07 February 2013

Tribulations of the Third

After three and a half years, I'm starting to realize that homeschooling is hard work.

Truthfully, it's always been nerve-wracking because I never know if I'm doing enough, teaching enough, creative enough to make it engaging.  I get so tired of hearing my own voice.  Cajolery becomes my native language.  I tell the kids not to whine and do their work, and when I listen to my own voice, I realize I'm the one whining.

I've persisted in doing it because I want my children to have the best in education.  I want them to learn ALL the good things, and there is so much!  I don't want them taught only what will be on the next test, but what interests them.  I also enjoy spending time with them and hearing the views on things and their witty rejoinders when they don't mean to be witty.  I love when they ask me to read to them.  My favorite of all favorites is when we're all snuggled up in a heap on the couch and they're listening to me fake a British accent reading "Harry Potter", or chronicling the trials of Queen Elizabeth from their history text.

My two older children have been so easy to teach because they are eager to learn.  They have interests that we can find in the library and read books about.  They want me to teach them and ask questions.  That's not true everyday, certainly, but by and large it is.

My youngest seems to have been born to challenge me in this area of my life.  He has no interests beyond making people laugh and playing video games.  He wants to know how to read, but he doesn't want to learn how to do it.  Even when I tell him something and then ask him a question about it, he doesn't want to answer correctly.  Every lesson is a trial to the both of us.

I have been on the verge of tearing my hair out all year.  I have begged and begged to put him into school, only to wonder if that's really what would be best.

I still wonder.

And I still bully myself into teaching him with as much of a smile as I can muster.

I give very short lessons.

But yesterday, I sat down to read one of his new favorites from the library (it's a favorite because he thinks it's funny), and he read several pages all by himself.  I am persistently refusing to acknowledge that he memorized it.  It also doesn't matter in the slightest that the pages only have a few words on them.  He read something without cajolery, without bribes or threats, and he even seemed happy about it.

Maybe, just maybe he was listening after all.


Becca said...

Ah, bless you, but homeschooling IS hard. My kids are back in school this year, mostly so we can tackle some special needs and learning disabilities in my oldest. And it is hard. I miss them. I look at how well they are doing in school ("thriving" would be the word) and I feel like I failed at homeschool. But we will definitely try again sometime. Because sometimes what's best for one child, is not best for another. And what is best one year, is not best the next. I am so impressed by you. Loves.

Mandi said...

Thank you, Becca. And bless you.

Ashley said...

Oh Mandi, I totally relate to this post as well. I have been struggling so much this year With the kids and yet we keep pressing on so that we can avoid public school and all that comes with it. I want so much more than PS for my kids and yet some days it just seems like its not worth it. SO HARD!