HOMESCHOOLING

Irish Syndrome

P1010009

When we were growing up my sister had an Appaloosa mare named "Irish"–(whose birthday falls on this day.) But the one thing I remember about her, besides the time she decided to roll in the stream while my sister was in the saddle–was the way she behaved every time you began to tack her up for a ride. Her head would droop, her eye lids would get heavy, she’d sigh big heavy sighs.

And this morning, as the girls and I sat at the kitchen table to do a few simple school lessons, I thought of Irish as I watched Emma. She got all droopy, put her head down on the table, flipped her pencil around carelessly. Perhaps, once again, I should have backtracked and made her a piece of peanut butter toast or some fruit and cheese, but I tried to see it through to the end. And the end came quickly.

I know that homeschooling is definitely the right decision for our family, right now. But man oh man, can it get frustrating some times. I waffle between unschooling, homeschooling, classical….I fall somewhere in the middle of all of those philosophies, if that is possible. I was an elementary school teacher before I stayed home with my children, so I feel like I have some experience to draw from, and I see growth and learning happening every day (sometimes more with Mary than with Emma), so I know things are working. But some days, when she gets what I’m now referring to as "Irish-syndrome", I start to question everything. Is it the fact that I should have given her a snack? Did she not get enough sleep last night? Am I boring her? Is it simply the fact that I’m her mother?

P1010015

But the beauty of schooling her at home is that I can say, "alright, that’s enough for now. We’ll try again later. Here’s a sandwich and some grapes. Call me when you’re feeling better."  And I remind myself that last week, just last week, she told me how much she loved school and loved what we were doing. And I remind myself that every homeschooling mother has these moments. And I take a breath. And I start again.

**this last picture is for my husband. Mary spelled Case IH for you–all by herself.**
P1010013

P1010009

When we were growing up my sister had an Appaloosa mare named "Irish"–(whose birthday falls on this day.) But the one thing I remember about her, besides the time she decided to roll in the stream while my sister was in the saddle–was the way she behaved every time you began to tack her up for a ride. Her head would droop, her eye lids would get heavy, she’d sigh big heavy sighs.

And this morning, as the girls and I sat at the kitchen table to do a few simple school lessons, I thought of Irish as I watched Emma. She got all droopy, put her head down on the table, flipped her pencil around carelessly. Perhaps, once again, I should have backtracked and made her a piece of peanut butter toast or some fruit and cheese, but I tried to see it through to the end. And the end came quickly.

I know that homeschooling is definitely the right decision for our family, right now. But man oh man, can it get frustrating some times. I waffle between unschooling, homeschooling, classical….I fall somewhere in the middle of all of those philosophies, if that is possible. I was an elementary school teacher before I stayed home with my children, so I feel like I have some experience to draw from, and I see growth and learning happening every day (sometimes more with Mary than with Emma), so I know things are working. But some days, when she gets what I’m now referring to as "Irish-syndrome", I start to question everything. Is it the fact that I should have given her a snack? Did she not get enough sleep last night? Am I boring her? Is it simply the fact that I’m her mother?

P1010015

But the beauty of schooling her at home is that I can say, "alright, that’s enough for now. We’ll try again later. Here’s a sandwich and some grapes. Call me when you’re feeling better."  And I remind myself that last week, just last week, she told me how much she loved school and loved what we were doing. And I remind myself that every homeschooling mother has these moments. And I take a breath. And I start again.

**this last picture is for my husband. Mary spelled Case IH for you–all by herself.**
P1010013

15 comments on “Irish Syndrome”

  1. I love the story because when I homeschooled my children I remember those days! Now you have a name for them! But I agree, it’s also the beauty of homeschooling that you can pick and choose times for lessons and be spontaneous, too. As you most likely know from teaching, that isn’t usually the case in a tradition classroom…

  2. i wonder often, about what my children can not hear simply because it is coming out of my mouth.

    your girls are so luck to have you as their mother and their teacher.

  3. I am homeschooling my Daniel, a kindergartner, and my younger son, Timmy, 4. I don’t know what style I am. I was formerly a first grade teacher for nine years, and my style tended toward whole language, with phonics taught in context. I was single and of course, childless, so I could spend a lot of time planning homemade lessons.

