While homeschooling in the U.S., I’d often have people comment how how they don’t know how I do it. In reality, I couldn’t imagine how they did it every day.
Getting up every morning, going through the same routine everyday to get their kids to school by 8am or 9am and then trying to get homework done, extracurricular activities accomplished, family dinner, kids in bed and still have time to spend their spouse.
And I do hate the morning routine of getting the girls to school here in Spain. And, their school doesn’t even start until 9:30am! A lot has to do with us never establishing a solid routine – in the states I would have created a laminated checklist and bought a timer clock.
Here, I have been repeating the same directions every morning for the last 8 months.
I’m tired of it. It often ends in yelling.
I get frustrated. Why, is it not clear that breakfast is not the time to play hide & seek?
It breaks my heart when they beg me to stay home for the day. It breaks my heart when they ask “can’t I just do my schoolwork with you?” I hate having to decide if they are too sick to go to school for the day.
I hate that my now five-year old groans when I tell her it’s a school day. School days at our homeschooling center was something that was never groaned at. In fact, if one of us was too sick, they groaned that they had to miss.
Sending the girls to public school here in Spain was certainly the right thing to do. They could have never learned the language as quickly from taking classes in the US or even attending a Spanish Immersion program.
October has come SO far in understanding and speaking the language.
Scarlett has made a best friend that she adores.
Lavender understands and responds in Spanish but rarely lets on that she can speak any.
They all have the experience of going almost anywhere in town and knowing other adults and/or children. The small town has been a very nice change of pace for them.
I would have been even more isolated than I already am if I had tried homeschooling them here as well.
And there are not the educational opportunities here for us to access as in the Seattle area.
For one, we have no car and two, they would all be in Spanish. No science center workshops or zoo naturalist programs for us. No large craft store for us to get supplies to make projects. No wonderful library to check out boat loads of physical books from. (Digital loans from the King County Library have been great!)
Scarlett went to an overnight camp in November and a burros ride (last week) with her class though! They participated in a carnival parade through town. All things we would not have done homeschooling.
I’ll admit, I expect them to be behind their peers in the States in regards to their English writing and mathematics. Lavender can count better in Spanish than English and I haven’t even tried to teach her to read in English yet! October seems to have lost the mental math gains she had from her Singapore Math curriculum and now only uses math equations.
I hope they will be ahead in their ability to try new experiences, having faith in their ability to face unknown and their overall belief in themselves. I mean, if you can walk into a place where you don’t know the language, the routines or anyone else …. you can do anything!
But I really enjoyed homeschooling the girls. It wasn’t easy but I preferred it to any job I had ever had. I miss it.
I really miss learning with my kids on a daily basis. I miss teaching them. I miss the connection we established. I miss having fun ways to interact with them – read alouds, craft projects, schooling projects, documentaries, science centers, museums, etc.
I still have the same “business” to attend to with them. Dressing, feeding, washing, cleaning, etc. but now I have less time to accomplish these in. It leaves little room for more fun activities like playing a game, going for a longer walk or long read-alouds.
But most of all, I miss the rhythm we had established. I am less connected to my kids now. And I don’t like it.
Right now, for me, I feel like I have too few positive, fun interactions with my kids.
I know that a big part of this is me and the rhythm I’ve established. I got used to having a quiet home and retreating into my own little computer generated world. Breaking free into a noisy, messy household is difficult. Life here has been difficult for me.
When I am able to get ahead of feeding and cleaning and we can spend most of the lunch siesta reading together or creating together…I feel great. I rented a car one weekend and we went on an amazing hike together!
I’ve become unaccustomed to the whining and bickering of the kids. Maybe they just got older and into a new phase of sibling rivalry. Maybe, they are no longer in the rhythm of spending the entire day interacting together.
Regardless, the arguing and bickering is driving me completely bonkers!
And maybe, they got accustomed to needing to be loud to be heard in their classrooms. Maybe, they got accustomed to the norm of questioning the directions of their teachers or the negotiating every request with them.
Maybe, they got accustomed to having more children than adults to be influenced by (the numbers are pretty close in a homeschooling center!)
One of the biggest reasons to my ever wanting to homeschool was that I wanted more time for our family to spend together; for us not to be splinted out by age into our own little worlds. For us to build strong relationships within our family unit.
Coming here and not having them attend the public school would have been a mistake. But I miss homeschooling.
I’m not sure what the fall will hold for us when we return. There is a strong possibility (and a strong hope) that October will get into the public Spanish Immersion school back in the states. There is also the possibility that some the girls will be homeschooled and others not.
And while I am concerned that my feeling of disconnectedness will continue, I have faith that by being active, being involved and being connected that my concerns will not be realized.
We will resume going to science centers, museums, libraries and parks regardless of the kids schooling. And with the girls getting older, we will have even more opportunities to participate in activities as a family.
I’m looking forward to it!