Well, today was our second day of homeschooling.
So far, we're doing OK.
Yesterday was a bit hectic -- the "newness" of it all, the jitters some felt when they realized they were a bit rusty on math, the disorganization I felt (even though I had tried to plan everything out beforehand), coupled with the constant demands of a certain little 20-month old who was into EVERYTHING -- but all in all it went as well as I expected.
Yesterday took 5 hours (gasp!). Bear in mind, however, that that included a 45-minute lunch break, lots of "explanation time," and many diaper changes and requests for drinks (again, from a certain 20-month old).
TODAY was much better.
The jitters were gone, the confidence returned, and everything took a much more manageable 3 hours to complete. Hallelujah!
I still feel like I'm being tossed back and forth like a ping-pong ball, but after polling several other friends, I have to conclude that this is simply the nature of the beast. Every year I fool myself into thinking that somehow I'm doing this wrong... that if I could only be a bit more organized, it won't feel quite so chaotic.
Who am I kidding????
I'm teaching 5 kids, 5 different levels of just about everything, AND dealing with Marie, who wants to be included in some preschool-y sort of way, and Grace, who insists on making everyone's time EXTREMELY difficult. (don't worry. I love her, and I know this is just a phase, but good grief! She is quite the challenging little one). There is NO WAY it could possibly be this idyllic "Miss-Beadle-one-room-schoolhouse" they showed on Little House on the Prairie. I really need to just let that dream die.
Still, as chaotic as it is, I have learned several tricks that will stack the odds in my favor of surviving the day.
1. Make breakfast the night before. I'm not a morning person, and I need to accept that.
2. Start by 9:00 am, and have the kids READY. That's our start-up time, not our "let's think about getting to the table after we get a drink and blah blah blah." Beds made, clothes on, hair and teeth brushed. I really don't think that's too much to ask.
3. I'm not sure why I keep forgetting this, but it goes so much better if, after I get all of our "together stuff" done, I GET THE YOUNGER ONES FINISHED FIRST. If I can do that, they can take the little imp (oops. I'm mean sweet little Grace) and play with her. She's happy, they are happy, and the rest of us are happy, too.
4. Take a break. After math is a perfect time to get a snack, get some tea, etc. We're all tired after math, so the break is much needed.
5. In the greatest of all "duh" moments, I have finally realized (after what... 5 years of doing this?) that I can BUY MORE THAN ONE BOOK. My poor kids have been sharing books all these years, which is fine for some subjects, but beyond frustrating in others. If I've assigned some reading for science, for example, my kids were having to take turns with the book, so some were twiddling their thumbs, or having to come back hours later (when their turn came up) and dealing with it when it was late afternoon, they were tired, and everyone else was outside playing. It just wasn't working out for us AT ALL. My dh, the ever-loving and supporting guy he is, looked at me with shock when I told him the problem and said, "why haven't we bought more than one book for them?" When I told him I was trying to save money he said, "Honey, teaching them is the most important thing we spend money on. Get them some more books!"
A couple of quick searches today yielded plenty of extra copies for various books for a very limited amount of money. God provides!
So hallelujah -- so far, so good!