I thoroughly enjoy reading about homeschooling. Learning about different approaches and ideas inspires me. I can’t wait to watch videos on homeschooling blogs where the mom shows how her super organized homeschool is set up or how they go about their daily tasks. I soak up so many ideas and suggestions, wondering how I can incorporate more of this and a little of that into our homeschool days.
I admire how different families keep order in their school days. I admire the structured schedules and have fun brainstorming how what I just saw or read could work in our house. I have high ideals, especially at the beginning of each school year, of how our homeschool will run. I relish printing, laminating, and organizing my teaching materials in preparation for what is to come.
And then, as the school year progresses, I have many days that look something like this…
Instead of getting up before everyone awakes (exercising, showering, and doing devotions by candlelight while drinking steaming tea), I open my eyes to a warm, footy-pajama clad two-year-old who has crawled into my bed. After snuggling for a while, multiple children begin calling out my name for various reasons which lets me know that it’s time to get out of bed. I don my bathrobe and pad into the kitchen, well aware of yesterday’s dinner dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher.
Breakfast usually consists of something cold and crisp…and possibly sugary – frosted shredded wheat being a particular favorite at this point. I get the kids their cereal while they are watching a show.
I may get on the computer while still dressed in my beautiful attire. If the kids didn’t sleep in what they wore the previous day (my tip for saving time ;)), they are still dressed in their pajamas as well.
After breakfast we usually settle into a calming routine that involves multiple bare-skinned boys wrestling in the living room, a young lady who conveniently disappears when she knows that it’s almost time for school to start, and a mom who wraps up her online business while simultaneously saying, “No more wrestling. Time to get dressed”, “Get out your school work”, “Emilia? Where are you?”, and “Something stinks. Tommy, did you go poo?”
All thoughts of a beautifully organized, “bloggingly” efficient day get wiped away and rolled up in the poopy diaper.
I think of those blogs that I read where the mom says she gets up early in the morning (probably around 5am) and I conjecture the even flow of her days. She’s all serenity and calmness when her husband and children awake. She has laid out everyone’s clothing and everyone (yes, even the hubs has a color-coded chart) has their checklists to complete before they come into the kitchen for the delicious hot breakfast that awaits.
School and chores take place the exact same way every single weekday because it’s all laid out on pretty paper, laminated, and hung on the wall. They have a family system and they all know how it works, even the two year old who only poops once per day precisely at 11:34…on the toilet (because we all know that this child is already potty-trained with such an organized and efficient mother).
Snapping back to reality, I remember that no one is perfect and no mother has everything all planned out. No matter what the blog says or how pretty those pictures are, there will always be days that do not go as planned. There will be times that parents sleep a little too late and children watch too much TV. There will be moments that the two-year old poops not once, but three times during a school day, causing the mom to have to get up (yet again), interrupting the history lesson and enabling the students to start a game of “Hide and Go Seek.”
Yes, I do enjoy learning about the myriad of ideas that are out there, but I also know that I have the freedom and ability to pick and choose what works for our family. I am not supposed to homeschool just like someone else. While I can admire those color-coded chore charts, I know (from experience) that they don’t work so well for our family. And that’s okay.
Every family homeschools differently. The main thing for each family to make sure they are doing is educating their children (I’m speaking of spiritual education as well) and doing a Really Good Job. That “Really Good Job” will look completely different in each home.
In our home, it happens to involve a mom who sometimes wears a bathrobe for half of the morning.
Heidi Vriesman, a follower of the Good Shepherd, is a rather spontaneous wife to her detailed husband and mom to their 4 sweet children, ages 8 and under. She has a BA in Elementary Education and was fairly against homeschooling until the Lord worked on her heart. Now, after 3 years, she couldn’t imagine educating their children any other way. You can find her recounting their days in word and picture at www.dearlylovedmist.blogspot.com. She’d love for you to stop by and say, “Hi!”