Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Truth About My Burnout

I've written before about homeschool burnout.  I think it's really educator burnout, as I know a number of teachers who begin to drag mid-year.  But as a homeschooler it's a bit worse.  Not only because the teaching can so easily be pushed to later in the day (and then never occurs), but also because there is no principle looking over my shoulder.  And I am the parent.  This isn't to say that my child isn't learning without formal lessons.  He actually is.  But during this time it's really because of his own innate need to learn.

This happens every year, and we overcome it.  We get back into our curriculum and finish sometime in the Summer.  I have never let my son's education go.  Not really.  It's simply hard to do everything.  Do I have fewer hours in the day than other women?

This year it has been a bit more difficult.  I was darn close to certifiable at the end of my pregnancy with fear and the physical toll it was taking.  For the last 4 weeks I've been adjusting to a new baby in the house.  One that still has trouble nursing due to being hard to latch on and a preference for sucking his tongue.   Also I think there have been some baby blues  egged on by Winter weather, and definitely some fatigue.

I wake up in the morning with a house that won't stay clean, laundry that piles up faster than I can do it, a baby who has not yet fit himself into the household rythm, a preschooler who wants to love the baby, a toddler who's in to everything, and a boy who I'm trying to teach to do his best.  And I'm supposed to teach school on top of that?  Some days I wish that I could just walk him to the door and send him off.

And I still struggle a bit with the decision to homeschool.  While my own school experience was horrible and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, there were great times too.  I wouldn't know my best friend if I hadn't gone to school.  And while Reagan might be missing out on the teasing and bullying, maybe he's missing out on the games, songs, and friendships as well.

Then I think about the friends he does have, and how much fun they have together.  I think about the ability to teach our faith.  I think about how he knows he is part of a family, and that family comes first.  I think about all of the things we can learn about and discuss at home, and how I can discuss it in relation to what we think and believe.  And then I start to get excited about homeschooling.

There are a million choices we make as parents.  From what they will wear, to what they eat for breakfast,  to what TV shows they will watch, to how we handle the million and one crises of the day.  I don't know about other parents, but I question my decisions constantly.  And I look back on my many mistakes with shame and regret.  Still, it is the questioning and the looking back that I hope will make me a better parent in the future, and in sharing the doubts and fears I hope that others will take heart as well.  While my fears tonight focus on where my child receives his education, it doesn't matter whether one homeschools or sends them to private or public schools.  We all wonder and we all do our best.  And we all pray that our children will grow up to be the amazing people that we know they have the potential to be.

Now, to revamp our daily plan....

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