Monday, May 4, 2009

When baby checked in, my brain checked out!

I have been home schooling for four years now. Life has been interesting these last four years. We have had our challenges and many changes. When I started out, my oldest daughter was in first grade. She was the only one I was formally home schooling because her younger brother, at age 4, was in pre-school a few days a week, her younger sister was only 2, and the very youngest, her baby brother, was only 6 months old.
Since then, our little "classroom" has grown to include all four children. The oldest is now a fourth grader, her younger brother, a second grader, her younger sister already a kindergartener and the “baby“, at the ripe old age of four, is doing his own pre-school work right all with the others. Though, it has not always been easy and there have been many outside intrusions and distractions we have persevered and are still going strong, at least until recently...
I am now 6 months pregnant with our fifth child. We are all overjoyed about the new addition on the way, yet realistically, a little apprehensive about how a new baby will impact our school day. I am prepared that it will be a whole new challenge to juggle the four school-aged children and a newborn all at once. What I did not think to prepare for was the impact the baby is already having, months before her arrival. As my tummy expands and my wardrobe changes I have noticed the effects of this pregnancy in far greater ways than I did the last four...or maybe I just forgot some of the past difficulties. That is quite likely, as forgetting seems to be one of the biggest problems I have. I have started forgetting everything. From the tiny unimportant details (where did I put my marking pen?) to the much more significant parts of our day (have we already done math today? ). I am such a scatterbrain, I fear my children are learning nothing, but that they must watch after their mother or she may leave them behind one of these days!
Then, there is the overwhelmed feelings I have been struggling with. Though I consider myself a fairly intelligent person and I have had no problem keeping up with my children's lessons thus far, I find lately I am completely frazzled by their school work. After only an hour of instruction, I start feeling mentally exhausted. Even the kindergarten math leaves me with my brain feeling fried. Our school day, which used to be completed in about 3-4 hours, now seems to take the whole day. I have to take a break after every subject! Some days, the breaks take over and we never quite finish our work. We are falling behind, and that has not helped the overwhelmed feeling. I had planned to work right through the summer months so we could take a few months off when the baby comes in August but now I fear the summer will be less than productive, to say the least.
Thankfully, my children are smart. We have worked through challenges in the past. We dealt with seven months of Daddy being home, throwing off our schedule, when he was out of work. We have tackled the challenge of uninteresting math programs that did not work for us. We have adjusted each year as we added more work for the younger kids and welcomed them "officially" into our family school. We have faced worries about upcoming annual testing and every year they have come through with flying colors.
God will see us through this as well. That is the beauty of home schooling. It is flexible. It is family friendly. It is forgiving. If I had to be a perfect teacher, or our day had to be perfectly organized, we would not have lasted a week. Over the years there have been many hard days, many unorganized moments, and even a few disastrous lessons. I guess that is just one of the many ways home schooling is preparing my children for real life. There are distractions, there are challenges, and unexpected things often get in the way of school. Just like in life. But we continue to work hard, do our best and persevere. It is what we have to do in school, and what we have to do in life. And, though our school day may not be perfect, by the grace of God and all our hard work, my children are thriving in the midst of my forgetfulness!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! While pregnant with my fifth baby I had similar problems but they got worse after she was born. 18 months later we learned I had a serious Thyroid deficiency which actually caused us to lose our next baby early in the pregnancy.

    Now chances are that you are simply experiencing normal pregnancy induced memory lapses and fatigue, after all you are 4 yrs older than you were the last pregnancy. However - I would ask for a thyroid test to make sure your levels are within the normal range.

    Meanwhile good luck keeping track of the marking pens and the KIDS! :-) I know where you are coming from. On more than one occasion I have counted heads come up short and while having a heart attack realized I had not counted the babe in arms!

    Blessings from
    Christi AKA mum2twelve now a bakers dozen



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