Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Tough Parts of Homeschooling...

No one could have prepared me for how difficult it is to teach your children while also managing the rest of life in the house. But the juggling of cooking, reading, training, teaching, cleaning, organizing, researching, etc. isn't what I'm finding to be the toughest part of teaching my children.

So far, I've found that getting them through their own frustration or learning blocks is so.very.hard

For example, when I sit to teach Reagan how to add 2-digit numbers for the fourth time and she starts crying the instant that she can't throw me an answer - this is when I struggle.  I think right away of how a 'professional' educator would know what to do - how to make her see the numbers more clearly.  I think of how if I could just keep my tone of voice more even it wouldn't trigger her emotions.  I think of how I shouldn't be, but truly am, irritated that another lesson is brought to a crawl by tears.  I wonder at how she got to thinking in the first place that my expectation is so sky high!  So many times, I've told her (as I see her tensing up or heading toward frustration) that school is about repetition, practice, learning by doing - and not about right answers....

And yet we sit.  Me staring out the opposite window and biting my lip and praying.  She crying and rubbing her eyes. Both of us waiting until her brain is functional again ("Crying shuts your brain down Rae. It just doesn't work right when you get upset") so we can salvage the lesson.  In the background, I hear a timer for something cooking/burning and/or the younger ones either screaming at each other or screaming in play or screaming about a boo-boo.  The phone rings and I hope that the message tells me that's it's not a pressing call of any sort so that it doesn't add to my mind's diversion.  I can not seem to help but feel the pressure of time, since there are so many other things as well as other little people that need my attention.

But...
I am thankful that I am her mother.  That I know her heart and mind well.  That I don't have to believe the lies my enemy tells me about my own teaching ability.  I am thankful that this is not every day every lesson at Heritage Academy. I am thankful that I know her heart will be softer when she is finished crying.  I am thankful that I don't have to meet anyone's else's goal for her - only that of her own growth rate. I am thankful that I can tell when she's ready.

And as I sit and think on all that I'm thankful for, it seems but a moment when I feel tug on my sleeve and we hug and we start again with "I don't expect perfection, Reagan, only that you try and that you accept it when I correct you.  You don't need to cry - that makes lessons no fun.  Let's try again, okay?"

I am not always patient - definitely not.  But I know that Someone is trying to make me so with the tough parts of homeschooling...
Andrea


[Monica over at Shine Again understands the tough parts as well - she practically wrote the words from my head in her latest post so I had to share it.]

4 comments:

argsmommy said...

I love the last line about Him teaching us patience. God has used homeschooling to teach me so many lessons, but I'm still working on that patience thing. You're not alone.

Luke said...

Definitely one of the hardest parts of homeschooling because it is one of the hardest parts of learning...

~Luke

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Oh girl, I could have written this. I have been trying to work my own thoughts like this and haven't had a moment. Oh I have been there...regularly.

Thanks for your honesty.

Tracy said...

What you describe is partly the reason I believe God has never required homeschooling from me. My oldest daughter would probably just flatly refuse to learn anything from me! OTOH all of them love having me in their classroom...so that is our compromise I guess. A lot of time on my part, working in their classrooms.

I wanted to encourage you that often 'professional educators' scratch their heads in puzzlement too. The other day a student I work with told me that there are two different ways to work out a multiplication problem. "One way has this answer, my way has that answer ~ they're both right". You can't teach someone who refuses to accept what is being taught!!!!!

The benefit of a professional educator is that they have learned about different learning styles (auditory, visual, practical) and have learned how to approach each lesson in a variety of ways so that each child is able to understand. They also have a lot more resources at hand.

One of the children in my son's class has just come from homeschooling and is loving the worksheets. To her they're really exciting!

In your maths lesson, have you tried using things like counters? In our classrooms we have MAB's
(http://www.jennysclassroom.com.au/store/hands_on_maths_aids/mab_sets/base_10_mab_blocks_student_set/)
I have seen many a student finally have something click in when they see how borrowing and carrying works in action...by moving the blocks from one column to the other.