Friday, January 26, 2007

The dark side of homeschooling?

I seem to be neglecting this poor blog lately.
The kids and I have been busy with various things, but nothing too exciting.
Our homelearning group held its monthly "Theme Day" on Thursday, which was fun. There were many great presentations, and we learned a lot (about Chinese inventions, why it's important to recycle cell phones, bones in the human body, why popcorn pops, invisible ink, etc.) . This month's theme was open, which is supposed to allow the kids the freedom to talk about whatever they feel like, but my guys seem to have a problem with that. When there's a specific theme, they usually look for a way to make it fit their interests, but when it's completely up to them, they have no ideas. In the end they decided to make a movie for their friends using their Littlest Pet Shops and a batch of borax slime. It turned out to be more of an in joke between the two of them than anything else, but they had a ball making it.
Theme days are always fun because it's a chance for the kids to play together as a group, and for the moms to catch up/bitch/compare notes.
We (the moms) ended up talking about how it seems like a lot of homeschooling mothers try to create this image of non-stop domestic bliss, never admitting to the frustrations and outright madness that sometimes ensues. It occurred to me today that this is probably partly because by choosing to homeschool, we're doing something that many people don't understand and are eager to find fault with, which makes it hard to admit that sometimes it's not all fun and games and academic brilliance. If someone asks in that oh-so-interested way "how's the homeschooling going?", it can be humiliating to confess that you haven't been out of your pajamas in days, and that the kids can't be within 10 feet of each other without one making the other one cry (not that that ever happens at our house, of course). That's when it's great to get together with other women who are in the same homeschooling boat to vent your frustrations and restore your sanity.
So in the name of solidarity, I'm here to tell you that in between acting out our favorite Shakespeare plays and studying the various dialects of the Yanomamo people (what, you think I'm making this stuff up?), we have our fair share of crying jags and uncontrollable hissy fits (and sometimes the kids have bad days, too). : D


Tara said...

Thanks for posting what I have been thinking for awhile. I am glad we chose to homeschool Owen, and our lives are infinitely better for the decision.. however-
he is six, with a mind of his own and some days are NOT spent in educational bliss!!
Of course, with no siblings to torment, Owen just picks on me and the cat! :) Oh well.

Chelee said...

WOO HOO!! I find that unschoolers tend to be the most honest about the ups and the downs that some of our school at home counterparts.

One of my favorite criticisms has got to be, "Don't you just get sick of them being around all day and all night? You never get a brake." I don't think I've ever felt this way or maybe I've just been doing it so long that I'm used to them. Yeah, there are times where I'd like to lock them in separate rooms until they can play nice but I can't imagine NOT having them with me all the time.

Debbie said...

Inspiring post. Thank-you. I agree with Chelee. I can't imagine my kids being gone all day at school.

Heather said...

~~we have our fair share of crying jags and uncontrollable hissy fits (and sometimes the kids have bad days, too).~~

That's too funny!! And the TRUTH!
I like reading your blog...I think it is important to share the good, the bad & the ugly days...we can all learn from each other!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for all of your nice comments. I have had people make the same "How can you be with them all day?" comments, and I don't get it either. I like these little people and I'm more myself with them than I am with anybody else (for better or worse). Maybe that's what scares people.

Shawna said...

I am glad I found this considering I just started my own homeschooling blog after blogging in general for awhile now. I have learned a lot about HSing from the blogs, but what you post is true: I hear and see all the good.

I will try to include the real pictures and stories when I blog about our HSing efforts. Of course it will be mainly the fun and inspiring stuff, but I definately want to include the bad and ugly so that it is real for people looking into HSing who may stumble upon my blog.

Great post!

And honestly--I wonder how I am going to do around my child ALL day LOL I have always valued my quiet and alone time--since a child--but I am sure we will work it out, as he will need it as much as :-)