Doing What’s Best Even When It’s Hard

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I wrote a post on Monday titled Waiting Room.  In a nutshell I talked about the possibility again of homeschooling the kids next year.  I talked about having to wait a few months to make the decision and that was really hard for me.

Well, we already have our decision made (for next year at least), and it makes me sad, but I know it’s best.  It’s what gives me the most peace.

You see, I want to homeschool.  I love it.  It gives me purpose.  It helps me fill my day with something that I feel joy about.  I love being with my kids all day.  I love that they have lots of play time.  I love the convenience of it.  I love that most people here homeschool, and the kids all get to be together.

This time of year is when I’m usually researching to buy curriculum for the next year (of course, I ended up changing so many times I lost count…).

I saw some pictures of Karis today that I took when I was homeschooling just her last year.  It breaks my heart that I’m not doing that with her right now.  It brought me joy.

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But those reasons are all about me, not about what’s best for her.  Sure she wants to be homeschooled as well, but that doesn’t mean that’s best for her.  Her teacher has made it clear that she has seen her come out of her shell since she started and she really feels that school is best for her.  And she’s right.  She also has the opportunity to be counseled by an amazing counselor and the opportunity to do choir (and maybe other extra curricular activities in the future).

Karis is making A’s and B’s (even in math she’s making a B, and she started really struggling).  She is on an eighth grade level in reading and she is challenged.  She loves science and social studies, which are subjects I was never good at teaching.

She is making friends and really starting to like school.  Yesterday a friend gave her a Valentine’s gift and she said, “Do you know why he gave this to me?  Because he likes me and I like him.”  He’s a sweet friend and they seem to have a lot in common.  They talk Minecraft every day :-).  While she’s a little young to be liking boys, I’m just happy that she has a good friend that’s her age and boys don’t cause as much drama as girls ;-).

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And the boys… why would I want to homeschool them?  Only because it’s safe and comfortable.

They are also both thriving.

Ethan has gone from a first grade reading level to a second-third grade reading level since November!  I struggled every day to help him learn how to read, and I just wasn’t successful.  He has all A’s and B’s!  This is huge.  He has the opportunity to do sports, which is what he has always wanted to do.

This is from his teacher today: 

“I am enjoying Ethan.  He has made some huge strides since he came to me in November.  He is doing well.

Ethan is very polite and always helpful.  He has several different groups of friends that he plays with on the playground.  He is great about including the students that don’t always have a friend.

We had a conversation the other day, because he gets his work done, but he has to procrastinate a little before he gets it done.  As we talked, he told me that he gets distracted by the others around him when he has to do independent work.  Ethan asked to sit at a table by himself so he can concentrate.  I let him sit by himself with the option to move with a group if he wanted and he seems to be staying on task.  He sits with the group when we are doing partner/group collaboration, however prefers to sit by himself when doing independent work.  Ethan does like to rush through his work, but that has seemed to subside as well by letting him sit by himself for independent work.

He has really taken to reading.  I have noticed that just in the last month or so, he has really began to push himself to read even more so than before.  He is reading about 70 words per minute with accurate comprehension.  He should be able to read at 90 words per minute fluently by the end of 2nd grade.  He is right on track to meet the 90 words a minute in fluency.   Ethan is reading at a 2.5 reading level and I will test him on his reading level again this coming Monday.  I suspect his reading level with be higher than 2.5.

He is doing well in math.  He still needs to continue working on his math facts, but is getting better with them every day.  We have started multiplication as repeated addition this week and he is picking up on this really fast.

I am sure enjoying Ethan in my class.”

He has met his AR goal early this six weeks.  He and his classmates that met their AR goals are in this picture.  He is the one lifting his paper high :-).

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Levi is learning social skills that I couldn’t teach him here.  He started by getting in trouble all the time, and now he rarely gets in trouble.  His teacher has been way more successful at teaching him the correct behavior than I ever was.  She told me today that he’s a joy to have in class.  He has all A’s and 1 B (math).  He is growing so much in the area of academics.  He is also on a second-third grade reading level.  He is challenged in this area.  I love that he can read books on his level versus reading readers that I pick out.  And he is tested on comprehension which is something I wasn’t doing with the reading curriculum that I was doing here.  Today he made a 100% on his chapter book that he read in 25 minutes yesterday.

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Levi’s teacher told me that he is a joy to have in class.  She is pleased with his quality of reading.  He has made such progress since November.

 

One other thing that is really important is my healing.  I have so much work to do still.  I know that if I were to work, I would spin into severe anxiety and depression.  How is homeschooling any different? I was obsessing about curriculum.  Spending hundreds on credit.  I would change their curriculum every few weeks!

I was drinking every day when I was homeschooling before.  Obviously it was causing me anxiety.  Well, that and I’m an alcoholic.

Staying sober, working through trauma, self care, and fighting to stay healthy are my goals.  I hate that.  But it’s reality.  There’s a reason why I’m fighting for disability.

 

I spent some time today asking friends to remind me of why I know having them in school is best, and pretty much everyone was “right on.”  These comments especially stood out to me because it was different than anything else, and it made so much sense.

“Pulling them based on the your original post seems to be about you & not them. It’s best for them because you socially, emotionally and mentally then need to be where they are thriving and you need to focus on you.”

“Is it possible that the rhythm of homeschool became sort of an addiction as well? Something to distract, define or comfort you?”

“Not trying to vilify it at all but maybe it was more for you than them at times?”

“This is a really good point. _________ and I were having conversations about this because he is also doing his stepwork with addiction. It’s all too easy for those with addiction issues to trade one addiction for another. You give up drinking, but a part of you still craves something, so you feed it with something else. In your case, it could be the “high” you get from buying curriculum, planning lessons, and homeschooling. This might be a good topic to talk to your counselor about and get their take too!”

I am in awe of how God speaks through friends.  I needed to “hear” everything that these people said to me.

I truly think I have an addiction to all things homeschooling (and teaching in general).  The high that I get from researching curriculum, buying curriculum, lesson planning, etc keeps me going.  Now I have to learn to not search for a high, but allow God to work in me and help me learn how to take good care of myself.

A few things I decided today:  Along with taking good care of myself, I also want to start serving friends here.  I plan to start making meals for friends, having coffee with friends, hiking with friends, etc.  I feel like I have purpose now after making decisions today.

I’m looking forward to the future!

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