One Month of Homeschooling and a Trek Through The Great Black Swamp

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This week marks the end of our first month of homeschooling.

I won’t lie.  It’s been a challenge.

The first week I was ready to quit.  But then Handsome Hippie Husband, ever the calm voice of reason, stepped in and reminded me that we had good reasons for making this choice.  In the gentle way he has, he talked with me. He talked with Sweet Hippie Daughter and he figured out that we really weren’t talking to each other.

I was yelling, “YOU HAVE TO DO SCHOOLWORK! IT’S NOT A CHOICE!”  And she was throwing herself on the floor and crying.

As it turns out, she had absolutely no understanding of how to do what I was asking her to do and I was not hearing her attempts to explain that to me.

We’re doing much better now.  We’re still tweaking and adjusting, but those who have traveled this road before me tell me that the tweaking never really ends.

Every single day has moments of total exasperation.  But I’m pretty sure that is not an experience exclusive to homeschoolers.  I think it’s just a mom thing.

But there are those other moments…

The moment when I’m on the sofa with a maniacally giggling kid in each arm, being attacked with slobbery kisses and I hear the bus come and go and I didn’t have to stop the giggle-fest to send my girl away.

The moment when, after a late night, she comes downstairs just as the sun is rising and climbs into bed with me and I can hold her in my arms and let her little body get the rest it needs and I don’t have to tell her, “No.  You have to get up and get dressed now so you’re not late for school.”

The moment when I “catch” her sneaking extra reading time to read out loud to her invisible alien friend and no one is there to stop her because there is a schedule to stick to, or tease her for using her imagination in that way.

Those moments and so many more outweigh the bad times by a far margin!

By far, the best day of every week is Tuesday.

Our unorthodox work schedules being what they are, Tuesday is the one day that our whole family is together all day.  We wake up together and lounge around eating breakfast together and then we take a family field trip together.  We studied our little local river one day.  One day we took a meandering drive through multiple corn fields and forests to find the end of the river and we got to see where it spills into lake Erie next to a beautiful, sandy, shell-covered beach.  That was a great opportunity to talk about how our actions, in our little town, with our tiny river, can affect the entire planet!

Yesterday we explored the last remaining portion of the Great Black Swamp.

Our town was almost entirely swamp land before European settlers drained it and cleared the forests for farms in the 1800’s.  The swamp, at that time, stretched from Ft. Wayne, Indiana to Sandusky, OH.

What’s left, after nearly 15,000 miles of ditches were dug, is a single Metropark in the Toledo area.

Upon pulling into the park entrance, we drove about 100 yards and saw a pair of lovely deer with their babies.

We walked through the forest.

We hugged the ancient trees.

No good hippie can go to the forest and NOT hug a tree!

We found clues that something had been on the path before us.

A racoon?

We all learned a new fact or two and we told stories, true and made up and we ate and we laughed and… well… we were just together.  Which, when it comes down to it, is really the most important thing of all, isn’t it?

So, perhaps it’s not ALL dancing in the daisies, but so far I have to say we’re happy with our decision.

And now, lest you think my kid is turning into a weird unsocialized homeschooler (one of my favorite websites, BTW) I must rush off to take the girl to band class.  She’s VERY excited to be getting a new trombone today!  And then we have midweek church – dinner together and then Bible class for the different age groups.  You see… we really do get dressed and leave the house and interact with other people almost every day!  🙂

Enjoy this beautiful gift of a day!  I’ll see you back here in a day or two.

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22 responses »

  1. I think you are doing a wonderful thing.I feel love when I read your posts and I am so happy to have met you in this blog world.You give me much to think about and I love that as people that know God we all find the right fit for our family.Blessings

  2. I have friends on both sides of the discussion. I have friends with children in Public Schools, Private Schools, Shared Home Schools, Home Schools, Magnet Schools and many things in-between.

    My sons went to public school but I supplemented at home because they didn’t get what they needed.

    I went to public school and my brother went to an alternative school. I think there are many choices, more today than at any time in the past. The key is well rounded, well educated and competent young people capable of moving into the world in the future. How they get there, I am not certain it matters.

    Loved your post.

  3. I have felt that way at the start of every new year of homeschooling. “Why am I doing this? I should just send them to school!” But I’ve still stuck with it. Eventually you get into your groove. That’s just the way it is. : /

    • It is harder than I ever thought it would be, but I love it so much more than I thought I would. Every day is a new adventure. Our family is closer than ever and, through our local homeschool association and other organizations our daughter has more opportunity now than she ever did when she was spending all day in the classroom. In addition to her regular academics she’s in theater class, orchestra, gymnastics and archery. She gets to be in spelling bees and read to the elderly at the local nursing home and go on field trips with other children from ages newborn through high school. She wouldn’t have gotten to do any of that in our local public school. If you are really considering it, you should “like” Homeschool Share on Facebook. They have SO MANY interesting articles and links and resources. I use their info almost daily.
      I don’t think that homeschooling is for everyone, but I’m very glad that we’re giving it a try, at least for this year. When we get to spring, we’ll consider next year. One step at a time.

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