Monday, March 23, 2009

Escaping Tyranny

I think all homeschool moms experience feelings of doubt, guilt, and occasional panic, wondering if we are REALLY doing the best thing for our precious children.

Every morning, I watch the school bus go past my house without stopping for my children, and every morning, I feel like we have escaped from prison. We aren't scrambling around making sure everybody has a lunch, a backpack (which, incidentally, for a middle schooler weighs about as much as your average senator) and any stray notes or homework. Whether we were in an organized phase (thanks, FlyLady) or a disorganized phase, there was always a scramble.

Now, we get SmallDaughter onto the van for her school, and then the rest of us go tackle our day. This morning was fairly typical. I got up with My Favorite Gentleman at 4:45, packed his lunch for work (it makes him feel loved), he wheeled the trash dumpster out to the curb (it makes me feel loved!) and I had my early morning seminary class at 5:15. (I am teaching New Testament this year, to some EXTREMELY awesome high school students--who attend this extremely early class every day, and then go to school and do great things!

After class, I invited BigGirl and LargeBoy in for "Snuggle Time" in my room. Snuggle Time is a long-standing tradition, born back in the day when they HATED to get rushed out of bed straight into the school chaos. I realized that their schedule was: get up-get ready-go to school-come home-do homework-eat dinner-go to bed-do it again. These are FIRST GRADERS! When did we have time for fun? For Love? For knowing that they are the most important things in my life? So they started coming into my room before they had to get up, for snuggles, reading aloud, back and foot massages, movie watching and, occasionally, sleep. When I am old, what I will look back on with love and nostalgia, is snuggling with my beautiful children every morning.

So, this morning, LargeBoy (who slept very well), was not sleepy, and wanted to be productive, but both of his sisters were still asleep. What to do? He went and got his scout notebook, wrote several thank you notes, and worked on memorizing the Boy Scout Oath and such. While he was snuggled up to me. When he finished, he went back to sleep. When he gets up, (I know from past experience)he will have a great day. He is very sleep dependent, and lack of sleep makes him a very grouchy guy.

When BigGirl was having a hard time with math, we started doing it snuggled in my bed, where it was warm and we could reduce her stress. Ironically, she is very good at math, she just gets frustrated and panicky (just like her mother!). Since I am doing math with them (I am learning and RETAINING more than I ever have, thank you for asking--I really love the Saxon Math program), we just got comfy and worked through the hard places together.

We are no longer under the tyranny of other peoples schedules, other peoples expectations, and other peoples ridicule. Why can't math be learned in bed?

So, my observations about "am I doing the right thing" and other guilt and panic?

I love to spend time with my kids. I would rather be with them than most other people--they are funny, kind and intelligent. I don't need to send them off to school to have other people babysit them because they drive me crazy.

In a typical classroom of 25, a teacher can only give each child 5-7 minutes of individual attention per day. Now, even on a crazy busy day, when I am rushing between projects, I can give them at least 15 individual minutes.

15 minutes doesn't sound like very much, does it? But consider this--it is three times more than they would be getting! And that is on my worst day!

In my school, we have no bullying, no harrassment (well, except from me about room cleaning!), no peer pressure to try drugs, sex or tobacco (let alone steroids given by overachieving coaches, etc.) AND if anybody in my school has a gun--it is because we are doing target shooting!

How can I possibly do WORSE for my children than the public Junior High Schools?

I am going back to bed, to snuggle my beautiful children and to lovingly face the future!

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