Occasionally, someone who is considering homeschooling will ask me if they could come over one day and just observe how I do it. Bahaha..... if only you knew how funny that is. That question does not flatter me at all, actually it frightens me. Frightens me for two reasons; one, I'm afraid they are serious (and persistent) and will call me like a million times until I run out of excuses why they can't come again today. Second, it frightens me to think that somehow I look like some kind of June Cleaver who runs her house by a tight schedule keeping it all together. I will admit a schedule is great and I have lots of advice for raising a large family but if I could figure out how to implement a lot of my advice, I'd be much better off. We try but it just doesn't always happen.
I so often hear moms say to me, "I would love to homeschool but I just couldn't do it". Now granted some of those mommas have absolutely no desire to homeschool, they just don't want to make me look like some sort of fruit loop so they act like they totally relate to me. Other times, they are just being honest. There is a lot of concerns that go along with making the decision to homeschool. It is a scary decision but when you know it's the Lord's direction.... there is nothing to fear.
So, here's my plan. Over the next few weeks (or months) I plan to share some pictures and tidbits of how we "roll" around this house with 2 adults, 7 kids, 2 outside dogs and 1 prissy house dog. My reason for this is to encourage! To encourage those of you who are on the fence about one of two things. One being, could I handle homeschooling? The other being, could I handle having a bunch of kids? Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought 20 years ago I would be raising 7 biological children and adopting more NOR did I ever dream I'd be homeschooling any of them. However, this is the most amazing life that I could ever imagine. I thank God for this privilege every day. My other reason for doing this is so you mommas don't ask to come over here.... for goodness sake.... I would either have to act like I had it together OR get it together; and neither of those sound fun. at. all.
I think way too often, parents think they can't handle large families because they underestimate themselves and their schedules. I also think most moms who are terrified at the thought of homeschooling, think they aren't nearly organized or disciplined enough to do it. I hope to sabotage both of those theories. Trust me, it won't be hard!
Now, don't get me wrong..... it's no easy task. Like being parents period.... it's a full time job and it requires every ounce of energy that I have and then some. For me it also requires one amazing hubby that goes way beyond the call of duty. However, I think he kind of expected that when he married me. ; ) But more than anything, it requires giving my full existence to God. Depending on HIM for strength and mercy every day. He never ceases to amaze me with HIS goodness. HE's the only reason this ship stays afloat!
Today I will start with how we do kindergarten. The twins are 5 and we try to do "school" 4-5 days a week. It's best if we do it first thing in the morning while the older kids are reading and doing what teachers call "seat work".... (I call it, the work you can do "on your own"). It only takes about 1 hour to do all of the twin's work and then they have time to read or do art. We do not use a classroom. I think that is great if you can make that work for you but here, it just don't. The twins usually do their work at the kitchen counter while other kids work in the dining room. Somethings do require structure and we make that priority but we are also very flexible. At least a day or two a week, this is how 5K looks at our house.
Yes, that is my 4th and 7th graders teaching 5K. They do an amazing job with the twins and it's a win win situation. This sometimes becomes the alternate method for one of many reasons. Either, I'm needed by one or two little boys, or a teenage daughter. Or, I can't walk through the den from the piles of clothes that I must fold. Or, I just simply need more time with Jesus at the moment. Whatever the reason, this works great. The twins love being taught by two of their heros, "Boo" and "Bubba". And guess what, Boo and Bubba are always excited at the offer because it temporarily gets them out of doing their school work. (BTW, if you are wondering, Boo is short for Maggie Boo)
As for housework. It's a nonstop job and EVERYONE must participate. I will talk more about that in a later post but I will leave you with this. When I say everyone..... don't think I'm kidding.