Monday, October 12, 2015

The Grass Isn't Greener...

This fall the dynamics of my family changed.  My children went off to school and we ceased to be a homeschooling family.  If you has asked me in early August what I envisioned my life would be like once my kids started school, I would have told you that I would have endless hours of free time in which I would paint dirty walls, purge every nook and cranny of my house, and would do lots of lots of service.  It would be a breath of fresh air and would restore my nearly burned-out soul.

I was wrong.

September was one of the hardest months of my life.  Yes, my house was tidier than usual and I purged a few closets.  I did some seriously neglected deep cleaning.  I did a little service.  But sending my kids off to school hasn't turned out quite the way I'd expected.

Being a school-mom is hard.  I hadn't realized how much of the daily housework my kids were doing until I was left to do it on my own.  There's no one to unload the dishwasher, no one to reload it throughout the day.  The kids don't have time to do their own laundry anymore.  I clean the bathrooms and vacuum the floors and mop the kitchen and feed the cat and carry in the groceries and run food down to the basement pantry and all the other many things to are required to keep a household running.

Setting aside the housework load for a moment, the main difference between being a homeschooling mom and a school-mom is that my kids aren't just mine anymore.  They go away for hours every day.  They come home and have homework.  Lots and lots of homework.  So much homework that we had to make a "no screen time on school nights" rule for the first time ever.  So much homework that our family's way of life has been significantly altered.  Evenings used to find our family reading, playing games, watching a show together, or taking walks,  Staying up late to watch a rare blood moon eclipse would have been a no-brainer before school bedtime entered the picture.

Take a trip to the cider mill?  Of course!  Let's go!  Except now we have to work around school days and crowds and weekend busyness.  And did you know that going to the grocery store could be lonely?  I miss my companions.  Even when they were trying to get me to buy sugar cereal and ice cream.

And then we had to deal with the "things that I did not teach."  The older two should have known how to write in cursive.  Well, the Hubs and I decided cursive was silly and chose to omit it.  Oops.  The kids all have typing class.  One of the kids is struggling to type fast enough because we decided to not do a formal typing curriculum but to let them learn to type organically.  Oops.  And yes, band practice sheets do actually apply to every student in band class.  (Eye roll)  Or, dear child, why have you failed every memory test in Christian Studies so far?  Um, because I lost the paper with all the memory work for the semester so I couldn't study.  Did you think to ask the teacher for another copy???  Ya, things like that.

Now, not everything is bad about the kids being in school.  There are some really good things that are happening in that department.  My kids are learning things that I didn't have to teach them.  They are studying for tests and writing book reports without complaining.  They just do their work with minimal help from me.  They are making new friends and having new experiences and growing in responsibility.  Lizzy is on the student council and David is running cross country.  Lizzy is playing the french horn and David is playing the drums and bells.  They have choir and gym class and typing and art that doesn't mess up my house.  They have Chapel and ask me to buy food to donate to the Church's food bank because they want people who need food to have it.  And lets not forget the science experiments that actually work!!!  Because we all know that my science projects always failed.

It's just me and Kitty, Kitty and me, all day long

As for me, I do have a lot more quiet time.  My house is very, very quiet during the day.  It's just me and Kitty, who follows me around like a lost puppy who misses her people.  She tackles the broom when I try to sweep the kitchen, she pounces on me when I try to make the bed, she meows at me and rubs against me and snuggles with me whenever I sit down.  Good thing I still have Kitty.  I am working on finding my stride.  Re-finding my identity now that I am no longer a homeschooling mom.  I haven't figured it out yet, but I'm working on it.

Now that I have seen school from both sides of the coin, I think it's safe to say that the grass isn't greener on either side.  Both sides have their green moments, and both sides have their manure moments.  Neither is worse or better.  They're just different.

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