Hi. I’m TERA. I don’t know if I would call me a homeschooler. We aren’t home nearly enough! I don’t have a background in education! I HATE Kids! Just kidding. I love em, even when they show us how insecure and vulnerable we are.
I still remember the panic, the fear and dare I say the emptiness I felt when I admitted We needed to homeschool our two oldest sons. I still couldn’t admit that I wanted to! That thought just didn’t make sense.
At first, I gave “explanations” not excuses. We were doing this because Chuck spent more time in the principal’s office telling jokes than in class? We were doing it because Nick wasn’t on task in class and was missing much more academically than testing was showing? Why spend money on private schools, when public schools need our support? I would often tell friends, save that money for college! So how then did I get to homeschooling ??
Perhaps I should back up and tell you about me, the homeschool mom?
I mean I am Super Important MOM, right? I giggle at that thought. You see I take a lot of energy to be “put together”. THANK GOD for scrubs! I mean the average momma has it going on. Me? Ugh, forget about it. My world revolved around this image of super busy, full-Time pharmacist, physician spouse (aka single mom) with 4 boys in soccer and baseball. Food sensitivities? Check! ADHD? Check! People hear that and are instantly like oh yeah… oooh. Wow. Yes, your hands are full dear! And they cut you slack!
Are the kids more important than you? Of course! But wait. Why do I have to give up MY career? WHEN a kid was in the in trouble at school or sick, who left work? MOM did. WHEN the principal called, who got the call? MOM did.
Couldn’t we just try a different school?
Private school? Tutors instead of sports? Sure. We could Do anything. I mean I was super mom working 50 hours a week, developing a compounding lab, and I rocked. But the honest truth is our kids were exhausted. They were failing in school. Chuck was having ocular migraines. Anxiety was through the roof. They missed us. They were tired of running and running. Of being yelled at. Of being stressed. The house a wreck. Fear of failure and lack of complete and total success was a major issue. They couldn’t enjoy the small things. Life was just too big.
What happens when you work? Any thoughts? Other people watch your kids. Their discipline style reins. THEIR family issues and drama become yours. Suddenly you feel like you need an HR department to your life. Some days I thought dang, I wonder if my kids would watch themselves better? Well, that was out as it’s illegal. In case you are wondering, yes… yes it’s illegal.
I have developed super mom negotiation skills when dealing with daycare providers over that past 11 years. I’m pretty good at it. Yup. And we have worn out many a good woman with our Kids and family. THAT’S NOT GOOD. To me, that speaks more than words can say.
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So does any of this really matter?
Why was it so hard to admit, to stand up and scream this is my family, we control and determines what happens? To some degree, it involves safety and security in the known. Homeschooling was foreign, something crazy off the grid parents did. That couldn’t possibly be us! We were conforming normal people by gosh!
Perhaps it’s an of power, control and the control of failure. I mean if the kids failed in school, that was the teachers or the administrators or the ADHD or the classroom or or-or…? It wasn’t my fault. Couldn’t be! With homeschooling, it meant I was in control and responsible. Wait? Me in control? I could fail? Those are big words. Huge implications for a —work a holic, you give me a day off and by Gosh I will work it!— momma.
Sometimes it’s admitting that work and life will go on! Oh my gosh they won’t survive without me! The programs will fail! Computers will burst into flames! Honestly, it can be hard. But given enough honesty, time and preparation my work family will be ok. They might even learn to do more. But, they will fair far better if given ample notices in advance, and we all communicate needs, limitations, and availability often.
So what did I do and how?
- I hired a summer nanny with an education background to babysit while I worked and transitioned from public school to wherever we were headed (AND if you think YOU can’t hire a sitter, well then how do you work now?)
- I redirected that inner “ever important gotta be useful and in charge momma attitude“
I cut back one day per week once a month and worked half days when I could. I slowly went from 5 days a week to 1.5 days a week. I talked to CPA friends and business owners about how to keep more $$ and work less. I joined an MLM of products we use and like. We decreased our taxable income and gave us a $$ raise by starting a home based business!
3. We utilized an education partnership so the kids were “at school” with they nanny. This may be a great part-time job for homeschooling moms. Consider co-op with another working parent?
And let me qualify, my nanny is a business partner, confidant, pal and often mastermind of trouble. We are partners and friends. We benefit mutually and financially in a true full-circle-Karma cycle.
- We enrolled the kids in classes they love: music, minecraft, robotics! I work MLM biz or take home Pharmacy work while at the partnership, so that I can be hands on when needed.
- We read often and turn off the Tv. (Unless its science or animals etc)
- We found any teaching app or video that amused them. I LOVE Leap Pad anything as the kids think it’s play.
- We use grade level books you can get anywhere, and played games. Anything with numbers or letters.
- WE re-evaluate often. CHECK in daily and weekly with all adults. Is sitter working too much? Not enough? Do the kids like the materials? Plan field trips etc.
- I worked out during my lunch break. I had to take that hour out two as often as I could to simply NOT panic. What if we weren’t on track, how do I know they aren’t failing! Oh heck, lord what if I fail them!
- WE CHECKed in with kids often about the curriculum. What THEY WANTED MORE OF! Looked at how they can manage learning best. Sometimes they need 5 minutes, other days 5 hours and for ONE TOPIC!
What we learned:
- Our kids learn way better if they are self engaged. You can’t force anything on them, but positive rewards like a toy at the end of a big lesson, like 1-2 months worth time was instrumental.
- My kids love museums and going places. They love adventures, hotel pools, pizza and movies anytime.
- They want to go anywhere we go. If they could hang out at the pharmacy they would. AND it’s helpful that they know where we work and what we do.
- They love being part of kids. They love friends. And they LOVE not having to share that time with younger brothers lol.
- They may go back to regular schools at some point. But it will be an informed and mutual decision.
What did I learn personally?
That I need to be away from work. I can not let it define me as a person. I am still an accomplished mom, Tera the compounding chick. I can still do my job. People still want me and need me. Slow Down! This time with the kids has gone too fast and I have given up too much already. It’s ok that I want to enjoy coffee on my patio, follow it with yoga, and my kids are playing lego battles all over the basement floor. It’s all good.
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Tera is a Michigan native, mom to four boys, compounding pharmacist for 15 years. She loves horses, German Shepherds, family & friends, travel, cooking, and gardening.