Monday, February 02, 2009

Homeschool Fantasy versus Reality

Even though we are on our tenth year of homeschooling, I still struggle with feeling frustrated when my homeschool fantasy does not match my reality.

Fantasy: My house will be orderly and clean at all time.

Reality: My house is orderly for about 5 seconds once a week after we finish Saturday chores. The rest of the time it is in various stages of the "lived in" look. I am always utterly amazed at how fast a clean surface can be covered or a tidy room can disappear in the blink of an eye. My overall orderliness is improving, but I won't really have a "clean" house until they all move out.

Fantasy: My children will easily complete their homeschool assignments and daily check them of their weekly assignment list.

Reality: Assignment list? Ok, so I don't get the weekly assignment list ready every week. Even when I do, half the time they don't mark of their work after it is completed. Most of the time it looks something like, "Hey, have your done math today?"

Fantasy: My children will only read classic books like Shakespeare and biographies.

Reality: Science fiction, comic books and fan fiction and other fluff and nonsense take up far to much of my children's attention. That is not to say that we don't read good books, but the ratio of fluff to substance leaves a bit to be desired. At least, we don't have the exposure to the dark and depressing junk that some schools use for English Literature these days.

Fantasy: I will give each child me full attention when helping them with their school work.

Reality: I have a 25 lb-2 year old hip attachment that dramatically limits my availability. The only time I'm really attentive is when he is sleeping. The upside to this is that the older girls have become more educationally self reliant and independent workers. However, I still feel a little guilty.

Fantasy: My children will become a virtuoso musician, a math prodigy or develop some other dramatic talent.

Reality: My kids are average smart. They are pretty competent at life skills and should be able to live well as independent adults, be good spouses and become competent mommies and daddies. However, I don't think they are going to win a Pulitzer Prize or find the cure for cancer.

Fantasy: My children will always love homeschooling.

Reality: Most of my children like homeschooling most of the time.

Fantasy: I can homeschool my children and still have time to pursue hobbies, blogging and other interests.

Reality: Hobby? What's a hobby? Blogging? I sometimes don't even read what Henry posts on our blog, let alone anyone else's blog.

Fantasy: My children will be peer independent, yet have great social skills and have a good circle of friends (though I wouldn't call them "popular.")

Reality: My children are so much better off than I was at their age. They have good friends who share our values. While we are still mastering the social graces, I'm pleased at who they are and how they interact with the world.

In the end, it is this type of homeschool reality that keeps me going on the hard days.

I would do more, but my hip attachment is calling.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


ChristineMM said...

Fantastic post Janine.

I would say this about my kid's opinions. They love the HOMESCHOOLING LIFESTYLE but don't always love or even like all their actual HS lessons. They like some of it. They love all their 'outside classes' that they can only do due to the fact that they HS (because they are free during weekdays and I've gone out looking for these unique opportunities).

Thanks for sharing the dose of reality.

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

LOVE this post! This needs to be given to all new homeschoolers!

Fatcat said...

Great post. So true.

Janine Cate said...

Thank you everyone for the kind words.

I have to agree with chrstinemm that my children love the Homeschooling lifestyle, but don't always enjoy the work.

.kp. said...

Why do I feel uncomfortable to say that all of the "fantasies" are happening in our home? Well, not the prodigy one but all the others are. Our girls are 9 and 10 and have been in private school until this year. Homeschooling has been nothing but a joy! We are scheduled, we do have fieldtrips once a week and do take co-op classes outside of the home. I know our experience is not the norm (I hear that a lot at co-op) but it isnt out of the realm of reality either.

Blessings to you! Love the post.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I sent this to my wife. She should really appreciate it. As to "most the kids enjoy homeschooling most the time," some of our kids wouldn't enjoy schooling no matter what form it took.

Dawn said...

Thank you for this! It's one of those posts somene in the homeschooling community needed to write and the rest of us need to print out, frame and stick on a wall.

I know many of us spend too much time trying to get to perfect.

Sherry said...

Yep, so very true! And I think my youngest has been more work than the others combined! Ah, well, ever onward...

Diane said...

I am looking into homeschooling for my 2 children even though I need to work full-time. This post was helpful. I am starting to understand that homeschooling does not have to "look" a certain way and that I can probably make it work, somehow!

Home School Dad said...

Way to cut through the fantasy to the reality. Too many of us home school parents think we have to conform to this perfect home school model that exists only in our mind.

Anonymous said...

You have hit the nail on the head with this one! The fantasy can really blindside some people into believing they are doing something (or everything) wrong! Thanks for the reminder. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, so very true. I would add that in my fantasy home school, we'd be doing all kinds of hands on projects, crafts, art etc. I'm just pleased when we get through the core. Thanks for the reality check!!

E in AZ

DocuMaker said...

LOL -- funny post. I made a homeschool myth buster myself. I homeschool 3 pre-teens for God's sake. Still, I wouldn't trade this profession for anything else in the world! And I bet you wouldn't either... ;-)

ChristineMM said...

I kept thinking about this and I did a blog post today and I linked back to his post, here is my post--

I don't want to come off sounding pessimistic. For years when my kids were younger life was nothing but joy. However especially with a sixth grader who I now know has one and possibly two learning disabilities the issue has shifted from yes, enjoying learning but no, not always loving the effort it takes to learn or do certain work. When the choice is open for TV or video games or perfecting a writing composition piece which do you think the boy will pick? That is why I limit TV viewing and video game playing. And when an LD is present learning certain things or through certain ways is not always effortless. Some personality types prefer the path of less resistance. My task is to guide my child toward developing the good work ethic character trait, and persistence, all while accomplishing certain educational goals.

Loved reading everyone's comments.

Bob Durtschi said...

>>My house is orderly for about 5 seconds once a week after we finish Saturday chores. The rest of the time it is in various stages of the "lived in" look.

As my wife can tell you, the two oldest ones stay. It's not Quite as lived in looking as when the whole crew is there...

Unknown said...

Great post! I found myself nodding in agreement with everything.

I know that when I see the 'perfect' homeschooling articles I feel down. But then I realize that this is just one person. There are many more homeschoolers who never have a perfect day. That the most important thing is the be flexible.

Thanks for the great post!