Why We Decided to Homeschool – Courtney 2.0

Make sure you read Why We Decided to Homeschool Part 1

 That was the day things began to change (and why I feel I can now speak in the first person).  Once I accepted that I had played the largest part in my current state of unhappiness, I was able to move forward.  Taking responsibility and accountability for my life was a HUGE step in the right direction.  Acceptance is the first part to recovery, right?

I have often said that I am the laziest and most selfish person that I know.  Now you know why.  I was an addict.  I was addicted to my own self satisfaction.  Nothing mattered but what I thought, what I felt, and what I wanted… it had to stop.  Let me tell ya, there is very little more humbling than knowing that you are the problem with what is going on in your life.  I was not the mom I had always wanted to be and it was all my own doing.

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Lucy reading to Spencer

Once I knew that I was the one that had to change I made a mental list of the kind of mom I wanted to be.  I wanted to be the kind of mom who:

  • read to her children
  • danced with her children
  • laughed with her children
  • played with her children
  • sang with her children
  • enjoyed her children’s company
  • loved every stage of life (not just the baby stage)
  • made nutritious meals
  • kept a beautiful home
  • liked her own children more than anyone else’s

I had done all of those things at one time or another, but never on a regular basis.  So, after much thought and prayer I came to a conclusion: Mine was not an impossible goal and my self-centeredness was the only thing standing in the way of me reaching it.  If I wanted to not just love my children but ENJOY them, I needed to spend MORE time with them, not less: and that meant I needed to severely curtail “me time”.

“I think we need to homeschool,” I told Matt one day.  His skepticism was quite understandable.  I eagerly anticipated every single moment away from my kids, how could I stand having them home all day long for EVER?  “If I am going to be the mom that I want to be I need to make some BIG changes around here… and I CAN’T have it derailed by the start of the school year.  I can’t redo our routine every weekend and every time school starts and stops.  If we are going to have the family that we want to have, then our routine has to be consistent… it has to be just LIFE.”

Matt has always been supportive of me and while he seriously doubted whether or not I could handle it, this time was no different.  The timing of my declaration couldn’t have been more perfect.  Lucy had just finished kindergarden at the local public school.  Over the previous year she had turned from a sweet little girl to a surly brat.  While I’m sure my less than ideal mood wasn’t helpful to the situation, I know it wasn’t what caused the decline of her behavior.  Two weeks after summer vacation started (but before I had had my epiphany) she was becoming herself again.  I knew that it was the influence of her peers that was the primary cause of her behavior issues.  This proved to be another reason for me to try my hand at homeschool.

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Emma doing her reading lesson with her “special learning horse”

I decided to give it a “test run” during the summer vacation.  My kids were home anyway and I needed to start being “Courtney 2.0” ASAP.  I knew that by the time summer ended I would know whether or not my theory of “more time with kids +  less time for me = happy family” panned out.  If all went well I would be less selfish, less lazy, and less grumpy: while my children and husband would be happier, kinder, and more enjoyable to be around.  If my theory turned out to be dreadfully wrong, then I could always send them to public school in the fall.

I announced my intentions here on my blog July of 2009 (please forgive my woefully inadequate writing ability.  My composition skills have dramatically increased in the last four years).  The first thing I said was:

I’m really hoping that homeschooling will help with the whole “kids driving me crazy thing”. I love them more than anything in the world (yes even chocolate and scrapbooking) but we’re not the best of friends. I’m kind of the Alpha Male as far as anyone in the house is concerned besides Matt (though he might say differently) and so I kind of have a real dictatorial way of doing things around here. Not the best for my nerves. Anyway, since “love” is spelled T-I-M-E to a child, I’m hoping this will help the relationship I have with mine.

The following days proved to be more than I ever could have hoped for.

To Be Continued…

Part 3

If you promise not to judge me for my past writing skills I’ll let you read about my first few days of homeschooling.  It was certainly a fun jot down memory lane :)

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Amber says:

    Do you like the Kimber home school method?

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  2. Mama Rachel says:

    I love– LOVE this whole series!!! Wow. You really nailed it, I think.

    We recently moved into a new ward, and when our R.S. presidency visited me, one of the ladies commented about how laid-back and relaxed I was. And how the other homeschooling moms in our ward are the same. That it takes that kind of personality to homeschool.

    I was kind, but I told her that the laid-back-ness is a RESULT of homeschooling! We don’t feel like we have to meet the demands of so many people outside of our homes, and so we are less stressed and more relaxed. She seemed a bit shocked. But I really think it’s the truth!!!

    Again, excellent series. Awesome!

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  3. Katherine says:

    Thank you for posting this. The “old Courtney” is exactly where I am. My kids are 2 and 4 and I’ve been planning to homeschool from the beginning but have parents morning out through the end of this school year. The way I am now – I cannot imagine it will work. I’m reading and re-reading and re-reading through this series and praying a lot and hoping I can make the same transition you did. Internet surfing and emotional eating are my crutches to cope and escape and find self-satisfaction – and none of it works. Hoping I can let go of the quest for more me time/escape/coping and embrace my precious little ones.

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    1. Oh Katherine, I feel for ya! Those are my crutches, too. It’s SO powerful too! Like a magnet sometimes. Might I make a suggestion? Take a few hours every morning and forget “motherly duties”. Don’t clean, don’t do dishes, don’t cook. After breakfast, turn off the computer (all the way off, not just put to sleep) and PLAY with your kids. Get down on the floor, build with legos, read to them, make cookies with them, get your hands dirty with play doh, wrestle with them and even snuggle while you watch Cars or Monsters U. I know that when I start feeling the old Courtney creep back into my heart playing with my kids is the only way to kick her out. When my heart is filled with my kids there is no room for “old Courtney”.

      It’s SO easy to forget to play with our kids when the house is a mess and things need to be done. And when feeling like slaves all day isn’t helpful either. But the mess will wait. The kids won’t.

      It might get a worse before it gets better. You might feel overwhelmed and your kids will cling to you and keep asking for more more more playtime with you, but it will balance out after a while and you will find that you have plenty of time for kids, cleaning, and crutches :)

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  4. britt says:

    I love your goals and your realization of what you wanted more than “me time” was to really LOVE your children! powerful!

    Like

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