I have moments of intense anxiety.
I often feel that I am no good at this.
I don’t know what I am doing.
How can I expect to make a go of homeschooling when I am the most disorganized person I know? (and I know some pretty disorganized people).
I am not a morning person. We do not have a regular start time for school. If we begin before 10 I am happy. (well, when I say happy, I mean slightly less stressed)
I am selfish with my time. I admit that if I had my way I would be reading constantly. And not books about how to mark essays, or how to really understand how your child learns. I would be reading the new Kate Atkinson from cover to cover.
Instead I am reading it covertly whilst sitting on the toilet, taking the longest pee in history, my bum numb and my toes stricken with pins and needles and a small voice echoing up the stairs “... Mummy, where are you?”
And why did I decide it would be a good idea to teach the unteachable child at home? If the Special Ed team at the local school couldn’t get her to concentrate, why the heck did I think I could?
I love her to bits. She is adorable in her quirky mind blowing ways. She makes me laugh. She makes me cry. She makes me scream into my pillow. I fight her every step of the way and at the end of a long torturous day she has produced a smudgy misspelled illegible piece of work not worthy of a 5 year old.
And then I remember that this is my unique Jessica I am dealing with. The child who cannot do what the book is asking her to do. Her brain isn’t wired like that. So the next day, I make it easier on both of us by acknowledging this. And I ask her to make a cartoon strip of the first 8 chapters of Anne of Green Gables (why didn’t LM Montgomery do it that way in the first place?)
Most days she does very little. But I attempt to reassure myself that she did very little at school too. And I know she is happier doing it at home.
And I tell myself (As people helpfully remind me) that it is early days yet. I am beginning to worry ever so slightly that I cannot keep churning out that trite phrase forever.
I know that the youngest is learning. Her reading is improving almost daily. This 7 year old, who, a month ago tested a reading age of 5, will hopefully, by the time she is 8, have the reading age of a 6 year old (as if all that actually matters anyway ... for goodness sake .. she loves books, what more could I want?)
The oldest is of course extremely capable and I worry about her too ... I worry that I have taken her out of a system where she was challenged and brought her into a place of chaos where she can underachieve to her hearts content. She writes and reads and does her math. I need to make sure she does it all well.
I love to read to them. That is a plus. One of the easiest parts.
The rest is bloody hard work. The keeping up with them. The making sure they are getting it done. The checking, critiquing, planning. The worry that I am not checking critiquing and planning enough ...
I can manage the guilt trips and the panic attacks quite well.
I need to enjoy jumping off the ledge a bit more ... the whole free fall thing.
I need to learn patience and grace and I need to learn to trust God. He is, after all, the reason I am doing this.
- I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.