So last week, I wrote about one of the secret benefits of homeschooling. Tonight I’m going to flip things around a bit and write about the worst thing about homeschooling.
Most people I talk to about homeschooling worry about “socialization.” Most people think that the “lack of socialization” must be the biggest drawback to homeschooling. Let’s just get that topic out of the way, once and for all. It’s not a topic. It’s simple. Kids who end up “weird, unsocialized homeschoolers” are the same kids who would end up as outcasts in the public school setting, bless their hearts. I know that sounds rather unfeeling and rude. I’ve been a teacher in the traditional school setting and I have seen what these kids go through. My heart breaks for them. Trust me when I say, those kiddos are no better off for having been subjected to “school.” Sending kids to school won’t “fix” them. Frankly, those kiddos are, quite often, not broken. They simply don’t fit the mold, no matter how hard they try to stuff themselves into the mold. Fitting into the mold is highly overrated. Schooled, unschooled or homeschooled won’t make much difference in “socialization.” I bet I’ll get a few comments over this paragraph, but that’s fine with me. Now that we have that dirty little piece of business out of the way…
The real, honest to goodness “bad thing” about homeschooling is that it is hard. Homeschooling is really, really hard. On the teacher, that is! If you are considering homeschooling or have a family member or friend who already does, you need to read this so you can understand the real “bad thing” about homeschooling.
We are four weeks into the school year. I’m ready to have some kind of nervous breakdown. I love teaching my kiddos. I love spending time with my kids. I’m glad Eric and I have the opportunities to give the kids such neat experience. What gets me down, is balancing the work load.
I have four kids, age 7 and under. That means that I am teaching the oldest two while I balance the needs of the youngest two. Practically speaking, that means that school time is not always going to be the relaxed and enlightening experience I would wish for my children. Some days are terrific. Some days are horrific. Just being honest with you. On the bad days, I spend my time chasing the baby out of the markers just in time to find him using a glue stick as lip gloss. I wish I were kidding.
Then when school is over, it’s back to reality. Someone has to make lunch around here. Seeing how we don’t have a cafeteria and those cool serving-separating trays, I guess that’s me. After lunch is finished, the kids are very good about helping to clean up the mess. I still have a baby to rock and get ready for nap. There are diapers in the pail that really need washed. They stink. There is a mess on the bathroom counter and the kitchen floor needs mopped if my feet sticking to it is any indication. If I am lucky, there are a few loads of laundry in the basement that are waiting to be folded. Wow! I can’t believe how quickly spiders can build cobwebs and I wonder how long that sippy-cup has been hiding, just out of reach. Someone just fell and bumped their elbow so it’s the boo-boo bunny and hugs and kisses all around. Suddenly, it’s snack time and I think to myself, “I should really take the kids to the park… but maybe today isn’t a good day for that.” So, I make supper instead while the two little ones play underfoot or dash off to get into something that they shouldn’t .
Reality. It bites, or something like that. The fact remains. Homeschooling is hard. It isn’t the curriculum. It isn’t my worries about providing for socialization. Plain and simple, it’s the balancing.
But then, on a night when I just don’t think I can do it anymore… In rides my knight in shining armor, white horse and all (well, actually a red mini-van). He takes the two littles to town to get pizza, leaving me here with the two really exceptional big-kid helpers. We manage to get things looking almost respectable and my panic attack subsides.
Tomorrow, we get to start again. I wouldn’t change a thing. Just so you know…