Homeschooling Through Life’s Changes
Our family life looks a lot different now than it did five years ago. Five years ago we had three children, ages five, three, and two. I was all about ABC games and field trips to the fire station and lots and lots of read alouds. Our oldest daughter basically taught herself to read. That 100 EZ lessons book? I think we got to lesson sixteen before she was reading fluently. Homeschooling was a breeze. Nap time was nearly three hours long, even for the oldest and all the kids were in bed by seven. Those were the days.
Five years later, and we have added another biological child who has a speech disability resulting from being extremely premature. He is an absolute miracle. And what an opportunity we have had to give glory to God for all things, good and bad. So when he is having his fifty-third tantrum of the day because he is just so incredibly frustrated, I have to force myself to remember that he was created by God for a reason. And that reason may not having anything to do with making my life easy.
Our fifth little guy joined our family through adoption. He came home to us at age seven months after a very difficult start to life. He was loved mightily by a wonderful foster family. We were told to expect various difficulties because of the choices of his birth mother.
Thus far, we aren’t having any of those expected difficulties, but he is super, super busy!!
He just turned two, and he can climb faster than any child I have ever seen. He has so much energy! His dimples are so charming! And he has so much energy! So! Much! Energy! See the pattern? We spend lots of time with him on the trampoline, on the exercise ball, running outside, up and down the slide. Anything to wear him out before bedtime. He has the attention span of a gnat, so getting him to sit still while we read stories is pretty much impossible.
Our homeschool life is very different now than it was five years ago. Our big kids do a lot of school independently. I use many more audio books, which we listen to in the car or while we’re doing chores. We haven’t been to the fire station once in five years! I don’t think I’ve planned one ABC or counting game with my littles.
Does this mean I’ve failed as a homeschool parent? No. I believe it makes me a realistic homeschool parent.
We all have seasons in our family’s life. Some seasons are such that we can do lots of field trips and outside lessons. Some seasons, like when our fourth child was in the hospital for three months, we just hunker down and survive. The only math lessons that get done are adding up the miles to and from the hospital, and all other subjects are learned from independent reading.
Our current season of life means that we are focusing on lots of activity with our littlest guys. All those wonderful preschool activity bags I used with my oldest three? Uh, mmm, they are collecting dust on the top of the school room bookshelf. We don’t spend our days snuggling on the couch reading classic picture books, but we sure can dance to our favorite Go Fish music! And, somehow, they are still learning the foundational things. My three year old walks around singing the ABC song, but I have no idea where he learned it!
If you are a parent that is struggling because you think you aren’t doing enough with your young children, relax. You don’t need a fancy, expensive curriculum. You don’t have to sit with them at a desk for two hours a day. Children learn in so many ways. Find what works for your child and do it. With freedom. (Click to tweet!)
What season of homeschooling are you in right now? Add to the conversation in the comments below!
Michele White is the wife of one, mother of five, daughter of the King (God, not Elvis). Living a substantial part of their family’s life overseas has made them a little quirky. She spells things differently. Her husband has an accent. Her kids have multiple passports. She is a lover of cookbooks, passionate about orphans, and has a serious crush on school supplies. Michele enthusiastically shares with others how hospitality can be a natural part of family life, even if it’s just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich served on a paper plate with a smile. Michele blogs about homeschool life with multiple ages at www.preschoolersandpeace.com and can be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/preschoolersandpeace or Twitter: @micheleonthego