3.09.2009

SUPERMOM SERIES: The Homeschooling Mom

This is Edie and her beautiful family. You can find her blog HERE. Edie is an amazing woman, and has recently become a Homeshooling mom. Quite the undertaking! I am in love with her classroom. It *almost* makes me want to be a homeschooler, as well. (I used to play school every day when I was younger...part of me longs to be a teacher. I just don't think I have the discipline to do it justice.) She really is an inspiration!
*****
"Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men"


I am a newbie homeschooler. I have four children, two of which are attending the local public highschool and are doing very well as I document here and here. My oldest graduates this year (in 83 days to be exact) so I'm in general quick to tears and completely unable to remember my middle name most days. At the end of the last school year, my 8 year old begged me to homeschool her. And since I had recently quit my profession as a family practice physician and was feeling a little lost in a sea of purposelessness, and because I love books and learning and had secretly always wanted to homeschool, I agreed to shoulder the responsibility of my children's education. It seemed a more meaningful alternative than offering free pap smears out of the back of my SUV, which would have at least fulfill my need to participate in serving humanity.

It was a whirlwind of a summer. I read every book on classical education I could find and scoured countless blogs of real life stories of homeschoolers in every attempt to make sure I would not be caught off guard.....and then set out to transform my garage into a schoolroom(shown above). We settled on a curriculum called The Well-Trained Mind with a heavy emphasis in history, great books, and memorization. The first month I printed a computerized schedule that catalogued every 15 minute increment of every day. My goals were lofty and my need to check things off the list strangled out the geniune love that I have for my children and for learning. In violent reaction to my self-imposed web of stuffy structure, I made all manner of resolutions, and even one pinky swear, never to interrupt pure children's play again. I kept that vow until we got behind in math. And then I announced, in no uncertain terms, to my pupils that, "All pinky swears are null and void until you can count by 25's to 400. And back. Mmmkay? Step away from the Legos.

My maiden voyage into the tempestuous waters of homeschooling has been a bit akin to when Odysseus left Troy after rescuing Helen. Poseidon, the raging greek god of the sea, must have had it in for me. These waters seemed to toss me about with little regard for the fact that I had never had proper lessons in sailing or fishing and would prefer to decorate the boat to actually navigating it. And that is what landed me in my bathroom sobbing uncontrollably for two hours, which I painstakingly detail in this post. But as the scriptures claim that God's mercies are new every morning and as March ushers in spring , I find that I finally seem to have found my 'sea-legs'. And as all veteran homeschoolers that I know have assured me, any semblance of 'staying afloat' the first year is a success. All that belaboring aside, homeschooling my children has been one of the greatest joys of mothering. I know them more intimately and have been able to gently shepherd their hearts.

The frantic pace of life seems to have slowed down a bit.

There's time for holding baby dolls and making great food.
There's time for seed gardens and digging in dirt.

......there's time for sewing skirts (that are clearly too short and require leggings) and for painting laundry room cabinets.

And since we've been entrenched in studying the ancient Greeks, there's time to stage battles between Greece and Persia. And even time to spray paint the soldiers.


We sometimes take our books outside and do our math as we watch daffodils poke through the ground.

We commit more to memory than I ever dreamed was possible for young children. We've memorized eleven poems, thirty verses of scripture, the catechism of the ten commandments, and a long history and bible catechism that covers from Genesis to the time of the Greeks.

My girls have developed a love for reading and have read many great books this year such as Popper's Penguins, Babe, Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and the Magic Treehouse books, just to name a few. They've listened to lots of books on tape and have enjoyed stories such as Little Women, The Railway Children, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Tale of Desperaux, among others.

We recently made Bucephalus (the horse of Alexander the Great) and then rode around the house all afternoon 'on horseback'. We listen to classical music and sometimes stay in our jammies until 10. Or 11. We ride bikes, memorize latin, look for birds, and watch dance tutorials on YouTube. We sing and chant grammar jingles and read stories that take us to foreign lands.

We have enough organization to keep us honest.....

and enough bubble gum to keep us smiling.


There are days when I feel completely overwhelmed and inadequate. There are days when I'm not sure that I am the best teacher for my children. There are days when I'm drowning in books and dirty laundry and whining. But this is my vocation. This is where God has placed me, the job He has given me to do. I purpose to be thankful for today, for these children, for this chance to teach them, to shepherd their hearts and fill their minds with truth and wisdom. Maybe this is what Christ had in mind when He called us to be fishers of men.

