October 20, 2015

Home School Adventure and When Life Gives You Dirty Microwaves.

Our new adventure: Homeschooling. 

We are currently half way through our 8th week of home schooling. Our decision to home school our children was one that we have sat on the fence about for years.You know I find in my life as I get older, (cough) that sometimes choices are made, and sometimes I think God just pushes you off the fence. That being said, we were leaning over the fence, thinking "Wow, that home school side really looks awesome, maybe we could do this!" The next thing we knew, we were pushed and found ourselves falling over. Ready or Not!
We home schooled our oldest, now 24, for one semester in his seventh grade year. We were not completely unfamiliar with schooling at home. Plus we know several families that choose to home school. I think what really held us back from jumping into this type of education was just timing, fear of not being adequate, being selfish, you know the "ahhh, the kids are in school, it is my time." But the past two years we really started looking into home schooling, researching,  talking with people and prayer. We also noticed our daughter, 11, was struggling in school. We were just not happy with the way our children were being educated.

Despite the push, we have landed safely. Now what? Well let me tell you, the last 7 weeks or so has tested us in ways I did not imagine. We have changed our way of educational approach, six times. Had what in our minds would be the perfect home school bubble popped. Had our sixteen year old decide he wanted to go back to school,  I have been on the brink of tears, yelled, walked away from the table, had feelings of inadequacy, felt I have failed to teach my children just simple respect, how did we lose control of these little people? where did we go wrong? But you know what? Through all these trials, I am glad we did it. Here is what I have learned in these last few short weeks...

1. Do not have unrealistic expectations. Expect a roller coaster, up and down. Remember our kids are just "little people" that just need our guidance, safety, and love to become adults. They have bad days too.

2. Give your self and your family time to find their groove. Especially when you have children that were in public schools for some time. I have been told by several people, that it can take up to year for you ALL to get it "together."

3. Plan, but be flexible. It is very easy to get caught up in having to get EVERYTHING done daily. Thank the Lord that there are others out there that are veterans in this adventure. Read their stories, take what you like, leave the rest.

4.  Utilize your resources whether it be curriculum, home school groups, other parents. If it was not for my local Facebook group of Home school parents, my kids would have been shoved back into school weeks ago, and I would be sitting feeling like a failure.

5. Remember your reason you chose this path. We all have different reasons, we all have different ways in how we home school. Do not compare your life, your family, your kids to others. Keep the focus on what you do have.

6. Start a Journal. A close friend of mine shared her way of getting through the days. She keeps a journal. At the end of the day she tries to write all the good things and things that she did accomplish in her day. That way when she feels like she is totally "failing", she just has to go and flip back and realize that she is accomplishing things. I have started doing this.

But the biggest thing I am learning is to....

7. RELAX! As a self-proclaimed organizational nut, bordering on OCD.  I tend to over think and over do. I have learned am learning that it is alright to not have every thing perfect, that is just stinking thinking. We will never be perfect. What we need to focus on is what we can change, what we can overcome. For me I need to really keep the focus, do things a day at a time and say a lot of prayers. It is when I let the "small stuff" bother me, or lose focus on what is really important. Sometimes it is easier said then done. I get it. As a mother it is always something, right? But guess what? It will never be perfect. When I make the choice to allow things to bother me, it is when I lose focus. I lose my goals, I lose my peace.

Take this for example:

My soon to be 10 year old son. A bowl of Ravioli. A microwave. This is what I found.

 I share this with you as a lesson. Normally, and I am sure most of us would see this and just flip out! I bet we have all had this conversation go through our minds, or even we have said it out loud. "How many times do I have to say to these kids to cover the bowl, here I go again, cleaning. All I do is clean. Gosh, my life feels like that movie Ground Hog's Day! Why are they making my life so hard." (Raising Hand, been there, done that! Guilty) But today when I saw this, I did not freak out. I saw it as a blessing.

What happened was that I saw it as a teachable moment. . Today my youngest son is learning how to be self-sufficient. He has learned to open up a can, he has learned to read the cooking directions. He has followed directions in the preparation of his snack. He has learned the safe way to remove his hot dish. He has learned. When I compare those positives to my one negative: He made a mess, the positives out way the negative. The Positives win! I realized that we both have learned. That is what is important! Granted there is still a mess, but it helped me put our life into perspective. We only have a short time to teach and enjoy the season of life our children are in. It is much easier to put aside the outside influences, thoughts of failure, and just enjoy what we are blessed with today.

Look for the those teachable moments, Relax and celebrate those dirty microwaves!