Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lessons Learned

This MommyFest Meme will be a hard one to answer. As a mom, I've learned new things constantly. Which things do I talk about and which do I leave out? Do I make it a list of cute things or do I delve deeper into the harder lessons? I'm still not entirely sure what I'll list but here goes:

1. I've learned to listen to my kids because they often tell the most important truths. When my daughter was 2 she asked me, "Mommy why are you so angry all the time?" We were driving in the car at that moment; I immediately stopped the car and cried. She was right. It was that question that drove me to get the help I needed to fight the severe depression that was making me lash out in anger.

2. I've learned that taking care of myself is of utmost importance to the well-being of my family. I attend a weekly support group as an integral part of taking care of myself. My daughter hates that I'm gone every Monday night, but it is for her that I go. Going recharges my batteries, helps me find solutions to dilemmas I'm facing, and keeps me from dipping back into that black hole of depression.

3. I've learned to follow my instincts and insist that my instincts be respected. Even if I'm wrong, it is still better to check up on concerns than to assume I'm over-reacting to nothing. I knew something wasn't right with my older son from very early on and, as he got older, I was positive something wasn't right. Still, it took me until he was almost 2 1/2 years old to convince others of it. He was diagnosed with severe learning delays just months after everyone was telling me he was fine, he was just a boy, and to stop comparing him to his sister. Fortunately, it was an easily fixed problem and he's been able to catch up.

4. I've learned that it is ok to make mistakes in homeschooling. If something isn't working, try something else. I can change any aspect of school at any time, even half way through the year. I don't have to finish a curriculum. When I started homeschooling, it was because my daughter asked me to teach her. Before the end of our second year, she hated everything to do with "school". After changing just about everything we did school-wise, she now enjoys learning again (for the most part). After 4 years, I'm making another big change in school for next year. I doubt I'll ever have everything worked out; homeschooling constantly needs tweaking.

5. I've learned that homeschooling can be fun and interesting and still be effective. I don't have to teach at a blackboard, use boring textbooks, spend all day doing bookwork, and be scheduled and disciplined to be effective. We use curriculum for language arts and math. That takes about an hour to get through each day. After that we read library books together on the couch, talk about what we've read, demonstrate concepts, do experiments, do projects, watch relevant movies, and go on relevant field trips. And none of that is scheduled, organized, or disciplined. I choose a topic and we see where it takes us. There are no textbooks, worksheets, or tests.

I was only going to do 5 lessons but I have one last one that is really a very important lesson that I have to remind myself of constantly.

BONUS: I've learned that the grass isn't greener on the other side. Often I've come to believe that the grass is actually greener on my side.

Stumble Upon Toolbar