    Now, I have the two boys and a fifteen-month-old girl. I ended up ordering curriculum to use next year: Sonlight for LA, Math U See, Bob Jones for S.S. and Sonlight for science. I felt I needed the structure since Emily is still so young and will be down to one nap next year, making it hard to get as much done, especially any lesson planning. My six-year-old can’t concentrate at all when Emily is awake. And she gets jealous that I’m sitting there with the boys and fusses.

    Like your girls, the boys are doing well. They are both reading and Daniel is writing sentences. Timmy is less ready for penmanship. I think it will get much easier late next fall, when they should be able to do a lot without me sitting right there the whole time. I can send them to the desk in their room for some assignments – giving me time to love Emily up.

    Most homeschoolers I talk to say the early primary years are the hardest, especially with toddlers around.

    I think they get it pretty early that we need their positive feedback regarding our teaching. They probably act bored, etc. on purpose sometimes, knowing it will get to us. Maybe we should learn to behave indifferently when they do it? I don’t know. I want to hear from them about how things are going. I just don’t want them using my vulnerability against me. Does that make sense?

  4. i know exactly what you are talking about sister! those days when i am tempted to pull the lunchboxes out of storage, pack them and drive my children to the nearest school. but then twenty minutes or perhaps twenty hours later all is well and you know you are doing the right thing. we just need a moment (or twenty) before we dive back in.

  5. Oh girl, do I ever know that syndrome!It’s precisely the reason we’ve had hardly a lesson in two weeks. It’s a tough row to hoe, this homeschooling business, but as you said, worth it in small moments that let you know you’ve made the right choice for your littles.

    Hang in there, Mama!

  6. Peace and blessings to you on the schooling. I have done public schooling, private schooling, homeschooling, and unschooling at different times, and I find it all a constant re-invention of oneself and ones abilities. These small (and tall, for that matter, as I am currently teaching one taller than myself) people require so much creative and patient thinking. My father has a favorite hymn entitled “School Thy Feelings.” He has nine daughters. I get why it was his favorite!

  7. I am not a homeschooler, and I admire you greatly.I think that as moms, we are very in tune with our kids. When my daughter seems to have a quieter or more “dull” period, i get worried. I question myself and see what I could so to make it better, tend to blame myself. I think that’s a bit how a mom tends to be… nurturing, always worried they are doing the best for their kids, etc…but really, we have moments like they do as well. Some days I feel more quiet or have the “bored” look… but i still wouldn’t change anything in my life.Perhaps she was having a moment like that :)What a blessing! 🙂

  8. I’m not a true homeschooler, yet. We are doing pre-k and will do kindergarten this fall. I admire you for what you do , I hope I am half the homeschooler you are . Keep up the great work!

  9. As one homeschooling mom to another… I hear you! My girls and I have days like that, too… I used to think that I couldn’t take breaks during school time or I would lose their attention. Now I realize that just 10 minutes of running around outside can make all the difference. We also have days where we should just cut our losses and stop altogether -read some books or take a bike ride instead of math. It always helps me to look back at this time of year and see all the progress that we’ve made because sometimes in the day to day it’s hard to see.

  10. I don’t know how homeschooling moms do it I am not even able to fathom doing it so I won’t! It seems you do all kinds of wonderfully educational and creative things with your kids though. I love those letters you are stringing where did you get them? They look like the letter magnets with holes drilled in them.

  11. Oh yeah, we’ve had plenty of those days 🙂 Sometimes it’s a sign that we need to shake things up a bit, do something different or they are just not ready for whatever it is I’ve put in front of them. No matter what, it gets better and they do move forward – just not always in a straight line 🙂 Hugs, Cassi

  12. waffle away. i’m right there in the muck of those 3 roads myself. well, the classical i’m about to boot, but it lingers. and judges me.

    hang tight, sister. we’ve had far too many weeks in a row of my constant thought bubble this: *hmm…just low blood sugar or wouldn’t they just be better off in the care of a chipper p.s. teacher who doesn’t have to do their laundry and clean up their vomit in addition to the addition (facts)?*

    (sorry to be gross. it’s flu central here)

    learning at home – it’s the best choice for us, too, I KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE.

    but yeah. i hear ya on the *irish*.

    oh for a tte–tte involving krispy kreme and the kitchen table; we could encourage one another. parent/parent-teacher/teacher conference!

    okay i should have just blogged about this.

    xo

    me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *