Last month, my youngest, Peter, began kindergarten. I homeschool my children until high school. Excited about coming down the home stretch of my homeschooling career, I enthusiastically began the school year. I was handing out workbooks and having the five of them write their names in their books. I handed out notebooks for various subjects and allowed them to design their folders. Fun and easy so far, right?
One half of an hour into his schooling career, Peter asked me if it is time for recess! Mind you, we do not even use the word recess; we have snack time (aka, coffee break). I answered, "That depends. Is recess when you get out one of your workbooks and complete a page?" "No," he so wisely responded, "It's when you get to play." Well, at least he picks up vocabulary easily!
For his birthday a few days later, a package arrived in the mail from his godmother. In it was a large cow bell marked "Peter's Recess Bell." I thought godparents were supposed to help the parents! Now, before recessing for a snack, he always rings his bell. That first week, though, he rang it after every completed assignment - out of sheer hope, I think.
As I realized that this would be another event to add to my quiver of memories that homeschooling has provided me, I began to reflect on other memories. Some are not unique to home schooling moms; some are. All bring a smile to my face. My hope is that sharing some of these stories with you will bring a smile to your face, too.
There were quite a few days that I began the school day in p.j.'s. While struggling with morning sickness, I was not always able to get myself together as quickly as I wanted. Like any school-age child, mine were more than happy to have a delayed start to the school day.
Then there was my oldest. He loved Fridays, not so much because of the weekend but because it was gym class day. Since he was not always diligent with his school work, I would tell him that he had to get his assignments done in order to go to P.E.
Once, as I was in the closed-door bathroom experiencing morning sickness at its fineness, I heard a knock on the door. Expecting to have the compassionate question, "Are you ok, Mom?" posed, I was quite surprised to hear Nathaniel ask instead, "Is it time for school yet?" Then I realized, it's Friday! "Go ahead and get started, dear. I'll be with you once I finish throwing up!"
Because of all the OB doctor's appointments, I would occasionally need a substitute. Most of the time, my mom filled in. She, however, was not always able to help me out. On one such occasion, I call my newly retired Uncle Mike. He loves my kids; he loves all children, and he is good with them. He would make the perfect substitute, I thought. I come home after to find my children performing a "lobotomy" on their great-uncle! Apparently, as they explained, he needed a brain transplant. When I entered our classroom, I spied the time line of American history we had up around the classroom. On it, between the Louisiana Purchase and the Civil War, my uncle had inserted "Aunt Dot was born!" I spent the next hour unteaching everything Uncle Mike had taught them.
I ventured again to let another fill in for me. This time it was my son, Timothy. A sophomore in high school, he had the day off. I had many errands to run, so I asked him to supervise his brothers and sisters for a little while. On the white board, I had written some words to be defined by the older students. When I returned, I came into the classroom to thank Tim. On the board I saw that he had taken the liberty to educate his siblings.
Fief - someone who takes something that does not belong to him/her
Peasant - eaten by people in the olden days
Squire - a bushy tail mammal
Knight - what follows day
Lord - Timmy (when little "l"; God when its a big "L")
Once again, I found myself unteaching. I smile at that memory even bigger now as he is in college studying to be, of all things, a history teacher!
Perhaps the biggest smile of all comes to my face when I recall the mutiny I experienced at the hands (and voices) of my 5 youngest. Lucky for me, my older daughter caught it on her ipod so that I can relive it. Ben, the man of the house during the week days, starts off quietly humming "Can You Hear the People Sing" from Les Miserables. As his humming turns into singing, the others spontaneously joined in. Next thing I know, they have flags waving and are marching over chairs and even desks!
Never fear, I have such an authoritative air about me that I was able to quickly reestablish order. Flash mobbed by my own kids!
To me, the greatest blessing of homeschooling can also be the biggest cross - spending most every moment of every day with my children. In the end, though, I am blessed to be able to stay home with my children. They see me when I've got it all together, and they see me when it is all falling a part. They experience patient me and "Kelly, get a grip" me. You want to know what the best part of it all is? They love me anyway.
I love them, too, more than words can express.
What is your favorite memory provided you by your child(ren)?
Copyright 2014 Kelly Guest
About the Author
God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com. Kelly's book, Saintly Moms: 25 Stories of Holiness, is due out October 2021.