So I thought for a moment that I would remove the blinds, pull back the curtains, and let everything be seen - and let everyone who may read this see a big part of my heart. Not just the part that shows up in pictures every time I post on here - but what's behind all the smiling faces and work that goes in to teaching my children, and where we have come from to get to this point right now.
|My crazy kiddos, who just happen to be some of the loves of my life, right along with the Lord and their Daddy!|
First I will say that never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would homeschool my children. As I have said before, my husband and I both graduated from public schools, although he did have some Christian school background. I had exactly *one* friend in all my younger years that I knew that was homeschooled - and very few acquaintances. So when I first started thinking about homeschooling, when my little Mama was a tiny mama (lol) I decided that I wanted to use ACE, for three good reasons - 1. It was affordable, in comparison to what I had read/heard about other programs. 2. My husband had a little experience with ACE when he was in a christian school, and 3. I knew I wanted a good Bible curriculum present, because I want that to be a big part of my children's education. So I figured that was the only way to go to meet all those criteria that I had pre-set in my mind.
But for the first few years of homeschooling, I used a little of this, and a little of that. Some store bought, simple worksheets that I used along with printables for preschool and Kindergarten years with older two. Then we added in a mix of curriculum books that we got from here or there, either for a good deal or given to us for free (the best kind of deal!). I have always tried to be as cost-efficient as possible for my husband's sake.
Then something happened this past summer. I realized that I would now have the majority 'in school' and the two younger children would be left to themselves. Which meant that Bug would lose her playmate, and at the time, Buddy Boy was still a little guy -
I knew I had to find a way to bring everyone together, just had no idea how. Then I found someone that was talking about sensory bins, and I had no idea what they were, but they were intriguing to me. So I searched around 1+1+1=1 for a little while, reading about tot trays and following the lead of the child, and came upon several posts, such as this one, and began to fall in love with the methods of Montessori teaching.
And that is where it all began. That was August of 2012, and here I am 7 months later, still having fun learning about everything. Notice I said :learning: - because I find many days I still have no idea what I need to be doing next. As of this point, I have not taken any classes or read any manuals on what to do. I have in the last week or so found a few online Scope and Sequence downloads, and I know of free albums that I can read online, but I have to find the time to do all that. I have gotten atleast 70% of my knowledge from blogs such as Living Montessori Now, What Did We Do All Day, Counting Coconuts, Chasing Cheerios (which, coincidentally, played another part in my discovery of MOntessori through a 'busy bags' post I read on her blog one day), and many others - I find myself discovering new blogs all the time that I love to browse through and get new ideas from.
So that is how I have come to where I am now, in case you ever wondered.
Which leads to the heart of the matter - how to get from where I have been, to where I am now, to where I WANT to be. I don't know about any of you, but most days I feel TERRIBLE inadequate for the job of teaching my children. I didn't say I AM - just that I FEEL it. The only reason that I know I will be able to do it, is because homeschooling was not just a whimsical idea - it was something the Lord laid on my heart when my little Mama was very small, and it has never diminished or been so discouraging that I have wanted to quit. I truly believe that the Montessori methods were an answer to prayer, when I began asking God how I was going to be able to keep up with five children, ages 7-18 months, and still do a good job of teaching and taking care of them all. When I got my answer to prayer, I also realized it was not necessarily going to be an easy one, but if the Lord is with me - I am up for the challenge. However, some days, too many days, I find myself asking if I know what in the world I am doing and am I doing it right and will I be able to teach without all the materials that some have, and what can I make myself, and what should I save up for and buy, and those questions float around and around in my head! I have to struggle, sometimes daily, with not getting overwhelmed inwardly, or being dis-content because I don't have everything I would like to have right away. Because the truth is, regardless of what I do or don't have and what I can do right away or what I can't do right away, my children and I are still right where God wants us, and although I may be a little late in the game (we are obviously not starting at the earliest age possible with this and still working on some basics of normalization, which does not come faster just because the child is older - especially when the teacher/mama is still learning the art of the thinking behind normalization herself ~I step in too many times when I should just be quiet and let them learn~). I don't have all the materials I would like to have - in fact, and this moment the only thing I have that is even remotely authentic Montessori, are printables from MPS or other sites that offer great, FREE products, for which I am very thankful. What I desire more than anything is to raise children who, firstly, have a love for God and are un-spotted from this world, who have a respect for others and self, and who enjoy learning and teaching themselves! I want to look back on our homeschool days as something special and unforgettable, not just feel like I am barely making it through them (although on the rough days, there are a few thoughts in that general direction, I will admit!)
So if you are reading this, and can relate, know that you are not alone! And after you get that reassurance - I'd love to hear what you do in times like these, when the inadequacy stands out more than the ability of what we as homeschooling mothers are trying to accomplish! Also, if you have advice - I'll take it in boatloads! :)
are WORTH IT!