With the start of a partial week and an almost completed full week under our belts, the homeschool year is off to a smooth start, mostly. My two sons, 6th and 8th grade, have been generally cooperative, but I’ve already lost my composure on two occasions that I recall. That beats the almost daily bouts of screaming I had on my first go at homeschooling. It is definitely easier to keep your wits when you are only homeschooling two children and are not also pregnant or nursing or chasing after a toddler.
There is definitely a relaxing of my expectations of what I hope to accomplish in a single school day. When I began homeschooling 15 years ago, I was wrought with anxiety over how to pull off this endeavor. My daughter had completed Kindergarten in the public school system and with only a few classroom visits, I was dubious about this setting for my upcoming sons. After a very strange meeting with the elementary school’s principal regarding the first grade curriculum, I was resolved to homeschool my daughter and her brothers. After a little research, I was set on choosing a classical curriculum for my very smart daughter. I settled on the Kolbe Academy Homeschool Curriculum as it seemed very complete and yet affordable. Try as I might to keep up with their daily routine, I kept falling behind. Pregnant with our fourth baby, acclimating to this new lifestyle and starting the process of buying our first home, I cut myself some slack, but suffered guilt about it nonetheless. We did some of the prescribed curriculum, but never finished what we started.
Fast forward 15 years, and my very smart daughter is now 20 and off on her life’s journey. She was homeschooled from first through sixth grade, where upon I enrolled her in a private school. She hated it, so I homeschooled her in 8th grade, but she was certain she was missing something, so she completed her education at the public high school. My 2 oldest sons are currently attending the same public high school, one a senior the other a sophomore. That leaves the 2 youngest boys at home with me.
They are mortified to be homeschooled. Last year the 8th grader attended a private Catholic middle school. The 6th grader completed his 4th and 5th grades at a different public elementary school. We were all hoping that they’d both be attending our Catholic middle school this academic year, but that option is not open to us at this time. They begged to be allowed to go to the public middle school. After several very bad experiences with the administrators of that school, I stood my ground and won them over to the idea of homeschooling. Okay, I bribed them with fast food and candy and other promises. They signed on, but still harbor shame at their current scholastic situation. We live in a large suburban subdivision filled with kids, most of whom are at my house on any given day. My boys are pretending that they are going to the private Catholic middle school since all their friends are at the public school. I keep pleading with them to come clean, but have not succeeded in convincing them that lying about their situation can not continue interminably. What great example of Catholic piety we are!
I think these neighbor kids and baseball buddies must be on to them. When I hung up newsprint roll on the dining room wall, my sons were aghast. “You can’t hang that up there! We’ll be found out,” they pleaded. “Tell them it’s my timeline. You know what a history buff I am.” They shrugged it off and to the best of my knowledge, not one of the neighbor kids has asked why there is a timeline on our dining room wall.
In the meantime, I will let this deception play out. I have tried to educate them on the virtues of honesty, but it’s obviously fallen on deaf ears and deformed consciences. They will eventually bear the consequences of their sins. I will continue to nudge them to tell the truth. If only this could be neatly wrapped up like an episode of the Brady Bunch or Drake and Josh. Some how, we will reach the truth, but it’s going to take a little longer than a half hour sitcom. Oh, how far my standards have fallen!