Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homeschooling is All Peaches and Cream. Not.

We're only into our fourth week of school and, let's just say, we've had our share of bad days already.

I've already heard things like this (use your very whiniest reading-to-yourself voice),

I hate school.
Why do I have to do this?
I hate writing.
I'm not doing it.
I hate spelling.
I'm not doing one more problem.
I already wrote a sentence.
I hate math.
I'm not reading one more Bible verse.
I hate school.
Do I have to?
Why are you making me do this?!

Then, there is the constant falling off the chair, dropping of the pencil, staring off into space, tattling on siblings, laying the head down on the table, staring at me blankly, etc.

I sometimes ask him (okay, I've given it away that it's mostly, okay- entirely, my oldest who does this) what he thinks his teacher would say about his comments/behavior if he went to "big school" (as we call it).  But, you know, he's never been to "big school".  I remember that and try to ask the question again in terms of Sunday School or PE.  He loves PE and Sunday School and not just because his Daddy is currently his SS teacher.

He admits that he wouldn't act this way, but you know what?  Who are we most grumpy around? Who is it that gets the brunt of our attitude and moods?  Who is it we feel we can safely express ourselves to without using much of a filter?  Our families?  Our spouses?  For a child, their mother?

Alright, so it all makes perfect sense.  But, improper behavior and disrespectful comments need addressing and working on.  I'm not making a blanket excuse here.  Just so we're clear.

I don't like how it goes down on those bad days.  I don't like how angry I get.  How it taints our moods toward each other for the day.  How I let him get under my skin when *I'm* the adult, the one that's supposed to be setting the example.  How I can get so frustrated with someone I love so dearly.

So, I pray for the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).  Those of us who homeschool (or parent, for that matter- it's really all the same) know how much we need every single one of these fruit to get through our days relatively unscathed.


Then, sometimes I hear, "I love school!" or "Mom, you're smart!" (I love that one) or "We get to do history now?  Yes!" or "What?  Don't stop!  Read more!  One more chapter, please?!"

And, occasionally, even sometimes in the midst of complaining, I hear, "Mom, you won't ever send me to big school will you?"  And I answer in the same way I do every time he asks, "Only if you, Daddy and I all think it's a good idea."

His face softens, my face softens and I realize it's all worth it even though it's certainly not all peaches and cream.

It's not.  You got that point, right?  Okay.  Just making sure. Pin It


  1. I'm sorry for giggling while I read this. I find solace in the fact that I am not alone. Seeing other kids just being kids and doing the same things mine do that get under my skin helps me take a step back, a deeper breath and find a little more humor in finding the love, patience, joy, kindness and self-control I so need in parenting my own children.

    On a related note, I do understand why animals eat their young. They heard too much whining ;)

  2. Oh, I can so relate to this post...even though I'm not homeschooling. But, thanks for a dose of reality. Sometimes when I'm letting guilt eat away at me I think things like, "And there are women who are able to do all that I'm doing AND homeschool and I bet they don't get angry, frustrated, upset, overwhelmed....."

    Truth is we all struggle at times. So why are we so hard on ourselves?

  3. Oh, goodness...this post was so encouraging!! We have had our share of bad days, too:). Last year, I truly was "burnt out" with homeschooling and considered school this year. God really spoke to us, though, and this year I have resolved to be a bit more relaxed and focus on those fruits of the spirit. The end result is soooo worth it! Thanks for sharing your honest feelings and making me feel like I am not alone out there:)!!


  4. Thanks so much for this post!! Teaching in a public school, I often have thoughts such as "I can not wait till the day I can just teach my own kids . . . surly they will love to learn, and we will have so much fun!" This post just reminded me that teaching in a public school is where God has me at the moment, and even when I homeschool there will be days when the kids have bad attitudes. I can practice now, working on my response! Thanks again! Have a blessed day!
    Megan @ A Blossoming Homestead

  5. Children will do anything to try and wear us down, so they can get out of anything that is an inconvenience to them...I've definitely had my share of looonnnnggg school days, one thing we have done is outlaw the word "hate." It doesn't stop the moaning or protesting, at least they aren't using that word.

    Good luck, I really enjoy reading all the blogs from the young homeschool Momma's.

  6. Thanks, I really needed to read this!!! Sometimes I think I'm the only one who's kids act this way and that I must be doing something wrong. Then I realize they're just being kids and I need to have more confidence in myself and more trust in God that I am doing the right things! Thanks for leading me back to God!

  7. One of the moms on our baseball team home "educates" (that's how she refers to it). She says when her "challenging" son begins this behavior she quietly, calmly folds up the papers, closes the book and tells him to let her know when he wants to learn and that she will be happy to teach him then. She just doesn't even engage. She says it works quite well right away...but sometimes he's stubborn enough to let it go until daddy comes home. And then...daddy handles it...which is much tougher than if mom were to handle it!! Then...the next time...he chooses to learn...lol!

  8. I can totally relate to this post. Your reminder about praying the fruits of the spirit is right on. Our attitudes and habits seem to get picked up and magnified by our children.


    Aunt V.

