Last week I started homeschooling my son. Originally, my husband and I thought we were going to have to homeschool him until he was old enough to join Job Corps, because public schools are just not working out for him and the IEP process has been a nightmare. But, my husband insisted that if we were going to homeschool him we needed to have a backup option just in case I got overwhelmed.
We knew public school wouldn’t work, so we looked into private and charter schools. I applied to them not expecting much since we haven’t had much luck in the past finding a private or charter school that has a special education program. Well, to our surprise, he was accepted to Roots Charter School and will be going there in the fall of this year.
So, last week I started homeschooling my son to help him get caught up on some subjects he’s gotten behind in. I prepared myself for an all day ordeal with him avoiding his work as much as possible, because that’s what I did when my mom started homeschooling me. But I also expected that when he did sit down to do his work, he would try to get me to give him the answers instead of working for them himself, and I also thought there would be arguing.
None of that happened. The week went great. Yes, he got tired and had to take breaks. Yes, he got confused and frustrated about how I was explaining things to him and I had to find another way to say it, but when he did understand it, he worked at it until the work was done.
Besides being surprised by how well he did, I learned some things about myself as well. First of all, it takes me twice as long get laundry done. I even set a timer to remind me to go down and switch the laundry around, but when it went off, I was in the middle of figuring out how to explain something to my son, and another hour later I remembered that the alarm had gone off.
Besides homeschooling, I’m also planning an Easter event for kids in our church community, writing a book, and teaching at a homeschool co-op twice a week. I discovered that if I try to multi-task when my son needs help with school, I start to forget what I’m doing, in the middle of doing it.
Having my son home all day, also makes it difficult to sneak snacks and junk food. Before, I could go to the store, buy a box of cookies or doughnuts and hide it before he got home. Now, he goes to the store with me, and I know if I buy cookies and doughnuts, I’m going to have to share with him. So I don’t buy those things now.
Of course, that makes it easier for me to eat healthier. My son has food issues as it is, and getting him to try new things and eat healthy is a full time job in itself. Most of his foods reside in the starch category. One day last week, his entire day of food consisted of waffles, toast, more toast (He used an entire stick of butter on eight pieces of toast! So gross.), a grilled cheese sandwich, a bowl of cereal, and a cheese quesadilla. Somehow watching his eating habits, makes a salad look really good. Plus, I want to be a good example to him and I’m hoping the more he sees me eating good-for-you foods, the more he’ll want to try them.
He has consistently gotten his school work done by noon, and I am exhausted by 2:00 p.m. I’ve decided I may have to start drinking two cups of coffee in the morning instead of one, but first I have to figure out how to eat breakfast, shower, and get dressed before 10 a.m. Getting up at 6:30 isn’t working out, and getting out of bed at 6 doesn’t seem to be working out either.
The last thing I learned is that it really is better if I start my day with prayer. I am not fully awake when I wake up, it takes me time. If I have to rush when I first get out of bed, I usually feel tired all day long, but if I can sit, drink my coffee and do nothing, then I have the energy I need to get through the day. So, I get up 45 minutes before my son, make coffee and sit on the couch. Before last week, it was my habit to check my social media pages, the news, and the weather. Now, I’ve realized I need to use that time to pray because once my son is up, he’s up and ready to go full blast. If I don’t get that prayer time in, I won’t get it until he’s done with school, and that does not help me be a patient mom.
We are both still adjusting to this new adventure and I expect that not every day or week will go as smoothly as the last one did. In fact I know it won’t, because as I write this, my son is doing double the amount of school work he normally does in a day because he didn’t want to do it yesterday and had a blow up. After finding out the consequences for his actions was to be grounded (and he wasn’t allowed to sleep all day) and to have all of yesterday’s work added to today’s, I’m hoping he’s learned that trying to get out of doing school is not a good idea.
But I’m hopeful that by the time he starts his new school (He’s going to be in High School!!!) he’ll be better able to listen to when his body needs a break, be better able to work independently, have more self-confidence, and be caught up enough that he’ll feel good about jumping into the next new adventure.
As for me, I’m enjoying this journey of homeschooling, even the bad days, and even though I have lots of other things to do. We are both learning and growing, and I believe it’s going to be a great boost to our relationship that has been rather rocky until this point. And, I imagine I’ll continue learning new things about myself that will make me a better mom, teacher, wife, and person in general, which is never a bad thing.