Sunday, October 03, 2010

I Still Have My Marbles

I have not lost my mind or jumped off a bridge. (If you have been reading my blog you may have sensed my  despair.)

I have done a lot of thinking and talking to homeschool mom friends in the last few days.

I also got a break from my regular life by going out of town for a night to attend a homeschool workshop on writing composition given by Julie Bogart of Bravewriter. It was a Friday night three hour workshop and six more hours on Saturday. She homeschooled three kids for seventeen years. Not only was I enlightened by her advice about how to teach writing composition including at the high school level and for SAT essay prep, I was encouraged by her positive words about homeschooling in general.

Friday at the homeschool co-op I spoke my mind, politely and from the heart. I laid out my questions and concerns when trying to figure out how proposed classes at a homeschool co-op would mesh with a typical scope and sequence for high school college prep track studies. I was embarrassed when I broke down and cried in front of about a half dozen mothers, some who know only as acquaintences and would have preferred not to have seen me in a vulnerable state. I received the information I was looking for which helped me make some decisions about how my children and I will spend our time, at homeschool co-ops versus home lessons or other educational options.

My husband has come back around to supporting our children on the homeschooling journey so long as I am clear about college admissions requirements and can figure out a do-able roadmap to fulfill them. Since my oldest son is on a rigorous academic path this is more complicated than it is for other homeschooled stduents seeking different degrees. We're still going to the private high school open houses but more for my curiosity than his.

Hopefully this too-emotional state and the roller coaster of up's and down's is over now or at least for a while. I feel like the emotional fog has lifted and I can think clearer. I have more information to ponder. It feels great to be thinking in a more logical manner compared to living in a state of confusion and worry.

I have worked out short term goals for how the next two and a half months will go.

Appointments and task that will take our time includes:

Homeschool co-op A that I also teach 4 classes at.

Homeschool co-op B that I teach 1 class at.

Homeschool co-op C that I don't do any volunteer work for. Limiting us to attend once a week not three days.

Full day experiential homeschool class for each son on different days of the week.

Cub Scouts one son and me with a small volunteer job.

Boy Scouts one son and me with ongoing volunteer work, and attending two training sessions.

Shuttling one son to crew two times a week.

Shuttling one son to lacrosse once or twice a week.

Church attendance that I don't do any volunteer work for. (Today at church they pushed that we volunteer for the church if we are not already, this is just impossible for me to do at this time.)

One thing making me feel more relief is that I narrowed our homeschool lessons at home during this too-busy time. By December 15 every outside homeschool class will be over and other than Scouts and one sport we will have all our time unbooked and open. At that point I will decide which things to repeat for spring sessions. I can decide then which of the homeschool goals needs teaching at home or may enroll one or both kids in some online homeschool classes.

As Julie Bogart said we did not start homeschooling in order to make ourselves so crazy we have to be admitted to a psychiatric ward. Those words really hit home with me.

I hereby vow to keep calm and level headed no matter how stressed out I feel due to being over-scheduled. I hate to live life as if I'm counting down the days but honestly I am counting down the days until things start wrapping up at various dates between mid-November and mid-December. The first big relief is just six weeks away and in ten weeks total relief will be upon us.

In an effort to clear my blog of worry and dread I may do a series of blog posts featuring photos and telling some happy or non-controversial stories from our lives. The last thing I ever intended this blog to do is to bring my readers down, I hope I haven't caused anyone distress just by reading about mine.

Besides the blog comments, I appreciate also my blog readers who cared enough to contact me privately by email with encouraging words and information to answer some of my questions about homeschooling, private high school attendance and college admissions. I have a certain blog reader following who value their privacy and don't like leaving public blog comments. Thank you.


luv2ski said...

Hi Christine,

I was far from feeling like you were "bringing me down" when reading your blog. Rather, I have been feeling supported by your words and your honest feelings. I was feeling a little alone and isolated, and like you, over-scheduled and stressed. There seem to be so many super women out there doing so much, for so many, while always supporting their brilliant, successful homeschooling children with smiles, hugs and hot cocoa. These are all my (mis)perceptions, of course. Your honesty was uplifting...because you are one of those superwomen.

I also attended Julie's Bravewriter workshop. On Saturday, I was very quiet, taking it all in. I thanked her at the end for her expertise and her energy, but mostly for her compassion. She looked a little taken aback when I said that. She had no idea how much her own honesty also helped me. I sobbed all the way home in the car! My tears were shed in relief. I have a "reluctant writer" to rehabilitate, and her strategies are filled with love, support and caring attention. These are basic things that I sometimes forget when I am feeling stressed about getting here or there on time, or when I am trying to reach goals with my kids. Sounds silly, but I feel back on track with that now, too.

I actually pulled out of a co-op recently. It came with many mixed emotions, and on the heels of health issues for both myself and my son. I now realize that the health issues were being exacerbated by the stress I was feeling with the increased work load and travel time. Paring down is hard, but for me, it was more necessary than I had realized.

Thanks for helping me hang in there.

Karen said...

I come from the other perspective I guess. My kids had always been in private schools. We started homeschooling 3 years ago at the start of my son's high school career. My husband is a Mechanical Engineer, and my son is also interested in the math/science fields. I can't tell you the difference in how much he has improved since being homeschooled, with NO coops. We use teaching textbooks for math, Apologia with Little Red Wagon on-line lessons and the rest a literature based curriculum. Next year I will switch him to Thinkwell for his math. I sadly see so many lose heart when it comes to high school and unnecessarily give up.

I recently went to a dinner with the president of a popular Christian college and he told my husband that the homeschooled students at his campus by far out performed the private/public schooled students!! His college, and many others love homeschooled students.

Don't lose heart! As you know, (but don't forget)homeschooled kids are independent thinkers, smart and resourceful. I've been the private school route. Great school, but not individualized in the least bit. From what I've read from your blog, you're a smart, resourceful mom and you can do it better than any coop or private school can!!!

teresacooks said...

I just found your blog by googling boyscout mother's blogs (don't do that by the way, some not so savory things pop up). I have to say it really resonates with me. I have found all the posts I have read to be relevant to my life and interesting and well thought out. Just wanted to say good work!