The last five years I enjoyed cleaning my house, doing laundry, meal planning and grocery shopping while both of my children were at school. Completing a run or workout, taking a shower, and getting some writing done was also a piece of cake in a quiet, organized house. I knew that homeschooling The Hare this year would change things, I just didn’t realize by how much.
In my mind, home-school would be creative and fun, but a relaxing atmosphere. I pictured The Hare quietly doing her work on her side of the room, while I would be at my desk on the other side of the room. Occasionally, we would meet in the middle to go over any questions. And above all else, our shared room would remain beautifully organized and easy to maneuver around. After all, we spent all summer crafting the perfect work space, filling our shelves with school supplies, office supplies, curriculum and resources.
Last week was our first personal experience with home-school, and by the end of the week the entire house looked like a tornado had just blown through. Not once, but twice. We ate more take-out meals in a few days than we probably did all summer. The Hare did almost no work independently, but “required” me to read through all of her lessons with her, even though I knew she could manage most of them on her own. She was just so used to being spoon-fed every morsel of information that she was afraid to trust herself.
“I’m going to gain 50-lbs, lose my dog under a pile of unwashed laundry, and forget how to write my own name!” I cried to my best friend Friday afternoon.
It also didn’t help that I met several moms at our home-school co-op on Friday morning. Moms that made home-schooling look easy. Moms who all appeared showered and wore un-crumpled clothes. Their children had the appropriate supplies and didn’t need assistance finding their classrooms. This just added to my feelings of inadequacies. I felt tired, overwhelmed and totally sleep deprived. I felt like I had just had another baby.
But then Saturday morning I took inventory of the work we had accomplished in just a few short days, and listened to my animated 10-year-old tell everyone about all the fun things she learned in her first week of school. I couldn’t help but smile at how excited she was to look at the next week’s lessons, prepare more science experiments and come up with field trip ideas that correspond to the themes of this unit. She was well-rested, calm and creative. She was engaged in her life, reenforcing that homeschooling was indeed the right decision.
It will take some time to adjust and find our rhythm, but I am confident with a little tweaking it will happen. I will need to be more organized and manage my time better. And much like having a new baby, it eventually will start feeling normal again. This weekend I cleaned, reorganized closets, did the meal planning and grocery shopping. The Tortoise even pitched in and helped me prepare four to five meals to put in our fridge and freezer for this week.
And this morning, I slept in.