Thursday, November 17, 2005

Struggling with Pefectionism About Homeschooling

One of the things I am struggling with is perfectionism and homeschooling. I am feeling let down about this year because my goals and plans are not working out as I had thought they would, this fall.

We have had a hard time doing our homeschooling lessons five days a week, for various reasons.

I am feeling pulled in different directions due to two family members having Cancer. It is emotionally and mentally draining to worry and be afraid of the health of these close family members. This pulls energy away from my other endeavors such as homeschooling. Some days I just want to sit at the computer and read emails in the morning instead of sitting down to do homeschooling lessons, for example. If I sit down to do emails then it sidetracks me from homeschooling. Some days we are then thrown off course for the rest of the day.

With lower mental energy reserves I have less tolerance for things such as the children complaining about homeschooling. Example: asking to watch television (dumb shows) instead of doing homeschooling lessons. Example: asking for a 20 minute break after doing a 10 minute penmanship lesson. It is very hard to get all the homeschooling done when the break time is equal to or greater than the time spent on the lessons. Also this drags the lessons out throughout the day.

Thinking back, I think the best year ever for homeschooling was the year my older son was in first grade. We did a strict Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling and it worked wonderfully. All of his lessons were done in 2 hours or less. We started after breakfast and finished before lunch. A lot of academics was accomplished in a little time. He learned to read fluently that year and that was a giant measurable thing to give credit for: both his ability to learn as well as my ability to teach him. That year my younger son was three years old and he was content to play at our feet or cuddle on my lap while we did our homeschooling.

It is a very different picture now with homeschooling two elementary school aged children. If you are a parent of an only child whom you homeschool, you have NO IDEA how much harder it is to homeschool two children. I am not sure if I can imagine homeschooling with three or more children in the house. Right now I think it would be very hard. However it all depends on the dynamics in the family and also what the personality of the mother is. Believe me, the decision to have another child was considered with homeschooling in mind. I have thought, seriously, in the past, that if I really want to homeschool all of my children then perhaps the best thing for us is to not have any more children, to stop at two. If I had three children it may mean that one or more gets sent to school just so I can do what I consider to be a decent job educating all of them.

At the time my husband lost his job I was trying to get pregnant and actually my period was already late on the day he found out. During this time of unemployment it has been a goal to not get pregnant. He fears financial issues. I fear more the impact of uncertainty and my worry about unemployment's effect on the developing baby! (I once read a book by a neonatologist who felt that all negative thoughts by the mother during pregnancy did have a negative effect on the developing baby's brain, and that the baby/child/person was basically scarred for life. He also felt that negative thoughts can bring on premature labor and lead to premature birth. I don't believe all he said as for one thing it was his opinion and not even something that was measurable by studies.)

Anyway I am trying to not be so hard on myself about homeschooling not going perfectly this fall. With each day that my husband remains unemployed, the picture looks gloomier and gloomier. Now we have two relatives with Cancer. Juggling all of that is difficult and some days I wonder if it is possible to get through all of this and keep sane. Some days I think things like, "Would life be better if I sent the kids to school and went back to work" or "What would life be like if I ran away from here by myself to start a new life?” Those are the times when I feel like I need to get grounded again, and I remind myself of all the good in my life and try to concentrate on being grateful for the good things rather than be negative about the bad parts.


me :) said...

Girl - please don't get down on yourself. Just reading your blog makes me feel normal for the struggles I face with my kids, and having been through and likely facing a layoff. My parents are in failing health - but 2000 miles away so I am not involved (except with the guilt of not being there). I had high hopes of this year, but I am not really reaching my goals. Who knows, maybe I can buckle down and make it through the year on target - maybe not. With a little work over the summer, we'll be right on track next year. You are so down to eartha nd grounded - don't get down on yourself. I know I am only a blog reader - but I'd take you out for a DD cup of hot chocolate if I lived in the north again. Hang in there - you are doing great (and helping me through all this HS maze!!). Take care - I'll be praying for you!

christinemm said...

Awww, you are so nice. Thanks for the encouragement. I am out of that funk now, thank goodness.