  9. This is my first year of homeschooling..and I did wonder if I was alone in my frustrations. Thank you for reassuring me that I'm not! :)

  10. One time my daughter was throwing a fit while I was trying to give her a piano lesson. I said "You didn't act this way when Mrs. Hosch was your teacher, did you?" Her answer was great, "No, Mom." (While rolling her eyes like I was such an idiot.) "That would NOT be respectful!"

  11. thank you for sharing this. I just visited the loveliest farmsteads to 'sight see', thinking is it too far, will I be able to be at home with my kids ALL day... when I can't really drive to town?/? thanks for posting this reminder, I have had 'those' days too. (Hi my name is.. & I'm a homeschool mom)
    be blessed today as you seek Precious Fruit of the Spirit who gives so freely. I'm seeking right beside you, in that eternal produce aisle. see me? I'm waving, & Henry is flipping my cart... :)

  12. what a cute post!
    I am there with you on the complete LIST and yes, it's my oldest a {{boy}} and I think that about sums it all up!

  13. So enjoyed the posted and ALL the comments. Maybe we need to start a support group.

    I have one child who is motivated and is doing 2 or 3 days of work in one day and the next is barely getting half a day done. I've been ready to pull my hair out.

    Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone!

  14. YYAAYY!! I'm not ALONE!! XXOO, Damaris

  15. Thank you for the 'bare and real' picture of a typical day in home education! So good to know that other families deal with this, too.

    On days when complaining reigns, though it's tiring and annoying, I'm so thankful for the challenges that my sons get to struggle through and depend on the 'Fruits' and our Lord to make it through. So glad they are learning this lesson within the nurturing walls of our home and in the forgiving embraces of their siblings. My sons will be so much more spiritually mature when they leave the walls of this home for their own than I am even now.

    So thankful!

    Enjoy your blessings today and thank you for the encouragement!

  16. Oh, this is so familiar!! Especially the "distracted" behavior.
    I remember you posting something about simplifying your math lessons. We use saxon too and sometimes those lessons are enough to swamp us for the day. Do you mind sharing your ideas on that in more detail??

  17. I'm right there with you, girl! It is such a major undertaking to be so responsible for our children's education. Thank the Lord that He has what we need to make it through all the hard parts, so we can be blessed by all the wonderful moments in between! I just have to remember to ask Him - why is it sometimes hard to remember to do that???

  18. Jen, Someone else asked this same question recently, so I'm going to write a post about what we do. Look for it in the next day or so:-).

  19. *Loved* this post! I can *so* relate! AND yes, it's all worth it! :)

    Hang in there...you are gonna make it! :)


  20. You are SO not alone on this one. I have been hearing some of this at our house too. With my older boys I have resorted to adding chores to their list of things to do that day if they whine to me about doing school.

    The first day I implemented this I ended up with a VERY clean house! :)

  21. I home-schooled our three children,fifteen years. It was the hardest thing I had ever done until now. At fifty-one my husband and I are co-parenting with our daughter three small grand daughters. There father will not allow me to home-school them. Yet once again your post sounded so familiar as I'm hearing the same words from our five year old public schooled grand daughter. All I can say is as hard as home-schooling is, it's worth it. I feel your triumps and frustration. The reward is well educated children that college professors say, "I wish all my students were this well schooled before arriving in college." All three of our children have thanked me over and over again as adults. What better reward is there? easylivingthehardway.blogspot.com

  22. I was joyful to see this post. Some days are great, others are painful. It is nice to know we are all in the same boat, and are repeating the same encouraging words to ourselves in an effort to be a better parent, and teacher. If only we had a mute button for all the whining!

  23. Keep on pressing on to the higher calling! Your children are so very Blessed. They will never think like sometimes if a child does not do well in public school they arent smart bc they are compared to others or see others excelling better. And so many more things as well to that list. Bless you the Lord has truly Blessed your life. Your post make me chuckle and smile the things* we must endure! lol. oxo

  24. Blog is absolutely fantastic! All great information can be helpful in some or the other way. Keep updating the blog,looking forward for more content.

  25. I came here by way of a giveaway of your cookbook on another blog. I, too, homeschool three kids. My middle child is a boy. One day he was doing his writing and had to keep re-doing it to make it right. Finally, clearly frustrated and angry, he growls, "Pencil, if you make one more mistake I'm not going to use you any more! I mean it, pencil!" He was completely unaware I was watching and listening to him. It was so hard not to laugh.

    The help comes when they can read for themselves and you can walk away from their moaning and let do their work at their own pace. Some days my son has been known to still be doing homework when his dad comes home from work. My day has continued but he sits there staring out the window. Oh well.

  26. We homeschooled our son for six years from age five on. His learning to read within the first few months is yet today one of my great accomplishments. For 6th grade we sent him to a Catholic school even though we are secular atheists, and he did quite well, although he did lose his accelerated science status because of the lack of science rigor at the school. He even went to mass on Wednesdays and managed to show respect for the Catholic traditions. What was funny though, is that he was kidded because he didn't know or say the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner. He now goes to a very good middle school (8th grade) and has successfully taken a practice SAT. He also is an elite swimmer for his age and already swims on one of the best High School swim teams in the state. Oh, and he is slowly picking up the words for the Natiional Anthem from the Naked Gun movies with Leslie Nielson. :-)


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