Saturday, December 17, 2011

On Homeschooling

I have a love/hate relationship with homeschooling.

Sometimes I wonder why I do it.  I mean, really, why?  It truly does take a bit of time.  It's hard work--not necessarily because of the academics (for me) but in dealing with attitudes in my children and *ahem* myself.  Other areas in my life often take a back seat: reading, writing, music, exercise, outings with friends, and *gulp* lots of time with my buddy-boy, Samuel.  Don't get me wrong.  Those things are still in the mini-van, just in the back seat.

We were in Maryland for Thanksgiving.  Dave's parents and older brother (and family) live there--about 20 minutes from each other.  Tuesday morning, we three Mrs. G's went out for breakfast.  It was lovely.  I'd never been to Panera Bread before, so that part was a treat in and of itself, but the company was even sweeter than my cinnamon roll.  I came to find out that the other two Mrs. G's do this every week.  Every week?  *sigh*

I used to lead a Thursday morning Bible study--which I loved.  As homeschooling got more involved (i.e. the workload got harder and I added another student), I prayerfully decided to let that go.  I simply didn't have the time.  I really miss that.

I also have a book idea which has been rolling around in my head for a couple of years.

I'd like to spend more time practicing music--especially piano and violin.

And this last one's the kicker...poor Samuel.  I really feel like he gets the short end of the stick when it comes to my attention.

I'm often tempted at the thought of putting the kids in public school.  I know there are time commitments to that as well (PTA, fundraisers, school events, volunteering), but it can't add up to all the time I put into homeschooling.  There would be time for me to do more of the things I've listed above.  I'm especially tempted on Mondays.  Oy...Mondays.  And the Mondays after a break?  Well, I've actually had the phone book in my hand, ready to look up numbers for the elementary and middle schools.

Okay, so that's all the "hate" part of it--and honestly, that's too strong of a word for my feelings.  Frustrated is more accurate than hateful, and there are plenty of things about homeschooling which I truly love.  I'll tell you about that later; because, I'm going to steal a few minutes at the piano before everyone else gets up.


  1. Thanks for posting that Jenny. I also share those same emotions. Having a co-op or like minded home school friends helps us stay the course. I have to remind myself that those days of dealing with our children's attitudes and ours is a very real part of education and probably more valuable than diagramming sentences. Stay strong and I am looking forward to reading your next post.

  2. Jenny - Big hugs to my homeschooling buddy! Just a couple quick thoughts. You have 4 beautiful children and you're doing a great job raising them! It was God's plan that Samuel would be a 4th child.
    He knew that Samuel wouldn't get as much one-on-one Mommy time. And He also knew that Samuel would get more with siblings than his older brother and sisters. I struggle with some of these same issues with Grace. I simply don't do a number of the science, art and other projecty things with her that I did with the other two. But, she does often do the same projects they do. I don't just sit with her and read picture books to her as often as I did with Maddi & Henry. But, she has the siblings to play with that they didn't.
    If you're feeling the pull to spend more time in adult pursuits, that could be God talking to you. It might be time to prayerfully reconsider being involved in another Bible study group.
    I don't know if you had the chance to read my friend Mary's blog post that I shared on facebook recently, but you might find encouragement here:
    Bonnie M. has my Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe, but you're more than welcome to read it when she's done.
    I better sign off and tend to my family now. :) I'll keep you in my prayers, dear friend.

  3. Jenny, all of your concerns are real and valid. Just remember the good work you are doing. You can write a book that others will enjoy once or twice or you can "write" four living books that will speak to people for decades to come. You can lead a ladies Bible study now or raise up leaders for the future. The long-term project seems so much less rewarding at the moment, but it is worth it.

    I know you already know that. It just helps to hear it from time to time. I agree with the previous post regarding Samuel. He is getting something so special since his siblings aren't taken away every day. He gets to experience a bigger world and observe the things he will soon be doing.

    And you will get to do the things you love. Keep writing and playing a little when you can. Maybe you could join a Bible study instead of leading it? Just remember that God is in the good that you do and will bring fruit in its time.

    Love you.

  4. I understand, too, Jenny. It's hard. Homeschooling is the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life.

    When it gets tough or you're tired or just really tempted to put them into public school, just remember that public school is very time consuming, too. We had Drew in a public charter school for one semester when he was in 3rd grade, and, holy cow, that was so much work. I had to take him to school (no busing) and pick him up, which involving waiting in a giant line of cars. That took up probably an hour and a half of my day, every school day. Then I had to help with literally hours of homework each night. Then there were the projects and reports and stuff. I remember thinking many times that I could be homeschooling the kid with all that time, and teaching him things I actually wanted him to learn.

    Also, I'm sure you know this, but I'll say it anyway: It's a season of life right now for you. You've still got very young children who require a lot of time. In a few years you'll find you're freer.

    Finally, maybe the right thing IS to put them in school. There are so many choices out there. Just because we've made this one for now doesn't mean it has to be forever.