Our homeschool life is not perfect, but I can say that most of the time, I’m really happy with it. Most of the time I am so glad we do it. Most of the time I really love our daily groove. (If you read this post, you’ll know that our schedule can be a little nuts, but much of that is due to surf, not homeschooling, so that’s another subject.)
I have come to terms with the fact that there is no ideal school situation. With the pros will come the cons, and though I believe that homeschooling is our family’s very best option (considering where we live, lifestyle, family dynamics, and all the other stuff,) there are still times when I question. Everything. But that is kind of the name of the game in motherhood, right? Self-doubt and mom-guilt and all of that. I’m working on it.
Overall my boys are all getting an excellent education. They are happy. They have a close relationship with each other and with us. I can’t complain.
People ask me a lot of questions about homeschooling and I feel guilty sometimes for not giving more answers. They ask the big questions about how we got started, and how to choose curriculums, and how we cover everything, and I don’t even know where to start. There are other great bloggers called to that topic, and I hope people with the big questions find great resources because I’m not great at those answers at this point.
Meanwhile, I do love to share occasional posts with snippets of my heart for homeschooling. (I’m on a twice-a-year average it seems!) I don’t do it very often, but occasionally I think t’s fun.
This week a few things have stood out to me that I’m guessing a few of you might relate to and appreciate. So I thought I would share them here.
These are highlights — the every day moments that make me so glad that I get to homeschool.
Here are five:
1. The non-rushed mornings. I try to get up early to spend time with God and get some work done. But if I don’t? No biggie. There is no tight schedule to be on. No one scolding me or my kids if someone is late. (tardy slips were almost the death of me–and that was just preschool!) I have one son that gets up very early (usually before me even), and a couple other sons that sleep later. If Luke needs to surf, we make that happen. The rest of us have a very relaxed, peaceful morning. Sometimes one son is in the classroom doing math at 7:00, other times he might sleep till 8:00. Sometimes I go exercise and they eat cold cereal. Other times I make a hot breakfasts and we all eat together. The point is: We do what works for us, one day at a time. No stress.
(One side note: a doubting voice in my head used to question our mornings. I would think, But isn’t it good for them to get used to getting up early and being a little stressed to be somewhere? Because that is how real life will be. And then the more confident voice in my head replied, Actually, that is exactly why I don’t want them to be stressed and rushed now. They have the rest of their life for that! Right now they benefit from enough sleep and a peaceful morning routine.)
2. Seeing my boys’ relationship. Simply due to the fact that they are around each other all day long, my boys have a very tight relationship. All of them. The ones closest in age and every combination of ages. (oldest and youngest are even super tight.)
These boys have a million inside jokes. On their school breaks they might just sit and talk (how could they have so much to talk about? but they do!) or they skate together, kick a ball, or sling-shot wild chickens. They are without a doubt best friends and none of them can imagine ever living apart from one another.
3. The aha moments. When I hear a son yell, “YES!! It clicked! I totally get it!” Or, “I love math!! This is awesome!!” it’s just golden. When my kindergartener grasps the long “e” sound and suddenly wants to read every Early reader book in the house…I die a little inside. When my oldest son studies diligently for the SAT (all by himself, I didn’t help him at all) and then the grades come and they are actually good…Oh man — I believe that something is working.
Trust me these moments are not constant, but when they happen? The planets are perfectly aligned and all is well with my soul. Maybe we’re doing something right.
4. The cozies. Seriously. I know we live in Hawaii but I’ll forever be a Seattle girl at heart. And we do get rain up here on this hill where we live. Lots of rain. So I never tire of the rainy days when the kids make their hot beverages (don’t judge me if my teenagers drink a bit of coffee these days, k?) and the soft jazz is playing…Candles burning in each kids study zone and it’s just like an ideal study environment. Snuggling on the couch for Kindergarten is not all bad either. I feel like each of my boys has a really positive association with school and learning.
5. The magic moments.
Oh these are the best! When I walk in to find one of my boys leaned over the other, helping him figure out a math problem. When I hear one of my boys telling his brother about a great literature story, or what he is learning in history, or swapping scientific factoids. The moments where just hearing my teenagers share from their heart and I just know that what they’re saying is a reflection of the time we have poured in during our homeschool days. These are the magic moments.
Sure any of this could happen if my boys went away to school every day, but there are those times where I am just pretty sure that we’re having a “homeschool moment.” And after all I’ve poured into these years, I soak in it for all its worth.
Now that I listed five, I’m pretty sure I could list at least ten more, but we’ll leave it at these for now!
If you happen to homeschool your kids, I would love to hear if you share some of my highlights, or if you have some to add to the list. Even if you don’t homeschool, feel free to comment with the moments from your days that just make you glad to have a family! Also, if you have a really specific question that I can answer in comments…feel free to ask!
With love and hugs,
PS Two posts from 2016 updating what we’re using for homeschool curriculums: THIS one is an elementary and middle school update, and this one is for the high schoolers. (We’re continuing to love the changes, and have added more DIVE science and math classes for all of our older boys!)