Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thinking more about homeschooling & family

I've mentioned before that I don't spend all that much time thinking about homeschooling. For us it is a fact of life--14 years of life--and after that long we just do. Not a lot of thinking required.

But my friend Susan posted something that got me thinking. Re-entry.

Our homeschooling has always been a fairly solitary endeavor. We haven't been big joiners. The kids haven't taken a bunch of classes or been invovled in many activities. At first this was because there were no other homeschoolers nearby. Later, it was due to the fact that nearby homeschoolers were fundamentalists who tended to find us questionable. Over time we came to enjoy the freedom of our lifestyle so much that a group, co-op, or other organized activity would have just been an unwelcome interruption.

The kids were each others' best friends. Most of our friends were remote. Life was pretty smooth.

That has all changed over the past few years. The introduction of outside classes, the subtraction of siblings off to college and work, and many more social opportunities for all of us have changed the pattern of our days. This year is the worst. Most late afternoons/early evenings we are all making re-entry. And we are all cranky. My kids fight more now than they ever did when they were younger. They aren't as patient with each other. It doesn't help that we're all coming home tired and hungry to a house that is messier than it has ever been. Ever.

What is hard is to know what the answer is. The classes the boys are taking are beneficial. They enjoy the abundant opportunities to see their friends. I am definitely NOT getting too much friend time. I hardly see mine since our schedule is so packed and my kids are older than most of theirs. I need to work. And until Patrick can afford car insurance I need to drive him to class. I know I can't have those lovely bygone days back when all I had to do was cook, clean, and hang out with my kids, but I wish I could figure out how to make the way things are now more pleasant.

It almost feels like we have lost most of what we have always loved about homeschooling. The HOME part. I need to think about that.

8 comments:

Jenn said...

Well, sorry it's chaos right now. Thank-you for the post though. It reinforces my strong belief that we don't need to be "doing" activities all the time. :) Now to figure out how to keep that up!

Elephantschild said...

Sometimes I bemoan the fact that we don't or can't "do more."

Thanks for your post; it's a good help to me in appreciating days like today, when breakfast was eaten on a picnic blanket in the fallen leaves, and the dress-up clothes are spread so thickly in my office that I can't push back my rolling chair.

Jane said...

I almost always felt guilty that we weren't doing more. The kids played soccer off and on and Bethany was in a choir most of the time. That was it.

But the kids were content. They enjoyed turning the whole family room into a tent, frequent trips to the forest preserve, pb&j's on a blanket in the backyard, and lots and lots of reading, pretending, etc.

Bethany said...

Hey, I want to do a tent again....

Kim said...

As my kids get older we find ourselves facing similar problems. Lorna is gone almost more than she's home and it has definitely made for some crankier nights. I do notice that the more we are away from home the less that gets done here and the more I feel stressed about what still needs to be accomplished. But the activities have certainly made us all happier about where we live. We are more settled as we have become involved with the community around us. For us I think it's about balance, we need to balance being away with being home. At this point I think I've found our limit, dropping a few things so that we are no longer overwhelmed as a family. It's difficult to say "no" but we have all benefited from it.

GreenJello said...

I think that's a normal progression-- kids become more independent, want to get out more... home becomes more of a stopping point on the way to Somewhere Else.

Karin said...
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Karin said...

For us, cooping was a means of survival as neither of the families involved were getting much of anything done. Co-oping has actually made me make more of the days I am home but the house does suffer as you said. When I have time with friends it is usually after kids are in bed and of course that can leave me cranky. I will have to think on the 'kids being more cranky' thing you mentioned. Yes. To a certain extent that is true but I can sense myself being more cranky too if I can not find any down time, quiet in my home time, to just have fun. Fun? Love you Jane. Hope I can see you sometime!