I leave you with a quote from a book I'm reading aloud to them called Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. It has some of the most beautifully constructed sentences that I believe I've ever read. I guess I wish for my girls days like those Rose, the protagonist of the story, enjoyed.

"Rose leaned where she was, and fell to thinking how many good times she had had lately, for the gardening had prospered finely, and she was learning to swim and row, and there were drives and walks, and quiet hours of reading and talking......she could work and play all day, sleep sweetly at night, and enjoy life with the zest of a healthy, happy child."

Perhaps the greatest benefit is that homeschooling seems to foster lifelong learning for us all. They see me reading and learning and memorizing right along with them. We learn and love and live....together.

*****

P.S.—I made a guest appearance HERE today, over at the Nelson Newsletter.

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Emily Ruth said...

So cool. I plan to Homeschool as well and enjoyed getting a peek into the day-to-day: ) I love hearing about intelligent, educated women who choose the path less traveled. Way to go Edie--I'm a fan!

stephanie said...

i loved hearing edie's take on homeschooling. it almost made me want to keep mabel home from school tomorrow and teach her latin! i don't think i could ever do it, but i admire edie for her choice. it sounds like it is really working for her girls.

Brenda said...

Typically I'm not a fan of homeschooling. It takes very dedicated children and parents. But it looks like she's found a very succesful way to do it and it appears to be working. Good for her! :)

miss bliss said...

I want that laundry sign! HA!

Shorty said...

What a great story to share! I'm envious...I don't know that I would be successful being a homeschooling mother. It's great to know there are moms out there, tho, that are making that kind of impact in their family's life. More than impressive!

Jessica said...

I too am a newbie homeschool mom, who was blessed to meet Edie back in the summer. What a fun, creative and smart woman she is and I'm so lucky to have her to lean on for advice and inspiration. She's the bomb! Edie, love that your h.s. room is in your garage...who knew? With great weather, you can just open the doors and feel like you're outside! Love it. Great post, it gave me more needed encouragement.

mimi said...

I came over from Edie's blog....LOVED this post. As a homeschooler, I have gleaned much from Edie(without her even knowing it,just by reading her blog-LOL).I find Edie to be quite the hip homeschooler-breaking all the old molds.
I never realized that her homeschool room was in her garage--it's gorgeous.

kathy said...

Love these pictures! Especially love the one of your daughter holding the baby doll while cooking - precious. We are a home educating family as well and I love, love, love what we do. We balance all subjects to work with our boys along with our life. We love to camp in these beautiful mountains so we have worked our science and history around that during those times of the year. We have a digital microscope we take with us which comes with its own backpack so we can look at things while hiking along with taking it back to the camper and hooking it up to my laptop for more research.
I'll check out the links shared - so glad I found your blog!

KatieJ said...

That sounds so great! I don't have that much confidence in myself to do it (in fact I know I couldn't do it now) but it sounds so lovely, I wish I could!

Alex and Jill said...

I adore Edie. I read her blog daily. My husband and I do not have children yet (we're working on it :) but have said that we would like to homeschool our children when the time comes. I totally agree with what Edie said...it's our job as parents to shepherd our children's hearts...to disciple them.

Love the guest post...thanks!

do it yourselfer said...

This is my 1st year homeschooling...and I've been stalking Edie for quite some time now! This post calmed my heart! Thanks for sharing Edie! Hugs to you!

gina said...

I too am new (again) to homeschooling this Winter and I was fortunate to have "met" Edie beofre that.

Edie- this post made me fall in love with homeschooling all over again! Even the parts that leave one in a bathroom crying. I love your line "Enough organization to keep us honest and enough bubble gum to keep us smiling". Oh and the spray-painted soldiers- I'd expect nothing less from your family. :)

Kristi said...

I have come over from Edie's blog as well! I love her blog and have thought about homeschooling my children as well. I am hoping that I get more confidence and maybe give it a try next year, you never know!
Ok now, Edie, if your reading this, OPEN your comments back up! Give something else up for lent, pretty please? LOL! I really miss being able to comment and reading them as well. In the meantime, I'll be patiently waiting, LOL!
Kristi