Friday, December 27, 2019

Homeschool and Isolation

As I prepare to homeschool, I am more and more aware of how little time I will have for other interests. When I became a mother, my circle shrank. At first I resented it. Here was this tiny human getting in the way of everything I wanted to do, everything I used to do—taking up all my “free time” with their diaper changes, cuddling, nursing, mother-needing desires. I struggled with feeling lost, with the weirdness that comes from losing part of myself. Assuming the insurmountable calling of parenthood is a life altering moment. Just like the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, the girl becomes a mother. She can't be a caterpillar again. It is both beautiful and tragic.

Somewhere between my first and second baby, I grew to love motherhood. And now, as I am only a few weeks pregnant with my hopefully third baby (but seventh pregnancy) I am becoming again. I am changing because we have decided to home-school, and the insurmountable task of educating my children is bending and molding me to its shape. I don't know what I am becoming yet, but ask me in six years. I might know at that time.

I will learn to be my child's teacher, counselor, principle, nurse, gym instructor and cafeteria worker. These roles within school walls are filled each with a different person, but I, a mother—will do them all. I alone (at least in the beginning) will be responsible for seeing that my child learns.

It's terrifying. And also exhilarating.

I chose to home-school because we can afford it. We pinch pennies so I can stay home and I am glad we are blessed enough with my husbands job that there are pennies to pinch.

I choose to homeschool because my son is worth it. I don't want him confined to a desk from 9-3, with a half hour for recess. I don't want an education in four walls that will try and teach him with artificial experiences (textbooks, digital screens, worksheets) when we can go out and see and touch and interact with reality.

I know no school is perfect and mine will be far from so. But I also know that teaching is just an extension of parenting. I know can teach my child, and that being home with me and his siblings is far better then being lost in a class of 25 with one tired, underpaid teacher and some posters of fish.

Okay, I'm tired and underpaid too. But I have a chance. A chance to cultivate the wonder and beauty of adventure in my children by education them at home, listening to their needs and adapting a curriculum for them, creating games and structured play, and fostering a atmosphere of love and trust in our family.

And I am not giving that away.

So today I mourn my free time, which dwindled as I became a mother and is dwindling still farther as I become a homeschooler. My priorities will be teaching my kids, creating a flow to my day that includes cooking and cleaning, yet also instruction for my son and other children as they come of age. I am excited and I am sad. We used to go out in the morning, that time was for play dates. But the play dates will dwindle to weekends as our instruction begins.

It would be so easy to place my children in school and claim my free time. But my children are worth it, and I will learn to fall in love with homeschooling just as I fell in love with motherhood. I know this is the right path for my family. I know this is the right path for my son, who loves learning from me and naturally has already accepted me as his teacher. He is a wonder to teach. I am sure all my kids won't be as easy, nor perhaps will he always be, but for this anxious and questioning mother who feels inadequate to educate her son—he is a blessing and just what I need. God knew what he was doing when he placed this dream of self-education in my heart, and he knew what he was doing when he gave me my firstborn, Reuben. I need to trust him—he knows All. He will be enough for me and my family on this journey, and he will be the cornerstone of all my educational desires.

So, would you guys be interested in seeing my Kindergarten Charlotte Mason lesson plans? I'm starting Kindergarten with Reuben in April due to this pregnancy, so I can take a break when the baby comes. I'm creating weekly lesson plans for myself to follow so I can just easily grab and go and not worry about the planning stage when we are in the grind.