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You know I'm trying to make an effort to spice things up with our homeschooling, so today since we were learning about the Franks and how their chieftans had long flowing hair, we decided to make yarn wigs as directed in the Story of the World Middle Ages Activity book. Sounds easy enough: wrap two skeins of yarn around the kitchen chairs, cut one end, take the long hair sew a strip of felt down the middle-instant wig! Well, I'm a sewing loser and my bobbin ran out, I tried and tried to refill it to no avail. The yarn is so THICK I almost can't get it under the foot of the machine. So now I have all these pieces of yarn and can't figure out how to attach them to the felt. I also have one chair still wrapped in the yarn.

I tried making a castle out of cocoa puffs last year, with walls made out of the cereal and marshmallows and butter and held together with toothpicks. That was one big flop, a mess of cereal and stickiness. From the same book, too.

I just want to quit. I feel like everything I try is a failure. I'm suppose to get beyond the textbooks and workbooks and DO stuff with my children but that never works out well either. Mine is not the perfect family doing projects together and learning and growing. Mine is mom trying to read the directions, screwing it up, the kids getting impatient and bored with whatever she has planned.

I can't win. I feel the darkness closing in on me again. I'm fighting the daily battle of "I wanna play video games." My 4 year old just spilled all the straight pins all over the kitchen floor. My friend who put her daughter back in school just invited my 4 year old to come play because her second child is bored now that the oldest sister is off at school. Nice. Yeah. My house is a huge mess: toys, clean laundry, thread, yarn...

My pet peeve is projects that dont't give you enough information. I need homeschooling for dummies or something.

I also need to do "everything without grumbling and complaining", another impossible task.

11 comments:

I hate these kinds of projects, too, that kind of expect you to fill in the blanks.

An idea for the yarn wigs... we've just done the same kind of thing and instead of sewing across a line of yarn we've tied another piece of yarn around all the wraps (in the middle) and just used them as wigs that sat on top of our heads and hung down the sides. (no hair in back, unless you spread it out that way, which can be done)... just an idea. (If that confuses you, let me know, or just forget I said anything! :wink: )

November 1, 2007 at 3:00 PM  

Oh, I am so right there with you! I used to think that I needed to do a hands on project for everything, but in my family, it just doesn't work! I've learned to let it go. And honestly, I don't think its necessary for real learning. These days, our projects are more about doing real-life things...like my ds making pumpkin cake yesterday which I actually needed him to do, and we actually ate! I avoid textbooks too, but I have found that sharing real living books result in just as much authentic learing as building some complex model. I've also decided that we are no longer doing projects that my kids can't authentically do on their own...eg. NOT Mom doing all the work while kids grow bored...kids start fighting...kids find trouble...Mom blows a fuse! You are not a bad homeschooling mom! You are being realistic and making this lifestyle work for you and your family!

November 1, 2007 at 4:53 PM  

OH, I feel your pain. Even though I don't homeschool (mostly because I think I would suck at it) I totally understand not being the family that has it all together. Press on. I'm sure you are doing great and your kids will remember how much you loved them- you were willing to TRY, no matter how much the project flopped! I guess we all need PARENTING for dummies sometimes!

November 1, 2007 at 6:00 PM  

Tara-I homeschool AND suck at it. I'm not trying to sound the martyr about it, but some days are just so bad and it's only November! I feel like I need to find my homeschool identity or something, you know?

Shawna-Miss your blog, but glad you're able to focus on home stuff more. I'd love to see you plot out an average day in your homeschool sometime, with four kiddos.

Sweet Mummy-thanks for such encouragement! I wish we could meet for coffee someday (or burritos!). I'll try that before I go bed tonight. Maybe we'll have some crazy long haired Frankish chieftans at the breakfast table.

November 1, 2007 at 9:59 PM  

Hey come over here, our school year is almost finished in November!

Craft is sucky, whenever I try stuff like that I end up in a mess, and if I'm using glue, I end up with it all over my hands, and then it gets dirty and rubs off onto whatever I'm trying to make (hate craft with paddle pop sticks ice cream sticks)).

November 2, 2007 at 4:52 AM  

I don't do projects. I gave up about 10 years ago with science experiments for my kindergartener that never worked out.
The only crafty thing we've done in the last 3 years was visit a Willow tree every season for a year and the kids drew, with colored pencils and I bought them throw-away cameras to record the seasonal cycle. it was fun and not to taxing.
I know I'm not crafty so I don't go there. And it hasn't heard their ability to learn.
Give yourself a break - you're kids are learning TONS! Take a day off of "scheduled school" and just have fun outside, or build forts inside, or go to a science center, or rent some cool movies or.... homeschooling takes many shapes and forms. Be patient to find your own.

November 2, 2007 at 6:46 AM  

Ah, crafts...I hate them. You should not feel bad that they don't come "naturally." You have so many other gifts. I agree with "i was just thinking." You kids will remember mother's love and sacrifice and PRESENCE in their lives so much more than some stupid craft project. How many homeschooled kids have a real live speech and debate expert in the house (and yours' have two!) I can't speak to homeschooling frustrations since I've never tried it, but I would not be the mom doing the complicated craft things. Especially with boys. Maybe girls like that stuff, but I can't imagine my boys at 7 or 8 being willing to sit down at a table and do crafts.

November 2, 2007 at 1:58 PM  

I'm thinking it's that book!

I am very confident that you will find the right active learning curriculum to keep everyone engaged.

I think kids in public/private school get bored too, don't think you can much change that sometimes school is not a party!

November 2, 2007 at 3:04 PM  

Coffee and Burritos sound great! We'll do it sometime FOR SURE!!

November 2, 2007 at 5:19 PM  

Hi Julie,

I am sorry, but I couldn't help but giggle when I read all of this. Bless you, you are doing a super job with your little ones. You know they will long remember the yarn all over that chair!

Hang in there, you WILL find your groove. I am certain that your kids learned a whole lot more than you realize.

Now, all I want to know is if I can lift these stories and write them into a real life homeschool mom drama? :)

November 5, 2007 at 7:50 PM  

Julie,

I feel so badly that I haven't e-mailed you back yet, any encouragement about homeschooling. Unfortunately, my past three weeks have totally stunk, so I haven't had anything encouraging to say.

First off, it's probably that book. I've heard that about Story of the World -- that it's kinda complicated.

Second, have you tried a unit study approach? It's really great for boys, it ties it all in together, and it makes my life so much simpler. When reading is about history, and writing is sentences from your Bible, it seems so . . . compact!! And so much less of a struggle, b/c your kids are getting two subjects done at once.

Anyway, I love homeschooling, and I have young boys. So, I'd love to encourage you. E-mail me and maybe we could set up an IM or something.

Dana (myhandsfull from PW Forum)

November 6, 2007 at 7:37 PM  

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