One of the hardest parts of “school at home” for me is knowing when to start school in the morning. You see, I’m not just a school teacher who shows up at school at 7:30 a.m. with an ample amount of time to prepare my brain, my room, and my supplies. Nor do I get a planning period during the day or quiet, uninterrupted time for planning and grading in the evening. No, I’m a mom of five children, a wife, an author, and a woman involved in my church — in addition to my “side job” of teaching for five hours a day. Oh, and did I mention that I’m currently teaching three grades simultaneously — and that someday I’ll be teaching five grades? Yikes!
A realistic morning at my house begins with an alarm clock that isn’t always welcome. Yes, it’s 7:00 a.m. I’m aware that many homeschooling mothers are up much earlier than this, but if I want to spend some quality time with my husband in the evening, and still get enough sleep, this is the earliest I can get up and still stay awake during math class. 🙂
A realistic morning at my house means that I’d like to serve a nutritious breakfast to my husband and children. I’d like to serve the majority of our meals with homemade, nutrient-dense foods (see my website at http://www.AnnesHealthPlace.com). I prefer not to fuel growing bodies (or my own) with store-bought cereal, pasteurized/homogenized milk, high-sugar orange juice, store-bought toast with margarine, or even doughnuts and Pop-Tarts. Rather, I’ll make omelets and porridge. I’ll serve sprouted cream of wheat with honey or real maple syrup. We’ll gulp down tall glasses of cold, fresh farm milk. We’ll slice tomatoes or peel a fresh orange. Of course, after I’ve made breakfast like this, eaten it (while maybe listening to a music CD or a book on tape), and cleaned up the kitchen, plus ground wheat for bread and gotten it into the bread machine for lunch, thawed meat for supper, and started a pot of stock for homemade soup, it’s nearing 9:30 a.m.
A realistic morning at my house means that I also need some time to grow as a mother. I need time to clean my own bedroom, to make my bed and to start the laundry. I need a shower and some fresh lipstick! 🙂 I need time to get with the Lord and read His Word and pray. I might even need to talk with my mother on the phone. These things keep me sweet and loving and gracious to my children. Of course, by now the clock is reading 10:30 a.m.
A realistic morning at my house means that we start our homeschooling day with Scripture reading, prayer, stories out of picture books for the little ones, songs with clapping or reverent singing, and maybe a discussion of proper manners. These things keep us remembering that we are a family with common goals and love for the Lord, with compassion for young children, and with a joy for music and good literature.
A realistic morning at my house means that while I love to discuss learning and to discover new methods, I also value having a teacher’s manual. I prefer having a teacher’s manual that I can open up each morning. Are we on Day 47 of our school year? What a relief to know that my day is planned for me. I can always change, delete, or add to the plans, based on the needs of my students, but I enjoy have a basic framework from which to work. A Beka fills this need in our home, and we use workbooks and textbooks for the next few hours of school.
A realistic morning at my house means that we won’t get all of our schoolwork done in the morning. We’ll take a restful and/or playful lunch break, we’ll stop to read from good literature (currently Sonlight’s Core 3). We’ll change the laundry, change lots of diapers, tuck little ones in for naps, and do a little more work in preparation for supper. I’ll often stop to write on the computer (as I am right now) or to pay a bill. The day continues, naturally, not always predictably, but usually pleasantly.
Realistically, I don’t usually have a lot of extra time for myself, for hobbies or getting together often with friends. I can’t make a lot of trips to town for shopping or even field trips. But I’m slowly learning to be content as a stay-at-home mom. I’m certainly not a perfect mom, but if I learn to be content with realistic life instead of a pretend, super-mom ideal, my children get a better education and a happier home.
This is good enough for me.