…..Cue the music…..It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Either you are thinking about the old Staples commercial for back to school shopping, the actual Christmas song, or what most moms are humming when their kids start back to school. Is it really “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” for homeschooling moms too? YOU BETCHA!
In the coming days on social media, we will see our friends’ cute pics of their kids with new clothes, shoes, and bookbags posing for photos in the front yard or at school. We will also see selfies of smiling mamas at Starbucks. We will see sheer delight on the faces of moms everywhere relishing in several hours of freedom and quiet. They may get a manicure, have lunch with a friend, or do nothing but enjoy a quiet house. Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it, homeschooling mama?
Back to school…..at home
Your first day probably looks much different. Your day starts out burning the toast, which sets of the smoke alarm, which sends little sister into a panic. The toddler is having a tantrum on the floor, and big brother misplaced the new pencils you just purchased. Fanning the smoke alarm makes the toddler smile. You are able to find the pencils, and gather the family for school. You breathe a sigh of relief. The lesson plans that you’ve spent the past six weeks writing look fantastic. You plan to start your school day promptly at 9 am with a family read aloud.
The doorbell rings. It’s your neighbor. She’s enjoying her first day of freedom while her kiddos are at school. You open the door, she lets herself in to chat, because you’re not busy. You get to stay home everyday! Meanwhile, the kids are fighting for which seat they want at the makeshift school room in the kitchen. You feel like the day is a disaster before you even start. What about that load of laundry you wanted to get started before school time. Sound familiar?
You need a pep rally
I don’t know if schools still have pep rallies, but I remember a couple, and it was one of the few bright spots of the year. I think homeschooling moms need a pep rally from none other than a fanatic herself! If you take a look at the definition, you may note it is usually held before a sporting event. I’m here to tell you, homeschooling is definitely a sporting event! There are victories and losses, sweat and tears, and sometimes blood.
Allow me to be your cheerleader for a few minutes, and tell you about what we have to cheer about! How about reclaiming our parks, museums, and playgrounds! Yeah! Last year, our homeschool group rented out the entire skating rink when the other kids were at school, and it was great! How about cheering for a calendar we are in total control of? Yeah! Want to plan a family trip NOT centered around a holiday? Do it! Want to school four days a week and have Friday’s off? Do it! Homeschooling mama, when you control your calendar, instead of it controlling you, it is liberating!
Another thing to cheer about is that shiny, new curriculum the WE chose, not the government! Everything I purchased was thought long and hard about, tailored to each child, and I’m not afraid to chunk it if it is not working. Education is never one-size-fits-all. In addition to educating HOW we want, how about WHERE we want? My kids have schooled under a tree, under the table, in a tent, and even on top of a truck.
Is your child interested in lions? Take a few weeks to read and learn about them, then take a field trip to the zoo! How about gardening? Your backyard is your classroom! How about spending the day with dad for on the job training? Whatever their interest, you can make it happen. While I am more of a traditionalist in my curriculum choices, I like to leave open time for them to pursue their interest.
That reminds me of those “light-bulb” moments to cheer about! I can remember when my daughter first wrote her name in cursive and how proud she was. I remember when my son first read to me. Those are memories that I’m so glad are all mine, and I don’t miss those moments. They only happen once.
What about when delight turns into tears when the math gets difficult? Cheer, mama! You have the ability to slow things down, or start again until they do figure out those hard math problems. Rather than just getting by and moving on to the next thing, cheer because they can learn naturally by trial and error, and really understand the subject. How they perform on a one-time test is not what I call learning.
Are you feeling pepped for a great school year yet? I asked a few of my Facebook friends to tell me something they were looking forward to. They too, were happy about their favorite parks and library being less crowded. Another was looking forward to their routine. No dreaded, crazy-busy mornings. Learning together from their morning basket, then flowing on to their schoolwork. Another friend was excited about using her aquarium membership. Our local aquarium is super busy during the summer. It is so much nicer when you can enjoy it off-season. A couple of others are looking forward to the read-alouds they have chosen to read as a family.
As you can see, there are so many reasons to cheer! Homeschool mama, you deserve a pep rally! You have not chosen the easy route. You have chosen less time for yourself, less money, days of total exhaustion, questions from total strangers, naysayers, a job you don’t get paid for or rarely get a break from. I’m cheering for you! I’m cheering because you have made the VERY BEST decision you can for your precious children.
When you see that big yellow bus pass your home soon, forgo the workbooks. Do something fun with your kids! Go to those parks, libraries, and aquariums! Smile, squeal, do a cartwheel, whatever….just remember ALL those things you have to cheer about! I want to see pictures on my Facebook page! You are amazing!
See there, homeschooling mama, it is The Most Wonderful Time of The Year for us too!