This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2.
When the kids were little we had an official first day, and a last day of school. It is a given that children learn all the time, and don’t stop learning, but for the sake of this conversation let’s assume everyone agrees with that simple logic shall we? The real reason we had an official first day and last was because I needed to know that I was done.
Done with finding fun things to do.
Done watching for their interests to guide them.
As the years went buy I quickly learned it was more stressful to school with a first day and last. If I schooled that way, it meant I had to be pretty faithful through the year to school, and well, I’m not. Have you ever thought about the way your school runs in the day, it is not always the way your child wants it to run, but rather the way you need it to run?
For example, I have one lonely J type in my oldest three kids. He loves it when I schedule his day, different subjects for so many hours. I can’t do it. I have tried. So many years I have tried, and the only one who keeps to the schedule is him. As he got older it frustrated him no one else kept to the schedule so I had to get rid of the schedule, and instead just verbally tell him how much work.
I run our days without a schedule, because I need to be without one. I have two other P’s I am teaching, along with me being a P. They fight against the schedule, and I find myself agreeing with their arguments, so the whole thing goes to pot. I never realized I did that until I decided I needed to stop lying to myself.
About three years ago, during my dark days, I didn’t get out of bed some days. I was very depressed. I still might be, but for today I feel OK. You can’t do school well when you are in bed all day, even unschooling requires some sort of parental involvement. To combat my desire to die, I said we did school year round, so I could justify the dark days.
We really didn’t do school year round. Summer would fill up and I would still have dark days. So this year I have decided to stop lying to myself. When I catch myself lying to myself I call me on it. The true motivation is not to give my kids a better education. I wish I could say that because it makes me sound better, and it makes the comments nicer, but the real reason is I keep gaining weight and I know it must be due to some reason, and I think stopping the lying is a good place to start.
All this being said, I now have to face the fact, I don’t truly school during the summer, so am I going to school this summer, and if I do what does that look like? Do I only school, Tuesday-Thursday, giving us long weekends? Do I only concentrate on one subject and let go the rest?
I don’t know, but I do know one thing. I am tired to having dark days, I am tired of the weight gain, and I am tired of feeling like I fail my kids constantly. Some how this needs to change over the summer. I wish I knew how.