Transition Time

It has been a while since I wrote anything here. I have to admit I’ve been a little discouraged and down, perhaps in a bit of a depression for the last couple of weeks. Despite all my best intentions, we have decided to put Ben back into regular school.

He is doing well. He missed his friends. I think we both needed to try this. We had it in the back of our minds anytime things weren’t going well at school, that we could always just bring him home and teach him here. Well, it is so much more difficult than that. He and I are both distracted easily by shiny objects, and sticking to any sort of plan was hard to do, plus, we are so much alike that we butt heads like my mother and I used to do.

It took me becoming a grown-up to see her wisdom and regard her as a wonderful resource and inspiration. Before growing up, she annoyed me a little bit. I know Ben loves me, as I loved my mother, I just had a hard time taking instruction from her, and so it is with Ben.

We had a lot of fun, but we are moving back to a traditional schooling model, and getting me back to focused time in the office for our tree service. We found that we were exhausted all the time. I was getting up at the crack of dawn to plan interesting lessons, that he was often less than thrilled to follow, and so my heart would hurt.

Nothing about either decision was done recklessly – either to take him out of school or to put him back into school. Both decisions were hard and thought through from every perceivable angle. We thought we could do this, and now we know it will take a lot more discipline than we currently possess, if we ever decide to try this again.

I am thinking that I would rather be the mom who encourages some fun explorations and plans art excursions – rather than the one coming up with every lesson. I would rather them get their basics from their teachers, and let me tuck in all the fun, wild adventures around the edges. That is way more up my alley. Yesterday Ben came home from school whistling. I cannot tell you how much that fed my soul.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve been in that situation and now my kids are in school and I supplement when I think the school is not meeting their needs. They always wanted to go to school and I never wanted to toke that from them; but just like you we always did fun activities that supplemented their learning.

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      Oh, thank you so much. This was really hard to admit to myself. I think supplementing will be way more fun for our family.

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  2. Deidre says:

    I imagine this must have been very difficult for you. The upside is at least now you know that school isn’t going to cover everything he needs and you will very vigilant in making sure he is getting a full learning experience. I have to say, this post scares me. My children are very strong willed and stubborn, as am I.

    Either way, it took a lot of courage to make that decision, but then again, when you’re a parent, once you know the right path, bravery is just what happens.

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      Thank you. It was very hard. I wanted to be that person who could handle it and be an awesome teacher. That’s all I ever wanted to be really, and finding out that I’m not that great at it was a tough blow. What was encouraging was to have my kids remind me how much fun we have when we’re just doing it for the fun of it, and not because we have to. The extracurricular stuff was always my forte. So, now that I’m not stressing about making sure we’re getting all the required learning in, we can have more fun with the Just For Fun stuff. We can do more Art Excursions. I live for those.

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  3. David says:

    I would have to echo the sentiments above.
    Bravery takes so many forms and admitting that homeschooling is not a path that was working for you guys takes a lot of courage. I think that homeschoolers should be all about wanting what is best for any child and so I would expect many to support you in doing this – if he is coming home whistling, it is clearly a good thing for him and takes the pressure off you so that you can enrich his experience in other ways that don’t cause so much angst.
    I have to admit that I hope that I show as much bravery as you if the day should ever come that it was better for my son to be back in school..

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      You are too kind to see this as bravery. Part of me feels like I threw in the towel, but at the same time, it was a huge relief. I don’t want to be the source or frustration for my son, I want to be the one he comes to when he’s frustrated by someone else and we can brainstorm solutions.

      The biggest fallacy I uncovered in my own thinking was the crazy notion that I could help him by taking away all frustrations and making things just right for him. I reached out to his teacher from last year, who we all adore, and she reminded me of the sign she has on her classroom wall, “Struggle time is Learning time.” It would be nice if we could learn only through joy and laughter, but the truth is, sometimes it’s a trial that teaches us the most. Why would I want to interfere with learning by trying to smooth all the tough edges and take away all the struggles?

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  4. ARoyzle says:

    Good for you and for Ben for having the courage to try something so radically different, to admit it wasn’t working and to find the positive in it as you move ahead.Sometimes it’s just easier to stay the course on something even when you know it’s not right, which doesn’t help anyone in the long run. None of the effort was wasted for either of you. Valuable lessons learned and something you’ll always have together.

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      Thank you! It could never really be said of us that’ve don’t take risks or try crazy things at the drop of a hat. That is almost our family motto!

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  5. wendy says:

    hi, sweet liesl–
    there’s so much that’s good in this simple post, but what i like best about it is how brightly your honest spirit shines through. i have a lot of catching up to do, but i can’t say that i’m sorry that I’ve started reading at the end of your family’s homeschooling work on behalf of ben because, truth: sometimes i like to cheat and read the last part of a story first before going back to the beginning. i’m anxious and i just can’t take the suspense.
    i am happy for ben as you are, but there is always some sadness that comes at the end of any bold undertaking and this, my friend, was one. i just finished reading Hilary Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies” and there was a line right at the end that i just scrambled to find for you. here goes:
    “There are no endings. If you think so, you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.”
    here’s to yours and ben’s next big thing. i cannot wait to read all about it.

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      Wendy! I have missed you so much! Thank you for finding your way back here, even if it to get in on the tail end of this chapter! I love that quote. It is always a beginning. My computer has been down, and it’s hard to write with one finger on my phone, but soon, I will catch you up on what’s next!!

      I cannot wait to see what all is new with you. So many times in the last month, I’ve wanted to call you, or reach out on Facebook, but your blog is the only way I knew to reach you! If you message me with contact info here, I will not publish the comment. Thank you, lovely fellow mom/writer/philosophical/poetic soul!

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