There are some days as a new homeschool mum that you question whether what you’re doing the right thing. Then there are days like this, when you know it was the right thing to do.
We usually start our days at 6am when all three kids climb into our bed. We stay there praying, hugging and playing until about 8am. It’s a great way to start the day on cold mornings.
Mr. 5 then decides to start his worksheets before breakfast. God colouring, Bible verse memorisation, writing, maths and times tables done before breakfast. He sits there for an hour on his own. (Did you need any help darling? No? Okay…) After breakfast he sits on my lap and we cuddle, reading 65 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths.
We then eventually get out of our pyjamas and dress to go to a homeschool coop (a group of families who homeschool and get together so their children can socialise). We brought a soccer ball and saw all the boys (including Mr. 5) play soccer. They snack on fruit, fruit and more fruit. (How do three kids eat an entire cantelope, bunch of grapes, two punnet of strawberries, a whole homemade apple pie and 3 bananas!)
Afterwards the coop, we go to a large football field and run around, testing to see how fast we can run. Mr. 5 can get across the diameter of the field in 32 seconds. Personal best. Miss 3, 84 seconds. She was being a fairy princess who apparently do not run. They fly.
We then come home and read history. This week, it’s Ancient Egyptian history. Mr. 5 and daddy read about Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. Delving deeper, Mr. 5 wants to know all about the Egyptians. So that’s where we’re at. Today it was about the Nile, Upper and Lower Egyptians and how they became one. He wants to write hieroglyphics. Mummy has to learn how to spell hieroglyphics (did I get it right?).
We then water the plants, which turns into a huge water fight where all the children take off their clothes. Mr.5 teaches Mr. nearly 2 to pee on the lemon tree. They play in the mud, they dunk Miss 3’s dolls into mud, find millipedes (a family of them, eek!), and pick flowers for mummy (aww).
After the bath they desperately needed, Mr. 5 practices the piano for 15 mins and learns a new song. Achievement. Then the kids watch daddy cook dinner.
As bed time approaches, we skip reading time here as the kids are literally falling asleep at the dinner table. They go to bed at 6:30pm, and we hold Mr. 5 and Miss 3 in their beds until they fall asleep. These times are by far, the best part of my day; seeing my older children drifting off to sleep, knowing that they are loved and feel safe in the comfort of our arms.
More important than any Academic achievement or checklist, is that our children feel grounded, connected to each other, their families, but also to their community. Mr. 5 has sometimes been afraid to approach new people. Today, I saw him run up to new friends, and initiate a soccer game. It it still strange to see the transition from when he was shy, to who he is now.
I am so very proud of our children. No matter what, I always am.
And why do I write about these days? (Get ready for the rant that has no full stops)
Because I need to read them when I have a day like this. When the day doesn’t start with hugs but tantrums and bad dreams, when Mr. 5 wants to do the work but feels like he might fail so doesn’t want to try, when Miss 3 is being a three-ager, when Mr. nearly 2 wants to be held all day so you can’t do basic things, mess and food is everywhere and the house is trashed, and dinner is not even thought of until the Mr. 1 and Miss 3 are asleep on the floor at 5pm… these homeschool days when nothing is achieved, they are a reality. They do happen. It isn’t always perfect. These are the days when you think, if I had sent Mr. 5 to school, he would at least have been taught something. These are the days when Mr. 5 helps you with housework, helps you clean Mr. 1’s nappy or the excrement on the floor (he is such a good boy), runs around finding tissues for you, and you realise that you haven’t read him anything, the days when you drive a lot, completing errands, and the guilt sets in. And it sets in so deep that sometimes, you can’t sleep. This is when the negativity of some people’s words about “You need to send him to school” cuts so deep, and hurts so much. Because you start to doubt if you can do this at all. Can you really give them your absolute best.
But you wake, to the loving hugs of a lovely little boy, who constantly whispers into your ear as you wake, “I love you mummy… all I want is you.” And you wake and realise that all your children are with you, holding you (one on top of you), just loving you…
And you realise what’s more important than education, more important than systems and what the world has to offer.
It’s them. And you would do anything for them. Because no one loves them more than you do. And this is why someone’s decision to homeschool, or not to homeschool, to send to public school or sacrifice every dollar for private school… should not be judged. We all love our children. We all have our reasons. But one thing is for sure. We love them more than anything else in this world.