Last week we closed on six weeks of schooling at home. It has gone well. Better, in fact, that I expected. After all, there have been moments when I've thought,
"Oh my goodness, I have a fearless toddler, a three year demanding of my constant affection, and I'm supposed to educate my kindergartener while managing the children, meals and home? And then, to top it all off, I'm pregnant, too? And Mallory, let's remember how you are when you're pregnant? Not really the big ball of motivation that you usually are. A big ball, maybe, but a rather haggard one."
Still, it somehow works. We're rather rigorous, too. Even so, we tend to wind things down after lunch time, the toddler's heavy diapers don't get neglected, and the preschooler even has a special time for stories. I don't know how it all works, but we've been given the grace to get by.
There is no point, however, in me trying to paint a picture without challenges, because we have challenges daily, almost hourly. I get frustrated, lack patience, and sometimes want an extra set of able hands and eyes to help our days run more smoothly. Sometimes I feel like if I don't get out right this minute I might scream. I love my life, I've been given great blessings, but I function a lot better telling myself that every mother of young ones is one glass tipped over shy of losing it.
Last week was a mix of challenges. Luke fell sick on Sunday. He was so sick, in fact, that he spent the entire day sleeping in our bed with a fever. While his fever broke that night, he was weak and slower functioning for the rest of the week. Everything I had set to accomplish for the week just was not happening. I tried to get him focused enough for one math or reading lesson, or even coloring a story from the Bible. But nothing worked, and for the better part of the week I was snippy and anxious, with my well-laid plans being a muddled mess of pen in my notebook.
Still, even if lessons for the last week were pushed back, I learned a valuable lesson: When it's not working, it's not working. Why fight and push to get something accomplished when the results come with tears or a bad attitude? How much more you can get accomplished when a kid is well-rested, hydrated, and feeling back to himself, so why fight getting one extra lesson done?
Isn't this a huge reason to homeschool? To accelerate when it's appropriate, and then to back off when needed? So, why am I pushing my son, who is in good academic shape anyway, to keep learning, when he really just needed a full week to veg on the couch? What's the point in crossing lesson 22 off my list, when I know in my heart that it was done half-heartily and not comprehended. Am I doing my kids any favors by rushing through something just to get it done? Even if they don't understand it because they've been sick?
Sure enough, this Monday came with great efficiency. After a week of recuperation and weekend full of play time, my kindergartner was up for the challenges I had in store. Expectations were met, we were done early, and I even checked off every last thing on our agenda. We're back in action, feeling good, and back on the right track.