Saturday, January 28, 2012

Homeschooling is Hard

After a long Christmas break from school, which we all enjoyed so much, Abby has started to show a little resistance to our "sit down and learn" time. As I've sat with her and asked her about what's going on in her heart when I see resistance creeping in, she has simply stated, "I'd just rather play." I believe she does enjoy learning, but there are times when she'd just rather play, which seems perfectly normal for a six year old! I want to just accept this for what it is, a normal 6 year old who loves playing, and not take it personally, but it's really hard somedays. I think there is a balance of accepting where she's at and relaxing my expectations and also helping her understand the beauty and freedom of homeschooling and how blessed she is to be able to stay home and learn with me. I don't want to guilt her into learning. One of my main goals for her this year was to continue to love to learn. I don't want to squelch the joy of learning by holding my expectations too high and putting too much pressure on her just because I like the satisfaction of checking off another one of my boxes on my planned list.

I think I'm going through a little homeschool "burnout" which I think is pretty normal this time of year. We're about 100 days into school, so we're more than half way to our required 180 days. I had laid out a plan of 4 school days per week so we could have one day off. I struggle with perfectionism and it seem that I can't help but "sneak in" an extra day of school on our planned day off so I can be ahead of my planned out schedule. I was such a weirdo in college that actually finished my papers early because I wanted to avoid the stress of last minute deadlines. I'm realizing I need to scale back, lower my expectation and take my planned break. This is a great chance to recall why we are doing this. My main focus is developing a strong positive relationship with my children, loving them well, teaching them how to rely on the Lord for everything. All the "school stuff" is actually secondary on my list of priorities.

It's also a little difficult to balance my two roles of teacher and mother. I'm finding it difficult to just play with my children for the sake of playing. I always have this pressure I put on myself to make everything educational. I do want our lives to be learning in everything we are doing, but I want it to be JOYFUL!

As I've processed through these feelings for a few days, the Lord has brought to my mind how He has cared and provided for me through this rough patch where I've honestly just wanted to run away from my house, far away! I'm tired! This feels hard! He's gently reminding me not to be afraid of things that are hard. He will give me what I need. I've wanted to just escape, but He will restore my soul when I come. Two specific ways He's provided have been through a sweet neighbor who loves to invite Abby and Enoch over to play frequently. This has given them great social interaction and a much needed break for me. Also a 12 year old homeschool girl has expressed interest in getting some practice caring for young children. She and her mother have asked if they can come and play with all three children while I take a break.

One more week of learning about Polar animals and then a week break...which I plan to take!

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