my blog even though you are so busy. That means a lot! ; )

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