Friday, April 10, 2015

The Real Homeschool Mom

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the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschool Mom @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Earlier this week in The Real Homeschoolers series I told you some strange comments we've heard about "socialization" for homeschool kids. Today I've got a few comments that reveal the misconceptions about homeschool moms that are out there. Some of these might apply to other homeschool moms, but certainly not all of us. A lot of the time, these comments come from moms that are not homeschooling in the form of their reason why they couldn't do it, which reveals what they think those of us who are doing it are like. So, once again, I give you real comments that others have made to me, a sampling of what I'd like to say, and the truth.

I wouldn't have the patience... you must have a lot more patience than I do!
What I'm thinking: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
The truth: I don't have any more patience than the average mom, maybe less. I don't think homeschool moms have the market cornered on patience. Some days go smoothly and other days... not so much. Some days are one frustration after another. You do not need to master patience before homeschooling any more than you need to have perfect patience before you become a parent. The process of parenting and homeschooling is teaching me patience all the time though! But on my own, I've got no patience. By the help of the Holy Spirit, I'm learning patience.
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschool Mom @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
Oh, I'm smiling, but see all those grey hairs? EARNED. Every one of them.
It would drive me crazy to have my kids around all the time! How do you get any time to yourself?
What I'm thinking is a combination of: Why did you even have kids, if you don't want them around? How do you think I got this crazy? What is this "time to myself" of which you speak?
The truth: Of course kids drive their parents crazy at times - it goes with the territory. Kids of all ages do things that get on a parent's last nerve, and homeschool families are not immune to it. What's different is that since we do spend so much time together, we do have to learn to live with each other. There are fewer opportunities for homeschooled kids to pick up the bad habits and attitudes of every other kid their age. They mostly learn their bad habits from Mom. And believe me, that does drive a mother crazy on a couple of levels!! But seriously. Having family time is one of the ideals that most parents want - homeschooling helps us do that, and we have the time to truly disciple our kids. Do they still misbehave and make us want to tear our hair out? Absolutely. We just have a little more control over questionable influences, and a lot more opportunity to train kids according to our values and standards of behavior. And yes, I LOVE being with my kids. Most of the time.

But of course, everyone needs a break, so about the "time to yourself" portion of this... the truth is, that can be a big challenge for homeschool moms. It's not a big deal for me now because my kids are older and not underfoot 24/7, but when I had two students and a preschooler and a baby... Oy. But we learn to deal. Participating in a co-op worked for a lot of years. I was a teacher or helper in a small co-op classroom for two of the class periods, and got to hang out in the "teacher's lounge" for a third. My kids have been in a homeschool gym class for years now, and although it's expected that each mom is available once or twice during a semester to provide some crowd control, generally that is a block of free time if I want or need it. I meet monthly with a group of homeschool moms for Encouragement Group. We get together for coffee and conversation, and do just what the name says - encourage one another. And on an everyday basis, I prioritize my morning coffee time to read Scripture and get started on the day quietly and by myself.



How do you get your kids to listen to you?
What I'm thinking: I'm not sure they do listen to me... sometimes I really wonder...
The truth: Basically, see my answer to the above question. Also... I don't have to get their attention in a noisy classroom; I talk to them one-on-one. And the flipside is that they don't have to raise their hand before asking me a question. Other than that, I get my kids to listen to me about doing their schoolwork the same way any parent gets their kids to listen to them about taking out the trash or feeding the dog. Which is to say that sometimes they listen and sometimes they don't. This question is also about whether my kids accept me as an authority on history or math or whatever they are studying, so let's go there...

How do you know what to teach?
What I'm thinking: A lot of times I don't. I pray and research and hope for the best.
The truth: I pray; I research; I hunt for curriculum; I compare resources and textbooks. I even consult standards of what is supposed to be covered in each grade. And then I do my best to find a curriculum that is a good fit for my student, and we learn as we go. In subjects that aren't my strength, sometimes I only need to be one step ahead of my student, and sometimes all I need to be able to do is understand the Answer Key. If a subject is way out of my comfort zone, I get help. Maybe a co-op class, or a tutor. Maybe an online curriculum. Maybe dual enrollment at the community college. The bottom line is that a homeschool mom doesn't need to be an expert in every subject, and doesn't need to worry about how to teach Calculus when her kid is still in Kindergarten. We figure out a lot of this stuff as we go! I mean, I do like to think that I'm intelligent and well-read, but I don't have a Masters in Everything, so I know my limits. Actually, I'd like to get a Masters in Everything, if I could just find a college that offered that degree.
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschool Mom @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
You must be so organized.
What I'm thinking: Oh my word. Apparently, you have not been in my house.
The truth: Some homeschool moms are super-organized. I think it's an individual personality trait, not a standard homeschool mom trait. I am not that mom. I wish my desk and my bookshelves --- and well, my whole house, really --- were neatly organized with pretty bins and labels, a place for everything and everything in its place. But it is not a natural ability of mine. I settle for mostly functional. Homeschooling does mean I have to maintain a certain level of organization and record-keeping just so we know what we're doing, and so we can comply with the law. I do like to make lesson plans and check things off lists, and I enjoy keeping track of all the things we do for school; so I guess in that sense I am organized. I rely heavily on my beloved Homeschool Tracker (which looks so neat and tidy) and notebooks full of my continually updated and scribbled-upon handwritten lesson plans and ideas (which do not look neat and tidy in the least). We do keep our schoolwork in some semblance of organization out of necessity, but honestly I'm forgetful and my filing system is actually more of an artful stacking system. Which reminds me... I need to make sure I have my report card and paperwork to deliver when I go out later today. I'd better go put it with my purse now, so I don't forget it. And maybe I should write myself a sticky note too, just to be sure. Now where are my sticky notes? I can't find a pen that works.... Oh goodness, it's later than I thought. I'd better get this done so I can help Kennady with Science...

Wow, that's a big commitment. I really admire you for doing that. 
What I'm thinking: Yes, it is a big commitment. But I don't know how to respond to the admiration.
The truth; Yes, it is a big commitment. Being a parent is a big commitment, and as far as we're concerned, education is part of the parenting commitment package. We feel that the calling to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6) included a call to homeschool. So really, we are just following through on that conviction. If you compliment me for homeschooling, thank you. Don't feel sorry for me though. Sometimes I get the weird vibe that someone thinks that I'm some martyr because I homeschool. Guys, this is a JOY! It's a joy and a privilege, and a source of blessing! Even though there are challenges and days that are just hard and discouraging, it's most often a delight to be doing what I do. And on those hard days when I'm really not feeling it, I still have the assurance that we are doing what God called us to do.
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschool Mom @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

And for real? I do not even know how to put my hair in a bun.

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