Lessons Learned: Home-school Day 1

I'm a planner at heart, so we made our steps towards home-school a full 2 weeks before it was to begin. We had our son finish out the quarter, have a big good-bye party with his class, and then enjoy his Spring Break. It was a decision that I think we were right on.

Today, Spring Break sadly over, his siblings climbed on the bus, and as we got them settled, he disappeared. After searching for him around the compound (with no small amount of trepidation over how on earth we were going to survive these 10 weeks) we found him sitting on the steps in front of his classroom. At 7:15am. I hadn't had nearly enough coffee yet!

So we decided there was "recess" first, while I drank my coffee and gathered his school books, and "prayed up" for the day.

3 1/2 hours later, we emerged...tired, a little overwhelmed, but successful. He had finished all his math, his reading, and his grammar. And I had come to several conclusions.

1. I no longer remember what constitutes a short vowel sound vs a long vowel sound. I'm fairly confident in my ability to USE vowel sounds correctly, but don't ask me to name them. I'm quite certain I messed up the whole lesson on breaking up syllables based on vowel sounds.

2. I have no idea how to parse the sentence: The pen will not write. I got subject and predicate, but what exactly is considered the verb? And is it considered past tense? Present tense? Either/or? Arggggg! As an English major at heart (though I spurned it for some inexplicable reason and focused instead on Biology) it's a major blow to my self-esteem. And Google was no help at all. Wikipedia--even worse. Hmmmmm. Perhaps having the teacher's book would have been helpful for grammar lessons.

3. 4th grade math is no problem. At least there's something I don't have to Google as I'm trying to teach! And thankfully, 4th grade math is no problem for him either. Unfortunately, natural ability and understanding does not equal ease in completing the task. We had to stop twice: once for him nearing death for lack of water (after I suggested a water bottle to begin with and he refused...but I'm distracted by minor details) and once because of a burning, passionate NEED to examine the nearby map and identify what regions of Kenya and Tanzania contain diamonds, gold, and "line-stone". So basically, that fulfilled our geography AND our spelling!

4. I should not read out-loud the sappy, inspirational stories that comprise a 4th grade reader. I bawled like a baby while reading him about Lou Gehrig. Lou was telling crowds of fans that he was the luckiest man on earth as he was slowly but surely died of a debilitating disease...and all our son could do was stare at me as my mascara ran. He informed me his old teacher never cried.

5. At the end of the day, having succeeded in teaching our son his lessons doesn't yet feel like I accomplished much. Believe me, my head knows that I did something important...I'm not knocking the value of teaching my child. But my heart feels some mournfulness at the lack of accomplishments off MY list. I'm praying for my heart to calibrate to the new measure of a successful day.

6. Our son knows the measure of success. At dinner he prayed for us, and he thanked God for the food, for the strength that it would give us, and for the special time that he had with mom today. And that sentiment...that my heart understands. I can't fully explain why school was so rough for him. I can't really comprehend why he is needing this. But my heart understands that he does, and that it's something I can give to him for this time.

So on we go...on this adventure of parenting. Of meeting our kids at the place of their need. Of challenging our kids to always grow and mature and loving them when they haven't yet. Of setting aside our list in order to check off some items off theirs. It's not an easy adventure by any means.

But the best ones rarely are.



  1. Even though I am 9 yrs into our homeschool adventure, & living on the other side of the ocean, I can still completely relate to what you wrote!

  2. It may feel like a small beginning, but already, he considers it "special time." Well done. By the way, the-adj. pen-subject noun will write- verb phrase not-adverb. Take care! Praying for you now for a good first week.


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