I was so excited about preschool. Homeschool preschool. I spent two decades hoping and waiting for the day I would homeschool, and then it didn’t happen.
I was ready to start preschool with Graham in the fall of 2012. Then Adelaide didn’t sit up before her 9 month well-check. We sedated her for an MRI and then got a call that said she had a cyst in her brain. We later learned that she didn’t have a cyst, but several other brain malformations. Inoperable.
All my cutting, sorting, planning was tossed away. I couldn’t homeschool Graham when our daughter’s future and our current finances were spiraling into a scary place. I packed all of it up and decided we would try again the next year. I was defeated. I called my mom and said, “Well, I failed at one more thing.”
Fall of 2013. Elizabeth came. I had everything ready to go for a year of preschool. Units were ready. But I was nursing a child with food intolerances and silent reflux. She literally screamed to be nursed, in order to help her throat. Then screamed from nursing, because her throat was aching from eating. And her stomach was in pain from the allergens. And I looked at our homeschool stuff and laughed. I packed it all up again. “Mom, I’m not even trying this year. Not sure if I’m failing or just being wise.”
Last year, I was ready. Laminating machine had worked overtime. Phonics rules for each week. Thematic units. Manipulatives. Baskets. Everything was ready. We did homeschool preschool for three days. And Graham hated it. He cried for his toys after a couple of minutes. He begged to leave the table. And I gave up. Not in the I’m-a-crappy-mom way, but in the sometimes-my-ideas-aren’t-right-for-this-moment way.
Graham had one Papa in jail. One Papa dying of stage 4 brain cancer. Two Grandmas who were trying to figure out what they were going to do. And a sister with disabilities. And another sister who still had food intolerances and silent reflux and was still nursing. It’s a lot for a little boy. Barely five years old.
So when he yelled, “I don’t care about ponds! I just wanna pway wif mine K’Nex! I’m so tiwed of doing school for you!” I acquiesced. Because I realized I was ‘doing’ preschool because I thought it had to be done.
But it didn’t. I’m not anti-preschool. I just decided that I wasn’t going to do preschool with my son. I gave up the expectations of him reading before kindergarten. I put down all that I had seen in college. On Pinterest. And we just played. All day.
Graham can spell his name. He can count to 100. He can’t read. At all. And it’s totally okay. My kid isn’t a genius. Oh well. He doesn’t know Latin. But he did point out to me that octagons have eight sides and ‘octopuses’ have eight legs, so oct means eight. He’s learning.
I really thought I was going to spend the last few years updating all of you on our progress. Sharing all my awesome unit ideas. Having a great time blogging about preschool. But it didn’t happen. And I know, for us, it was for the best.
Graham starts kindergarten this year. At home. We are still looking into curriculum and making decisions. I still have no idea how it’s going to happen, but it will. And I probably won’t have photos and blogs about it. I will most likely be treading water and watching for cottonmouths.
It’s not going to be easy. Teaching a strong-willed kindergartner, chasing a strong-willed toddler, and juggling the never-ending work of a toddler with special needs.
Grace. I think it’s going to be my new word. Brave is getting me through the sentencing hearing later this month. Then I am adding Grace. Because I know that Jesus looks at me and says, “Mama, you are doing a wonderful job. It’s not an easy one. See yourself the way I see you.”
If you want to see amazing homeschool moms, the internet is full of them. I’ll continue posting Grahamisms, but just know right now that this won’t be a homeschool blog. I can already say that. And I’m fine with it. Not like when I say I’m fine and I’m actually hurting. I mean I’m really, truly fine.
I am starting to see my limitations as normal and not inadequacies that trash my self-worth. I used to put so much stock in being a homeschool mom. It was a part of my identity…even before I actually taught a lesson. Now I realize it will just be another thing I do well. And being good at something isn’t bad. I will be a decent homeschool mom. That’s what you should expect. That’s what I’ll deliver.
I’ve really enjoyed the last few years of playing with my son. I wouldn’t change it. I really mean that. He gets older everyday, and I truly cherished all the days we played. Packing up our preschool was the best decision for us.
It’s not the best decision for everyone. But I never claimed to know how every child in the world should learn. I can barely scratch the surface of my three blessings. Here’s hoping you figure out what works for you. And go in grace and bravery.