Confessions of a Reluctant Home School Mom

School work at home

I am a former elementary teacher. I taught for 13 years in all types of schools;  Everywhere between Kindergarten and Fourth grade. I also taught reading for small groups for several years. I loved it!!  Most of the time, it was life-changing and wonderful. I loved my job and the interactions between kids and educators. I never thought that homeschooling would ever be an option I would consider.

Two years ago I made the decision to stay home with my kids. At least for a while until they got older and more independent. In the midst of that decision, I also made the choice to move my oldest daughter to a private school. My other kids seemed to be doing well and happy in our zoned public school.

How did we get to homeschooling?

Last year, around this time, it became quite clear to myself and my husband that my two youngest children, although doing well academically, were not receiving their IEP accommodations. We have three special needs kids. Every service that they were legally due was a fight and school to home communication was little to none. Although I loved their teachers various decisions made by others on the administration level allowed my kids to slip through the cracks. I knew my kids’ deserved more from their academic experience.

In addition to this, both of them, wheelchair bound at this time, needed to spend more time building strength in therapy. My son, in particular, needed to be at therapy five days a week. I knew the only way to make that happen was to homeschool. This was not an easy decision or an idea that thrilled me. All of my kids, love going to school and (most of) the interactions with peers. Several of their therapists initially questioned this idea but soon agreed to was really the best way to tackle their current needs.

Homeschooling Life

Because I used to teach, picking a curriculum was much easier than the decision to homeschool. My older children, who go to private school, also use it and it really is wonderful! And now, we are going to therapy five days a week. It is a lot of driving and rushing home to fit school in, but it’s worth it. They are growing and getting stronger! In addition, they are loving homeschool. Despite the fact I have no downtime, it’s has been a great experience for all of us! I REALLY love the fact that I know exactly what they excel at and where they need some extra time.

So why am I a reluctant homeschool mom? Because in all honesty, I don’t want to be homeschooling. I don’t want to HAVE to. I wish my kids could have a wonderful school experience where all of their physical and therapy needs were met. And honestly, I would much rather have the extra time to clean my house, take a class at the YMCA or go to coffee with my friends.

So what is the Problem?

We all know being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Finding a balance between doing everything you need to do and yourself is very hard. We feel like we can’t stop and take care of ourselves or even enjoy ourselves. By far my schedule is much busier than when they were all in school. If I don’t get up at 6:30 am and take a shower, it is not happening that day. Trying to find time to go to appointments is also very difficult. To say that the task of homeschooling and running to therapy all while trying to manage everything else is overwhelming is well, rather obvious.

So how do I take care of myself?

So how to plan to give my self some much-needed rest? I do this in several small ways. For example, last weekend I told my husband ever so politely that he could use the holiday weekend and take the kids to see their G Ma and G Pa. He took the opportunity and all of them headed to Georgia for the weekend. I was alone for three whole days, being productive, with no distractions. It was fabulous!! I emptied boxes that have been in the garage for two years. I took naps, watched what I want to watch on TV and took some long walks with my dogs! Of course not every little “getaway” can be like this but things as simple as a bubble bath after the kids go to bed count as rest. Find whatever it is that provides you rest fills you up.

So don’t be afraid to take time for yourself Mama! You deserve it and honestly need it. So do your kids. They need a happy and well-rested mama who is ready to help them navigate their own ups and downs in life.

Feet in bed

 

Dawn Shreeve
Dawn Shreeve is an adoptive mother of four special needs kiddos; long-time educator, beach lover, and advocate of all things adoption. Dawn holds a BS in Psychology from Oral Roberts University and a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Texas. She currently serves as a Tinkergarten Leader in the South Shore area and is a Co-Founder of Seas The Connection, an organization who works to bring relaxing retreats to Adoptive and Foster moms. Dawn, her husband Michael and kids moved to the Tampa Bay area in December of 2016 and love living near the beach in such in such a rich multicultural area