Homeschooling Blues…A Journey

by | Sep 18, 2020 | Family Life, Parenting

I think it’s’ time to do a check-in!  A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled, “Homeschool Blues,” which got a lot of attention and a lot of support from family and friends.  I have decided I would like to journey this year of growth and development with the homeschool world and all of you, so that other families discerning homeschool can follow a journey of “raw” truth.  If nobody reads it, at least it will give me a great year in review to ponder in May ? However, I pray you will enjoy the journey with me.

For anyone who knows me in real life, one of the things I have never been accused of, is beating around the bush.  I am a pretty straight shooter and I wear my emotions and thoughts right on my face.  I cannot pretend I am happy if I am not, my face gives me away.  As annoying as it can be at times, nobody ever has to guess where they stand with me or what I am thinking.  It got me into a lot of trouble while I was in school, and that trouble has followed me all of my life.

As I began school with my children, I can see where my teachers were coming from.  I have spent time preparing a “fun” lesson on nouns for my dear son and he is sitting next to me as I am joyfully explaining nouns and he is looking at me as though I am crazy.  He has his mama’s genetics and I can always tell what that boy is thinking.  Two seconds later his eyes start wondering around the room and I have lost him.  His eyes are glazed over, and he is no longer sitting right next to me, but instead he is in the backyard throwing around the football with his dad.  Not literally, but figuratively!  This lesson that I put time into was not interesting for my son…so what did we do? We closed our English book and took a break.

Two weeks ago, I probably would have been devastated.  I would have thought his rejection of the lesson on nouns had all to do with me.  I would have taken it personally, but I did not, and that is great growth for me.  I realized that maybe nouns are just not that interesting, no matter how joyful one sounds.  Though it’s important to understand nouns, it’s ok to take a break and come back to them too.

In the last blog, I shared how frustrated I was that no matter what I did I could not connect with my 9-year-old son.  We have grown so much in the last two weeks…both of us.  He has pushed his limits; he knows where to end and push no further.  He knows I am his number one fan and he knows I want nothing more that to see him enjoy learning.  We have changed our approach; we have changed some curriculums and we have found a good balance for right now in our journey.

This does not mean that next week we will not be right back to where we were two weeks ago.  I feel like this journey will be two steps forward and one step backwards.  We will always be growing and learning more and more about the other.  That is one of my favorite things about being home with my kiddos.  To say we have grown in relationship would be an understatement.  My kids know how I work (messy desk, but organized mind!) and I know how they work in an academic world.  (Sadly, they are all like their mom…our classroom might be a room of organized chaos!)  We learn how the other reacts in stress.  We have learned how to best love each other in these moments of stress.  We have learned when and how to take brain breaks.  These are things I never experienced with them while I was working full time and they were going to school.  It has truly been a blessing in disguise.  We have helped one another grow as people so much in this first month…I cannot wait to see what happens by May.  They have taught me more than I will EVER teach them.

In the last two weeks, what has been the most successful practice I have learned?  Find what most interests them in the subject matter we are studying and let their strengths play to that.  I had one student write a story of what happened to Roanoke, as well as a long research project on Sts. Michael and Leo. Another did a massive science presentation on the inner workings of the human body.   And our third, complained that her younger siblings have way cooler curriculum than she does, begging me every day to throw her Algebra away ?

At the moment, the Brooke Academy is doing great.  God is leading us, and even if we take a step backwards, we trust that God will not leave us.

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Tara Brooke

Tara Brooke is a wife, mother, educator, and child of God.  Tara has worked in various aspects of ministry in the Catholic Church for over 20 years, her last years as a Director of Marriage and Family Life for her local diocese.  She now stays home and tends to the needs of her growing and beautiful family.  She has three biological children and two adopted children, both with Down Syndrome. She loves helping engaged couples grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage as well as helping enrich already married couples in growing in holiness together.  She resides in Bismarck, ND with her amazing husband, Deacon Dan! 

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