Wednesday, March 6, 2013

From Stressful Chaos to Happier (less) Stressful Chaos

Goodness!  I had no idea how long it had been since I last posted.  My last post was on my 30th birthday and that was over two years ago.  I just turned 32 this past January.  Much has changed in the last two years so I thought it might be a good time to update my profile and write a new post.  I've been meaning to get back to blogging for a while now.  I have a really good friend who blogs frequently and when I read her posts it inspires me to do the same.   I really enjoy writing, but making time for it these days seems to be increasingly more difficult.  So here I am now and I will try to post more frequently. 

Justin and I are now raising four children.  Our fourth child, Gavin, was born on December 12, 2011.  He's a super precious baby boy!!  Our oldest daughter Sidney will soon turn 9 and entered the 3rd grade this school year.  She loves art, writing screen plays, riding her bike and fashion design.   Lachlan is 6 1/2 and started kindergarten. His current passion is the wii and enjoys playing with his toy dinosaurs and watching movies.  Paisley, our super bubbly, happy, active child, turned 5 in January and attends MDO two days a week.   I'm also currently keeping another infant to make a little extra money. 
We started homeschooling this past December! (I'm going to kind of back into this topic and begin with the now and end with how we got here.  It might seem disorganized, but it's how it made sense in my mind. Or it could be that my writing skills are in serious need of repair from all the baby brain damage.)  We are still in trial and error mode (or survival mode more like it).  Just trying to cover the basics at this point.  It's going well, but it's somewhat chaotic with all the distractions with an infant and a toddler around.  The kids are still adjusting to having "school" at home, but so far I think it has been a great decision for our family.  It's not for everyone and it may not be forever for us, but for now it is what we think is best for our family.  I'm blessed to be able to do this while I can and I recognize that it's not an option or a desire for all.  Justin works most Saturdays so I really like that my kids get to see their dad on his day off during the week.  I also like that I get to spend more time influencing my kids and teaching them just regular life lessons that I never had time for (or made time for) when they were in traditional school.  Just simple conversations and using everyday life to teach them are really rewarding.  (Don't let this pretty "picture" I'm painting fool you though.  The stage I'm setting looks much more glamorous than the reality of what goes on behind the scenes sometimes.  In other words, sometimes my influence on my kids is no better than the emotionally disturbed classmate at school.  I'm certainly not a perfect, happy-with-my-kids-all-the-time homeschool mom.   Just keeping it real.)

In addition, I did not choose to homeschool because I thought the public schools and teachers were bad, that the schools were teaching un-biblical ideas, or for the fear that my kids might be influenced by their non-christian friends.  I'm not discounting those possibilities, but I myself abstained from homeschooling for so long partly for the opposite reasons.  I thought I needed to teach my children solid principles and stay closely involved at home so that they could make an impact on their peers and teachers at school. ( I still believe this to some extent, but I may have to save that topic for another post because it's a little too dense to add it in here.)   To be really honest, I'm homeschooling for much less profound reasons.  It's really a long list of reasons including  behavioral/learning style issues and academics, but one big reason may be a little selfish (and shocking).  I finally realized that I missed them and didn't want to share them with the school anymore!  WHAAA???  This coming from the mom who always said, "I'm a better mom if I'm NOT with my kids 24/7!!!"  I DREADED picking them up from school at 3:00 each day.   Those few hours a day were always filled with frustration, stress, and sometimes tears.  We were all tired and ready for the day to be over.  Trying to get supper cooked, the house cleaned up, baths, homework, and the kids to bed by 7:45 took every bit of my energy starting at 3:30 every day.  (For the record, we're all still frustrated and stressed out occasionally, but at least now we get to see the happier side of one another, as well.) 
The idea of homeschooling surfaced during the fall of 2012.  I began talking to a homeschool mom friend of mine who had pulled her kids out of public school to homeschool the year prior. I began to see that my perspective on homeschooling and my relationship with my children was pretty skewed.  My friend and I shared the same experiences with having a children in traditional school, but her solution of homeschooling her kids seemed really backwards.  I couldn't imagine being with my kids all day every day.  I always felt guilty that I dreaded being with my kids even for those few precious hours after school each day, but what I really didn't like was the way we spent those hours.  I began to see the possibilities homeschooling would open up to us in this stage of our lives.  I began to see that I didn't want to be with my kids less, I wanted to be with them differently. I wanted to have fun with them, laugh with them, be silly with them, teach them about life, and watch them learn; none of which we were able to do from 3:30-7:45 Mon-Fri.   Sure it's crazy around here sometimes and some days it's like pulling teeth to get them to get their work done, but I believe even the 15-30 minutes of a great moment with them is worth the few hours of chaos.   If I could have figured out a way to make it work and leave them in school, I might have done it, but at this point homeschooling seemed to be the best option for our family.  I'm certainly not super-woman or super-mom and I never will be.   I'm simply a mom saving the world one leaky sippy cup and reading lesson melt-down at a time ;)!