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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

a year of homeschool that everyone survived

Yesterday was the last day of homeschool.

As I brushed my teeth before bed, I said to Sandi, "Well, we survived it."

I would like to tell you that I rocked it, that it was fulfilling and amazing, with neural growth that could rival the frenzied weed growth in my garden.

But I would be lying and I try not to do that.

This year was HARD.  And, yet, it remains totally worth it.

I grant this to the journey: this year would have been hard anyway.  We were dealing with hard stuff.   Homeschool was absolutely the right decision and has had all the best outcomes.  But did I mention that is was hard?

I actually loved helping Ella learn (when it wasn't maddening). I have loved watching her get excited about learning for the first time ever.  It was finding my footing, fitting it all in and being both mom and cop that I didn't relish so much. It was the never being alone and going to back to constantly negotiating my work schedule, of feeling pulled in 100 different directions and that in order to give some to all, nothing got my full attention.

If you wonder if your child will work harder for a relative stranger than for you, I can tell you she will likely give her best to someone else.  Or at least mine will.  It isn't that I mind being a hard ass.  In fact, I rather enjoy it at times.  But no one wants to be that day in and day out.

The best news of all:  Ella is able/willing/excited to return to school next year!  And I am so ready to return to just being "Mom".

Here are some pics to share with you as we close this chapter.

Our friend Kristin, a former science teacher, was an enormous help covering all of the science curriculum.  It wouldn't be possible for me to convey my gratitude to her for her assistance.  She not only taught things I wouldn't begin to know how to teach, she made it FUN.  She covered the water cycle, simple machines, wind and weather patterns, atmosphere and so much more!

An English teacher friend of mine suggested teaching Ella about morphemes, or the parts of words which include root words, suffix and prefix.  He told me that some of his high school students didn't get a firm hand on this in the younger grades and so it can be hard for them to decipher unfamiliar words.  Thanks to his suggestion and Pinterest, we had so much fun making this morpheme tree!

Sandi and Ella did a good old fashion shop class to make a medal holder for Ella's gymnastics medals.
Who doesn't love a power tool?

Ella became quite the chef over the past year!

Did you know you could do this?  Pinterest told me.

Perhaps the most exciting end of year event was the arrival and subsequent care and tending of real, live tadpoles.  (In case you forgot, our last batch of tadpoles turned out to be mosquito larvae).  Kristi shared some of hers with us and it has been truly a wonder to watch them transform.  (Sorry the pictures aren't the best.  It is hard to photograph through dirty glass.)

The crazy part is that they have the round body and long tail for quite a while and then these wispy little legs show up.  Then, seemingly overnight, the legs were real frog legs and they had arms.  This morning one was actually sitting up on a rock, a tiny froglet with no tail, trying out its new lungs.

Who says it isn't okay to have a little help to succeed?  Thank you so much to so many of my favorite women for all the help you've lent me this year, from hands on help with Ella to providing me with the necessary support to persevere.  I simply could not have done it without you.

I am so proud of my girls as this school year comes to a close.  The thing I celebrate the most is the complete transformation of their relationship into something warm, caring and trusting.  If that were my pay for this year, I would take it over dollars any day of the week.  I feel like what we have is an investment in the future here.

The life of a mom is a tricky one.  Most days as night falls, I am nearly crying for bed, so worn out and overwhelmed.  This year I have bargained with the Universe to secure a handful of hours alone and sometimes gone into the pantry just to blow some expletives off so I could return in a decent form to teach my child.   Today, the official last day of school for our district, Ella and Maya both went to school for the day.  Ella went for step-up day to meet her new teacher and class for next year and for the end-of-year party.  As I watched her walk away from me in a pack of kids, looking confident and entirely at ease, I couldn't help but tear up.  I was drenched in pride. I wanted her to turn back, to catch my eye one more time before she went off for the day.  But she didn't, happily caught up with her social moment (a thing of beauty in itself). I was so happy for her and yet I had the deepest kind of ache inside my heart.   I will miss her next year.

We raise them so that they can go out in the world.  That is if we are lucky.  I have spent this year mending some broken wings so she could fly.  But I wasn't expecting it to be so bittersweet when she did.

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