Yesterday I struggled. After slowly researching homeschooling as a possibility for my middle schooler (dealing with middle school social life is not easy), I felt a real push one evening that this is something we wouldn’t know until we tried….and every single person I talked to said their isn’t a reason to wait..that you can just start. So randomly (but not so randomly), my oldest son and I worked up a plan in the morning based on my research from the past month and decided we were going to start.
I can’t tell you how emotionally draining this was and is for me. How as a parent, I have absolutely no idea if this is the right thing to do, the right path, what’s best for my son. Nobody gives us parents a guide or the answers. Will family and friends understand? Will he still develop the social skills and responsibility that school offers? Will this help with his mindset and self confidence, his self love, as much as I hope it does? Feeling the pressures of making a decision like this was almost too much for my heart to handle…yet I felt like it was time to make the decision and experience it to know if it is the best path.
So not only was I emotionally drained as I drove all 4 kids to school, planning on dropping 2 off in elementary, and planning on going to the middle school office to tell them our plan and clean out a locker…my 6 year old decided for the second day in a row he didn’t want to go to school. This has been an on and off occurrence the entire year…he is an introvert, likes quiet time, and though he is a top student, he just doesn’t want to go sometimes. For the second day in a row, I had to take him to the office, and I had to ask someone to nicely hold him down so he didn’t run out after me into the parking lot. This time, the only one available was the kind and gentle school deputy, and though I knew he was in good hands and would be fine the minute I left, the visual of my 1st grader being held down by a police officer and hearing his high pitched screams were too much for me. They were also too much for his 4 year old brother, who bursted into tears and didn’t understand why we couldn’t just bring Sam home with us, why a police man was holding down his best friend. I held back my tears, knowing I now had to go face the middle school with my decision to pull my oldest out of school for the rest of the year. (I did get an email from the school saying Sam was calm and fine as soon as I left, and he reported a good day when I picked him up, but man, it is almost too much for me to bear).
Tears were secretly running down my face as my oldest and youngest rode in the car home with me, with the pressure of whether I made the right decision with homeschooling him so suddenly, with whether I should have just brought Sam home with me and not made him stay at school, and with the stress of knowing I was leaving on a trip in just 2 days and was not nearly ready….I tried to hide it and be strong…but my son asked me, “Are you mad at me because we are homeschooling?”
I tried to explain that of course I wasn’t mad at him, I tried to explain it was just a very stressful morning all around. Don’t worry, the day got worse and we had to deal with a little emergency situation that made my stress levels sky rocket and took up 3 more hours of my day once we got home. I just wanted to give up that day…wave the white flag to parenting and adulting.
This morning was better, I was well rested..and Sam actually happily got on the bus! His older sister…my little teacher’s pet, 126% on all her tests, social butterfly…decided it was her turn for a melt down. Tears streaming down her face, not wanting to go to school, saying she should be homeschooled too (was worried that would happen). She missed the bus, so I tried driving her to school, but she was bawling so much and I knew missing one day wouldn’t affect her at all, so I just angrily drove her home, asking out loud why my children feel like they don’t need to go to school like all the other children and that there is no way I could handle homeschooling all 4.
I felt frustrated, I felt defeated, I felt like I was doing something wrong as a parent. I started questioning whether I was strict enough since I can’t even get my kids to go to school, was I raising non disciplined kids? School is important, learning that you have to do things you don’t want to do is important. Why do my kids do this to me?!
I got home and sat down to read my bible versus and do my devotional…God knows that is what I needed the most. My daughter grabbed her devotional and came down and sat with me to read together. Hers was on self control, and she said, “This is just what I needed to read to today.” Then my son came down and said he finished listening to the motivational podcast I assigned for him as part of his daily school work.
Well, honestly isn’t this more important? Working on your mindset and learning about God, something we don’t teach our kids enough? It got me wondering if 6 1/2 hours learning in school and dealing with the stress of social life was really what was important….if maybe just because that’s the way that is drilled into you from the time you are born doesn’t necessrily make it right.
I remember warning my son that homeschool was not supposed to be all fun and games, he was going to have to work hard….then I thought, what am I saying? I push people to live out their dream and enjoy every moment…I’m now in a business that I absolutely love doing 99% of the time…and it’s not the norm…it’s not the 8-5 job. Why am I teaching my kids anything different just because that’s what society says to do? Why can’t learning be geared towards each child and involve fun and games? And no, I can’t seem to get my kids to go to school today, but every body that watches my kids or sees them in public makes the comment of how well behaved they are, and how my husband and I are raising great kids. So maybe I’m not completely failing.
It’s going to be a learning experience…and I’m only starting homeschool with 1 kid!! I am so new to this homeschooling thing, I’m sure there will be ups and downs, but I’ll try to share my journey as I go. I know my anxiety and pressures as a parent are sky high right now, but my daughter and I read a verse today:
“Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:10
I’m relying on God to hold me during this time, and definitely expecting Him to lead me because I have no idea what direction this will take me. I need to trust He has a plan.