See that title up there? Yeah, well that’s me. 100%. I’ve gone off the deep end. (Obviously I’m using schizophrenic in a hyperbolic way. I know it’s a very serious thing. My apologies if you’re offended.) My mind is in constant turmoil and motion, tumbling endlessly like a furious washing machine as I contemplate what I’m doing to my children. Unfortunately nothing’s getting cleaned in there. It’s still all muddied up. Does that mean the machine’s broken? Am I broken?!
So why am I losing my mind? Let me count the ways. (And by the way it has nothing to do with my children driving me crazy. Yeah, some days I feel like if I hear one more sound, one tiny little noise, I’ll snap and fall into a million pieces. But mostly our days are fine. It’s not that. It’s so much more.)
First of all, there are so many facets to homeschooling that I was slightly aware of, but once you’re in the midst of it, they all come marching one by one in front of your face every ever lovin’ second of the day. Social, spiritual, educational… these are the three pillars that are holding up my crazy right now.
Social—Are they getting enough social time? What if they turn out weird? But what if they go back to school and choose friends that are cray cray? Is that my fault? How can I keep them in a bubble as long as possible? What if it’s too long and Diesel never moves out of our house? There are only two of them. Is that enough variety for them to learn how to deal with different types of people? I wanted to work on our relationship more and bond better, but if I’m constantly frustrated with them because I don’t deal with little people well, how’s that going to work?
Spiritual—Oh man, this is the hardest because it’s the most important. I want them home so I can instill values and character and God’s Word and prayer. I wasn’t doing much of that when they were in school. I just had trouble finding the time, and I was failing miserably in this area. Now that they’re home, I feel better about my input in this area. But then I start to wonder how they’ll ever learn from their mistakes if they aren’t allowed to make them? What if I protect them for so long that they never know how to suffer or reach out to others or live in community or accept people who are different from us with love and grace and compassion? How will they learn those things if they aren’t exposed to them?
Education—OK, so I said spiritual was the hardest, but let’s be honest. Education is really, really important to me. It was battered into my brain from a very early age that getting a “good” education and higher ed degrees were extra important things to pursue. And I get that. I LOVE to learn. It’s one of my top five strengths. Look at my top four strengths and tell me how I could not be going nuts about choosing a curriculum for and then teaching it to my children!
1. Intellection: introspective; appreciate intellectual discussions
2. Input: have a craving to know more; often like to collect and archive all kinds of information
3. Ideation: fascinated by ideas; able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena
4. Learner: have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve; in particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites
Can you see why this particular area is driving me nuts? Learning is passionately vital to me, and I want my kids to have the same passion. I want them to love to read and know about things. I just don’t want to be the one to teach them!!! Am I really the best one to teach them EVERYTHING??? I mean, literally everything! It’s mind boggling. I thought trying to teach high school English, one subject, was harrowing. It doesn’t come close in comparison to the burden I feel every single day.
But then there’s this other super weird side to me. My fifth strength is Adaptability, which means I prefer to “go with the flow.” I tend to be a “now” person who takes things as they come and discovers the future one day at a time. Um, yeah, so there’s this crazy side of me that wants to analyze every last detail of what I’m doing and choose the absolute best path from all the data I’ve collected and come up with the most awesome lesson plans and teach my children every last subject including art and music and a second language, but then once I’ve come up with ALL of this amazing stuff, this fifth strength says chill. Lay back and do NOTHING. Let’s go with the unschooling method. Let’s do Wild and Free and throw the lessons out the window while we run through the field and pick daisies. (I’m actually not against unschooling. I definitely think there’s something to it, but I haven’t done enough research to have a strong opinion about it.)
I don’t want them to take tests if they don’t have to. They seem so arbitrary to me. I see how they can completely devalue the lesson and the learning and the love that should come with those things. But then… they have to take the test!!! What if they want to go to college and they aren’t prepared?! Burden, burden, burden.
People have been so encouraging to me from day one. I’ve heard sermons that have brought me off the cliff. And usually these things stick for me. I can be talked down and stay down. I can lean on those promises so many people have shared with me, but this time. This situation. They’re not sticking. I feel calm for about two seconds, but when Monday morning hits, my mind starts whirling again. It’s just so in your face every second. It’s not like they’re at school all day and come home with ONE incident. There are “incidents” all day long for me to analyze and overanalyze and put into a systematical database while I try to figure out if I’m screwing up my kids AND ME.
If you can believe it, I actually have other things that roll around in my mind and add to the nutso factor besides what I’ve already mentioned. But I think I’ve revealed enough of my inner turmoil for one day. So part two will have to wait. Until then…I’m gonna be fine. Just fine. No, really, I’m fine.
And lest you think I’m only venting with no solutions in sight, which I totally am, I’m just venting, I haven’t missed the wonderful and amazing blessings that have come out of homeschooling these last two months. I’ll share those another time apart from the gunk.