Monday, February 15, 2010

boxed in.

so i’m feeling a little bit stifled right now. when i took over responsibility for shane’s education, i knew i was making a big time/lifestyle commitment. i also figured that layla and eventually, micah would be involved in this endeavor. i knew that i was stepping out into a great unknown, having never completely done this sort of thing before. it was an experiment.

in general, this experiment has gone well. not entirely as planned, but well, nonetheless. i mean really, when you’re dealing with kids (or other human beings, for that matter) what does go as planned.

but at this point, i have to say that homeschooling is NOT my favorite thing. it’s not that i can’t do it. it’s not that shane isn’t learning. it’s not that i’m excessively overwhelmed or that i feel like i’m failing. it’s not any of that. the best thing i can figure out is that i feel ‘boxed in’. i feel like my time and opportunities are so limited for all of us. it’s not just about shane, and with layla and micah so much younger, they’re really kind of having to fend for themselves a lot of the time when i’m working with shane. i think the real problem is that i’m not able to get out enough with them and focus on them and what they need, let alone myself.

of course, having made this decision, backing away from it based on the above reasons feels incredibly selfish. had i never done it to begin with, this sort of thing would not cause anyone to bat an eyelash… and honestly, no one else out there will probably bat an eyelash, were i to stop… but i will. the whole thought of sending my kids to school because of the old cliché of needing ‘time for myself’ just makes my skin crawl.

but i guess it’s not just about that. i really don’t enjoy being the teacher. i don’t enjoy being A teacher. i learned this the year i was the lead teacher in a preschool classroom. every experience prior to that, i was the assistant teacher and i LOVED it. i loved it enough to go back to school and earn my BA in child development so i could be the LEAD teacher… i hated it. swell, huh? i really am finding that i work best in a support role, where i don’t have to be in charge of all the planning and implementing and record-keeping and all that. i SUCK at that. a job that causes me to have to do that only points out how BAD i am at it.

at any rate, i’m thinking a lot about this right now because all of my friends are talking about kindergarten registration and all that. a topic i’ve been dreading. i still don’t know exactly where i sit in that boat. but now there’s a new(ish) issue to deal with. layla keeps bringing up preschool. she went to a co-op when she was 3 and we dropped out after a couple months. there were various reasons, most were probably amplified in my over-think everything head, but some were certainly legitimate. it was a tough schedule for us to maintain, she was getting worn out and very grumpy at home, my child-care arrangement for micah on my in-class day had a baby, etc, etc, etc. now, i could probably find a place to put her back in, but our budget is so tight right now that i’m not really seeing where that tuition money is going to come from. hmmm… i’m really not opposed to her going. i know she thrives on academic challenges, ART, socializing with friends (especially girls, right now – she has recently decided that she does NOT like boys), ART, playground fun, ART, singing, ART… you get the idea.

i used to clean house for my parents once a week. they paid me for this too. doing this could easily pay for preschool tuition… but since september, i’ve been maybe 3 or 4 times to clean. yup. i love this schedule.

anyway, i’ve got a lot of frustrations swirling around right now. i miss being free to attend MOMS club activities. i miss MY friends and the opportunity for my kids to see THEIR friends. are these reasons to quit homeschooling? i don’t know. is returning to ‘school’ the best thing for shane? i don’t know. is going to kindergarten next year the best thing for layla? i don’t know.

i kinda wish i knew something!! they say being a parent is hard. THEY have NO idea!


  1. no matter what you choose, there will be positives and negatives. there isn't much i can offer you other than a great big 'it sucks' and wish you the opportunity to think these decisions through with a clear heart and clear mind. whatever you choose will be good for your kids, and they will be happy because you two are good parents. best of luck!

  2. Rach

    Have you thought about WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy)? I teach for the parent organization's international school.

    The benefit of WAVA is that it is homeschooling, but the curriculum, lesson plans, pacing and stuff are all done for you. Also, it is free!

    I know some homeschoolers have staunch beliefs about the government being apart of it, yada yada...but, WAVA is incredibly flexible and will allow you do to school and facilitate Shane's education how you want to.

    Let me know if you have questions! :)


  3. God has given you your gifts for a reason. No matter what it is that ends up being best for you, you should not feel as though you need to fill X, Y, and Z roles because that is what other good moms do. I was the homeschooled child who really missed out on a lot because my father insisted that we all be homeschooled, even when there was significant evidence that it was not the best situation. My mother forced herself to do what was not best for her, and all of her children suffered because she did was was "best" for us.

    As the first commenter said, there will be joys and regrets with any decision. In any case, you have to do what you have to do, and you can be a great mom either way.

  4. I know I haven't been home schooling as long as you, but I've found some good ways to balance things-- I still see my friends, I still skate, hike, climb (my interests). I just seperate the day into sections--so I make sure I have MY TIME.

    Why don't you pray about it and find out what God wants you to do?


  5. well, angie, pursuing things like that are just not possible for me at this point. they require two things that i don't have: money and childcare. i need to be able to have my younger kids with me for any activities i do, which is why MOMS club is so important in my life at this point... and then there's micah's nap to contend with as long as he's still taking one, so my afternoons are limited by that, as well as running shane here or there for classes.

  6. Boy, that IS a tough one, Rachel! If only things were clearly marked as the perfect choice, huh?

    I guess my only thoughts are that as long as your family's interests are at the forefront (which include your interests too)then you can do no wrong - and that is exactly what you are doing. Sadly, I think all the questioning you are doing is indictative of what a good parent you are to your kids. :) You want the best for everyone and you will continue to strive for it.

    I have always liked that doctors refer to their profession as a "practice"...isn't that what parenting and teaching are? It doesn't mean what we did before was "wrong", it just means we have more information to apply to a new situation...we keep practicing our skills.

    So, don't beat yourself up too much. Whatever you decide will be the best decision for your family at that time...



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