If there’s one thing I’ve learned about homeschooling, it’s that it’s never what we expect it’s going to be. Sometimes those expectations can get us into trouble, but other times they force us to adjust and make us stronger parents and teachers to our children.
What if you knew then what you know now?
Would you still make the decision to homeschool?
Please give a warm welcome to Selena from Look! We’re Learning!
I always believed that I wanted to homeschool my kids, if I had any. I was homeschooled from middle school through high school and I got the chance to graduate early and begin college at 16. I love to read and study, so I had no trouble completing my assignments and developing an interest in what I learned.
Naturally, when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first, we were all for homeschooling. But the scenario I envisioned didn’t quite live up to the reality I got.
My Homeschooling Fantasy
Here’s what I was expecting: A line of well-dressed, quiet, and polite children who gather their books and pencils and walk to the table in an orderly fashion for their lessons each morning.
These children would sit down and open their books simultaneously, smiling and looking attentively at me as I proceeded to regale them with the wonders of mathematics, language, and science. At the end of the school day, these children would greet my husband at the door, chattering excitedly about the marvelous things they had just learned.
My Homeschooling Reality
Here’s what I got instead: Four extremely active kids, including two with ADHD and sensory processing disorder, one with ADD, and a toddler. They line up when I ask them to, but that lasts for about three seconds before someone says, “Hey, you’re cutting in front of me!”
While our oldest child is the most interested in learning, she has the shortest attention span of them all. She’s easily distracted by just about anything and getting her to actually put forth mental effort is a daily struggle.
Our oldest boy devolves into screaming fits on an almost daily basis, and our youngest boy seeks out sensory input in the most destructive ways possible – intentionally crashing into the floor, crumbling his food at the table, and shouting at the top of his lungs. During the day, our toddler runs through the house, confiscating dry-erase markers to stain her clothes and ripping pages out of storybooks.
If I had known that homeschooling would be like this, I probably would not have done it.
Adapting to Our Family’s Reality
Now, before anyone says, “You shouldn’t have had such an unrealistic view of parenthood!” – I have to say that I have seen children that somewhat resemble the model I dreamed of. I’ve seen kids who sit still for an entire school lesson, complete their work without eating their hair, and refrain from expressions of rage because of lack of attention.
However, these children do not live in my house. And, apparently, these are not the children I give birth to, which means my view of myself may not be as accurate as I thought either. Eventually, I realized that, unless I wanted to be miserable and make my kids miserable, I had to stop hoping my children would turn into people they are not.
Why I Won’t Quit Homeschooling
Some people have suggested that I give up on homeschooling and put our children in public school. Believe me, I’ve considered it. Despite our daily struggles, though, I won’t quit homeschooling. Here’s why:
- No teacher is going to be able to provide the kind of one-on-one help that each of my kids needs.
- My kids will face an endless amount of distractions in class, which will probably make it even harder for them to accomplish their work.
- All four children are developing an unbreakable family bond as they work out disputes, cooperate on projects, and share their daily lives with each other.
But, the biggest reason that I won’t quit homeschooling is: Maintaining our commitment to homeschooling is making me a better mom. I have no choice but to become more patient, more understanding, and more resilient. These are the exact qualities that the kids and I need to learn. By sticking it out, we’re all making those strides at the same time.
Little by little, I’ve seen things improve. Despite her attention and sensory issues, our oldest daughter is reading two grade levels ahead. Both of our boys began reading at age four and both are ahead of their grade levels in math and reading. Even our toddler already knows how to express herself in English and sign language.
If I had known homeschooling would be like this, I definitely wouldn’t have done it. But I’m glad I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have had the chance to develop into the person I am becoming today.
Selena Robinson is a homeschooling graduate, a former tax accountant, and a homeschooling mother to four super special kids. She and her husband, Jay, are committed to homeschooling their active ADHD/ADD learners, come what may! Selena shares her family’s experiences each week at Look! We’re Learning! You can keep up with Look! We’re Learning! by following Selena on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus, and Instagram.
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