I ran into someone before church yesterday who asked me in a nutshell if homeschooling ever was just pure chaos in our world because, as she put it, you never hear from anyone about trying to read a story over the noise and screaming from the younger ones. And so this post is for all those moms out there wondering why it is that their life never seems as put together as what everyone else is talking about.
Let me tell you about our day today. See, I knew that our school year this year would be a rough one. We are coming off a very crappy year educationally and otherwise. I'm not sure we taught the kids much of anything last year other than it is possible to face your worst fear, fell like you have walked through hell, and come out on the other side. You won't be the same person, but you can make it through. I remember telling someone after they asked what the oldest boy was covering for religion last year "Oh, you mean I am supposed to be teaching them something?" Yup, that kind of a year. So I knew this year would be rough. We are behind in every way imaginable. To make it even worse, we decided we needed to enroll in a full-service provider this year to give everyone a bit of accountability and back-up support. And I have 8 students this year. Yes, eight. And that spoiled rotten toddler terror running around causing background noise.
So I planned for today to be a light day. This week to be a light week. I figured everyone but the older two could do about a half schedule this week and we'll spend the next two weeks working up to a full schedule. I even pulled out the easiest subjects. You know, things like handwriting and spelling and the math they were supposed to be doing all summer. So things should have gone well. But they didn't. One child spent 2 hours "doing" handwriting. One child spend the same 2 hrs "doing" math. Another child could not remember the sounds made by 4 letters. The letters in his name. (Yes, we are still teaching the 6-year-old to read. Crappy year last year, remember?) One child sat down to read a book and discovered that it is not put together properly so half the book is missing. Two other children conveniently managed to lose the discs they need for their math program. Another kid is apparently not enrolled properly in an on-line course. Yup, nothing worked today at all. And did I mention the child who is making sure we all know he's sick by fake coughing every 30 seconds? And the two-year-old peeing right through her diaper all over the basement floor which apparently is not laid totally flat because the puddle all ran in one direction right towards a wall, definitely going down hill.
So I decided before my blood pressure goes through the roof, I will get out of the house with some of these children and go grocery shopping. Left the older ones home to finish their work (and please clean this one spot on the kitchen floor) after tucking the younger ones in for naps. So I just have children with me who SHOULD know how to behave in the store. They have forgotten how. But I ran into another Mom telling her children as she attempted to maneuver a corner with one hanging onto the cart and one hanging from her back "I said walk behind me and quit goofing off" as she deftly dodged the oncoming carts in the aisle. Solidarity my friends. Look for those other frazzled moms who are telling their children "I should not have to keep telling you that the grocery store is NOT the appropriate place to practice karate" and "Walk in a line behind me, there is no reason for us to take up the entire aisle." We make it home and the one spot on the kitchen floor has not actually been cleaned and I tell the children who were with me to get back to the work they did not finish (so I am listening to one of them yell at the math computer right now because apparently it is wrong and he is right and I am still telling said older child to clean that dad gum kitchen floor because apparently only I can see the stuff laying on top of it).
Yup, it's been a day. A day I'm sure we will repeat over and over and over again. Because I don't know how you keep things organized and clutter free and less chaotic. I really don't. Heck, even the lady at the homeschooling conference who talks about all you have to do is stick to a schedule and not put your kids in outside activities and stay home all the time and it will all work perfectly only had 6 students at any one time. And even if she says everyone must always start at 8:00 am, I don't see that happening in this house. Hopefully by 9:00 though. I know with lots of littles the normal tricks are to work during naptime and put a video on for the younger ones or have special school time only toys or to put an older child in charge of the youngers while you work with the other older kids. But that doesn't work until you have enough older kids to rotate. I know it would be easier if I was not fighting against such a long pattern of the kids not doing much but I can't change that one.
I can say that it's not always perfect or wonderful or easy. We just don't always share those stories because it would frighten people away. Seriously. Just find your own groove and work with it. And when you figure out how to keep it organized and clutter free and non-headache inducing, let me know how you did it, ok?