As I’ve written here, the past few months have been a roller coaster with my mental health, emotional health, and just life in general.
Homeschooling has been the main thing on my mind.
When going through the month (well, over) of extreme anxiety because of meds, I couldn’t function let alone assume that I could do okay with homeschooling so Robert was very anti-homeschooling. He wasn’t so sure that the anxiety was caused by meds or just my normal mental illness. He wasn’t sure that it wasn’t a “flare” of my mental illness.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. We realized after coming off of Geodon that it was the med that was causing my severe anxiety. I was immediately better with-in a day or two. It was clear that it WAS the med and not a “flare.” He was starting to consider that maybe homeschooling was an option again, but he wasn’t completely on board yet.
Last Wednesday I was working on a pros/cons list and it brought me anxiety, then I wrote in a homeschooling group that I wanted to homeschool and I gave a detailed background. Most people in the group thought that I shouldn’t; in fact, some went as far as to basically say that I was selfish for wanting to and that I shouldn’t because I’m an alcoholic. This sent me into a tailspin and I considered that maybe they were right.
Because I was anxious again, Robert said that I should just move on. So I did my best to do that. I wrote a few posts about how I had come to terms with just keeping the boys in school.
Though I said I had moved on and was trying really hard to find the good in keeping them in school, I still just couldn’t let the homeschooling thing go. It was a desperation with-in that I really felt that we needed to be a homeschooling family for good. I can’t even explain why. It just wouldn’t leave me alone.
Fast forward a few days. Robert and I spent Mother’s Day as a family. We went up to the highest point on our camp (the Windmill), swam in the windmill tank, and flew a kite. For some reason the desire to have my people home for good was just so strong. I enjoyed every single bit of being together as a family. I just knew that we were supposed to homeschool.
That night I made my desire very clear to Robert and told him exactly how I felt. I shared that no matter how hard I was trying to let go of it, it wouldn’t go away.
I was so surprised to hear him tell me that I can homeschool! I couldn’t believe it. I was worried that he didn’t really want it so I didn’t take that and run with it. We had a dinner here at camp that night (our summer staff got here that day), and he was exhausted so he fell asleep early and we couldn’t really talk. That night I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking so much about what he had said (along with another issue), and I was excited but nervous that he didn’t really mean it. I didn’t want to be the wife that pushed him into something that he didn’t agree to. So I didn’t assume anything. Monday morning we had several hours to talk. He told me his concerns with homeschooling, but also told me why he thought it would be good for our family. His concerns are that I won’t take good care of myself and that it will send me into a tailspin in which I have to go back to the hospital. But. He explained that he felt it would be good for our family because it would allow us so much more flexibility which is so important here at camp. He agreed that them doing school for 3-4 hours was so much better than them being gone for 10 hours each day, then coming home to do homework. He loves the idea of us not having to get up at 5:00-5:30 every day and the kids can stay up later, which allows us to do more here at camp. He loves the idea that we can go places during the school year, which is much easier to do because summer here is so crazy.
So. He was finally on board, but with some conditions.
He wants me to put self care first. He wants part of that self care to be me exercising multiple days a week, outside, because it makes a huge difference for my mental health. He has seen it help so much time and time again. I will run/walk some days, and some days I will hike.
I need to still be able to go to AA and counseling as part of my self care. The kids will go with me to town and sometimes they will hang out with my mom and sometimes they will go with me to AA. The ladies there have told me that the kids are always welcome! We will make a day of it. We will go to ChickFilA for lunch, go to the park, the library, etc.
He wants me to use my resources to have mental health breaks, including sending them to my moms if I need. She offered the day that I told her we would be homeschooling again.
He wants me to not obsess about curriculum. So I told him that I already have most of what I need, and I have a few things already picked out. I am currently saving up to buy everything at once.
He also wants me to take the kids on field trips. He feels that that is one of the benefits of homeschooling and that they can see things that they wouldn’t normally get to see and be a part of.
The day that we decided to do this, I met with my counselor. I told her what we decided and then talked about how for some reason I’m nervous even though I’m super excited. We determined that the main reason I’m nervous is because I didn’t want to share about it because I have changed my mind so many times (which, I didn’t ever really change my mind… I knew what I wanted but I didn’t think I could have it). Also, I know that so many people have strong opinions about why I shouldn’t homeschool and that has been driving my anxiety. We talked about why I value others’ opinions so much. We determined that it’s because of the years of bullying that I endured as a child. I have the strong desire to please others, to do what they think, and it causes me anxiety when someone disagrees with me (and I assume that maybe they are right). I did some EMDR about this.
We processed through the fact that even though I have had some inconsistencies in my life, I have some things that have been steady as well. I have a great marriage to Robert and we have been married for 13 1/2 years. I am a good mama and work through things to make sure my kids don’t feel too many affects of my illnesses. I have consistent routines for the kids. I got a college degree. When I was in college, I was a pharmacy tech for 6 years. We have lived at Camp for 2 years now and this is where we will be from now on (unless God calls us elsewhere, but I don’t see that happening). We were in our past house for 3 years. There are some routines and habits that have been in place for years despite the other inconsistencies in my life. And now that I’m not drinking and have good meds, other things should become more stable. But. Life is life and inconsistency can be part of normal life. It is ever changing. My kids will grow up being able to handle change.
We talked a lot about how others’ opinions aren’t important and that Robert and I need to make decisions that are best for our family.
So, that’s what we did.
I have been so excited that it has been hard to contain myself.
He wanted me to wait to tell the boys till their last day of school next Thursday but I accidentally let Karis know (I didn’t tell her… she guessed it by the fact that I walked in with some curriculum that I bought from a friend). I didn’t want her to accidentally tell the boys. So I’m telling them after school today!! I’m so excited!
This summer is going to be a busy one! June 6th we have friends coming here for a week. Then the next week, Karis and Ethan are going to camp and Levi and I are going to my parents’. The last week of June, Robert and I are going backpacking in New Mexico (Gila Wilderness) while the kids are at my parents’. I will be working some in the camp store here. We will be going to Six Flags Fiesta Texas with my parents at some point. The last week of July we will be going to Glorieta’s Family Camp. So we only have a few weeks that we’re not going anywhere.
The days that we will be home, Karis will do her math (because I’m trying to get her through this level since we started behind), they will all read 30-45 minutes and do a reading log, and we will do some science activities here and there. But actual school won’t start till the first week of August. I will write a post next about the curriculum that I will be using with the boys.
After I pick the boys up today, I will tell them, then we will celebrate by going swimming in the river here! Can’t wait!