As I close my first week of homeschooling Joey, there is only one word to describe me: exhausted.
I am left wondering, how do people do this with more than one child at home? My hat goes off to all of you multiple-children homeschoolers out there, because this is a lot of work, both physical and mental, and I can't imagine multiplying it over several children, grade levels, subjects and curriculum.
Physically, it is about 5 hours perched next to my son's desk since he is currently unable to complete even a little work without me sitting next to him every second. (We are going to work on independent study, pronto!) In addition, it is about an hour and a half each evening preparing the next day's lesson plans and materials.
But it isn't the physical part that is so exhausting. (I figured the physical part would be about like this, at least at first.) It is the mental part that leaves me begging for a nap each afternoon shortly after lunch. The mental strain is not the course work itself--after all, this is 3rd grade. Rather, it is figuring out how to encourage, motivate, correct, push and ultimately be solely responsible for my child's education, all while building his self-esteem. Whoa. This is heavy stuff.
An example: spelling did not go well this week. My dilemma: how do I show my child, who really practiced his words throughout the week, that he got only 8 out of 20 correct on his test and present this in an encouraging, positive manner that makes him want to get right back on the horse? Especially since he missed most of them by one letter only and I was so proud of how close he came! A dilemma indeed, since any 3rd grader knows 8 out of 20 is a dismal performance. And this is just the beginning, because as soon as this is navigated I must look at my curriculum, my teaching style and all the work we did all week to see where I went wrong and how I must fix it and fast! It is like shooting darts in the dark, praying that you pop a few balloons.
Overall, though, a lot went well this week. We got through the work we were supposed to, and without too much struggle. All lesson assessments were passed easily (except for spelling of course) and the one math lesson Joey had trouble grasping ended up with his lightbulb going on at the end, which was incredibly rewarding to me. I can already see how happy he is to be home and I absolutely believe that it was the right decision to do this.
So why am I so tired? Where is that energy borne of conviction and determination that a homeschooling mom is entitled to? Anytime it decides to take up residence in me, I welcome it.