When I was in the midst of suffering with severe daily headaches and neck aches I went through a homeschooling depression. The joy had been sucked right out of it. My oldest child absorbed those feelings and began to dread it every bit as much as I did which in turn made it even more miserable! We had to get out of the swirling vortex of dread that had become the daily drudgery of school.
Several days ago he and I had a bit of a melt down together. Yes, my six year old and I both cried and had an emotional cleansing about our feelings towards homeschooling. I was very honest with him about my frustrations and about how my headaches, his attitude and the general work load of motherhood had colored my feelings towards daily existence. I pried out of him why he was feeling defeated and depressed about homeschooling. Now, he has never been public schooled but in those few weeks I know for certain that he was thinking that nothing could be worse than homeschooling! I told him that I could understand him feeling that way. I had been totally robbed of my creative flair, my excitement and normally fun persona. I was strongly considering that possibly I was not cut out for homeschooling. This was truly a strange thought for me as I have always homeschooled, yes partly because I thought it was best for my kids academically speaking, but also because I LOVED doing it. Let’s just say that once the “love doing it” aspect is gone (for me anyways) the academic side of it is sure to follow suite.
Fortunately my headaches have drastically improved to the point where I only experience a small breakthrough headache every once in a while and it passes fairly quickly when it does happen. My zest for homeschooling has returned in full force as has my creativity and my conviction that this is the best choice for us.
I had to let myself unwind and relinquish some of my stressors. I had to decide that my joy in doing this is directly correllated with my ability to do it. I am able to do it when I am passionate about it. I am unable to do it when it becomes drudgery.
Sadly, I have always had a certain amount of misguided pride in the ideal that I would not be a curriculum switcher whenever things started feeling not so pleasant. But I have officially let go of that pride. We had been working on botany for our science studies for I don’t know how long and can I just tell you that it’s not so easy to get excited about when pretty much all plant life is in hibernation for 7 months out of the year? Most of the “hands on” projects involved going outside and discovering. I can’t see bundling my kid up to go out into our yard which has only grass at the moment to discover anything underneath the snow in the permafrosted ground.
We have now switched over temporarily (I think) to a new text book (which someone had actually given us last year) where we are studying matter. And guess what? He. is. loving. it! He loves learning about atoms and elements and matter. The book is written at his reading level and doesn’t bore him to death. We were using Apologia Science and as much as I love the angle they come at things from I really was tiring of how long each chapter was, how each part didn’t seem as digestable to him and ultimately was fairly boring as far as projects and experiments. Even with all that, he still loved science but I didn’t love teaching it. It was dead boring.
We have also begun to study American history on top of our regular history lessons which are currently focussed on ancient Rome. He loves history so we are doing both simultaneously now. Yesterday I assigned his first chapter of reading in the new History text book (also a hand-me-down!) in which he learned about the founding of the United States of America, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the branches of government. He was so excited by the content that he had to read almost every other sentence out loud to me! He then asked if he could please do the questions at the end of the chapter. He is excitedly planning on memorizing the preamble of the Consitution. I don’t know why I was blessed with a child that asks me for school work to do but I am thanking God! Sometimes I am just sure that people think I am pushing him too hard in order to be teaching him these things and giving him this much work to do but I know that at this point I am not. When we were both hating school, all of it was drudgery and woe. With our new and improved outlook it has once again become a pleasure for both of us.
So we are officially having a blast homeschooling again. I rarely blog about homeschooling so I’m sorry if this is just a little over the top. But it’s so nice to have had a breakthrough. It’s nice to remember why I am doing this. It’s so nice to look forward to it instead of wanting to throw in the towel.