11/24/15

moonschooling eleanor

honestly, im not quite sure where to begin ... nearly three years ago, we were living in a neighborhood where the schools were not so great. before deciding to home school, we looked into private school and as much as we loved what we found, we just simply could not afford it ... i had recently quit working to stay at home with eleanor and try for another baby (wolfgang) ... so after weighing all of the pros and cons, we decided that i would home school eleanor. she was going to be in kindergarten, so we were both completely new at the whole school thing ... we created a school room in our attic and used an online program for resources, text books and lesson planning. our days were very routine and it didn't take us long at all to get the hang of it. when we first began, i was very pregnant and three months into her kindergarten year, wolfgang was born. it was tough, but he managed to slide right into our routine ... and although i didn't find many homeschoolers in our area, i involved eleanor in dance classes, swim and other classes like theater and art. ... for the most part, our first year of homeschooling went pretty well ...

fast forward to her first grade year ... her first grade year was hard. i became pregnant with rufus and wolfgang was walking. between the morning sickness and chasing a toddler, we were struggling to maintain a rhythm. i was struggling. ... eleanor had reached a point where she was extremely bored, defiant and lonely. our days at home just simply were not enough for her ... and our relationship was suffering ... there were even days that she refused to participate in school. as i typed that, i can almost feel how horrible those days were. the utter defeat, exhaustion and hopelessness. it wasn't her fault. what we were doing just wasn't working. 

we were in the middle of trying to sell our house and knew that our main goal at that point was to move to an area where eleanor could go to public school ... she needed to be around other children her age. she needed to be in an environment where she could flourish. and more importantly to be happy. 

after nineteen months on the market, our house finally sold. she could start second grade in public school. we were thrilled.

... it is now november and my sweet girl loves school. she is growing and smiling and wakes up everyday exuding the purest joy. she has made friends and is learning so much. just two weeks ago i met with her teacher who informed me that eleanor is an absolute joy to have in class. she said that she is kind and always happy to start the school day ... and i have to be honest, the evening of the parent teacher conference, i walked to the school for our meeting and the entire walk there i worried. i worried her teacher would tell me she is behind and struggling. i worried that she would tell me that what i taught her during our two years of homeschooling didn't stick ... when i found out the opposite was true and that she is learning and that i didn't completely fail her, it filled my face full of tears and on the walk back home, i sobbed. i sobbed because i hadn't failed her like i thought i did. i sobbed because all of that self doubt and worry just had to be released. i sobbed until i was free from that darkness.

this has not been an easy topic for me to talk about. truth is, it weighed heavy on my heart for a long time. a part of me felt like a failure for giving up home school to send her to public school. i kept thinking, "other moms can do this. why can't i? what's wrong with me?" ...  all i wanted was eleanor to be happy. all i wanted and will always want is to see her happy. to see a smile on her face ... and now that i see that everyday when she gets home from school, i know that i didn't fail her at all. not even a little bit. she was just lonely. and now she isn't. and that's all she needed. it wasn't that she wasn't learning at home. it wasn't that i wasn't teaching her well. it was just simply that she needed to be around kids her own age. her loneliness was so heavy. and it broke my heart. she needed a change.

everyday she gets out of school at 2:30 and the boys and i walk through the woods by our house to pick her up. one day on our walk home, we were talking about being kind to one another and i was saying how i don't always know the right things to say or do and she told me this, "mom. don't worry. you don't have to be the perfect mom. you just have to be a pretty good one." ...
...and it made me think. we don't always have to know what is right for our kids and maybe sometimes it will take us a while to figure it out. and that's okay. that's life. we are mothers and fathers, but we are also human just the same. and our children do not need us to be perfect. they just need us to be there. they just need us to love them. they just need us to be trying. they just need us to be pretty good.

xo.


p.s. many people have wondered where i came up with moonschooling eleanor ... back in my early twenties, when arick and i were still new, we would host these parties with a small group of friends and we called it moon school. we went on trips together and often times eleanor, who was just a tiny babe, would be right there with us all ... my friends would make fun of me and say that i am going to moon school all of my kids and teach them all kinds of witchcraft and what not ... haha (those were my free spirited hippy days) ... anyway, when i began homeschooling, it made me smile because it sort turned out that way- minus the witchcraft ... and that was that ... Moonschooling Eleanor. 

18 comments:

  1. i love this -- your honesty is always SO refreshing to read -- thank you for that. and i'm so glad that she is flourishing! :)

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  2. Loved reading this! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. We had this topic in school, about homeschooling and there are minuses and pluses. U did just perfect for her, u trach her while she was small and now she is in school, where she can socialize. I know we all want best to our kid and believe me, that balance in homeschooling and school is the best. I am always worried that my son will be bored at home and I understand your struggles.

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  4. You're such a lovely human being. And a wonderful mother. I love the whole idea of "moon schooling" and I love that you made the hard, and right decisions for your family. It sounds corny to say you're "brave" for being honest, but god, you are! XO

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  5. Oh my dear, how I love to read you. To be honest, you inspire me. I am pregnant of my very first bebe and I am so scared already to fail him/her. Your message makes me happy and confident that my husband and I will be just fine. Thank you for all your amazing photos and honesty. Love to you sweet lady x

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  6. What a sweet soul she is. Smart smart girl. Xo

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  8. The best, love reading your blog. Eleanor seems like she is an awesome sister and a smart one like her mommy!

    p.s.- If you don't mind me asking what kind "brand" of camera do you use I love your photos so much on IG and on here. Thank you in advance.

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  10. I love this so much Kristen. You are so amazing. I do the exact same thing. I always feel so awkward when I say my kids are in public school and then I quickly follow with "but they might not be there always, I'll eventually homeschool" bottom line, I probably won't. I wish I had been homeschooled because I was bullied for 10 years. But my kids aren't me. I am not emotionally equipped to homeschool. Some women are and that's great for them. Bottom line, our kids happiness does come first. My kids love school so much. So that's perfect for now :)... I'll probably homeschool eventually haha! ;)

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  11. I love how honest you always are about things. You did the best you knew for Eleanor and it seems she's thriving being at school. I'm homeschooling right now and nervous about keeping it consistent and making sure we go to groups and socialise with other homeschooled and non-homeschooled kids. My little guy is only three and a half so we're not in the full swing of schooling yet but having had letters to apply for schools, it's been on my mind a lot. I feel like I'm doing the best thing for my son as he didn't cope well with nursery but who knows, one day he might decided he wants to go to school and if that day comes I'll enroll him, there's no shame in it. I hope you're feeling at peace with your decision :)

    www.robynsden.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. So loved reading this. love all that you have to share about motherhood. i always relate to you. love you friend

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  13. Great perspective! We just had our first and while she is little we are weighing pros and cons of homeschooling. The majority of articles I've read are pretty one sided. This is an honest reflection of the realities and refreshing. PS I knew your husband in college which is how I found your instagram/blog. I'm a new mom so it's been comforting to see how other mommas do it and I love Dayton so even better!

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  14. You are amazing mama and your girl knows that,Im so glad I found you have blog also after following for so long on IG!)

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  15. I love this so much. I want to homeschool my son in kindergarten, but he is so eager and loves to be around kids his age and thrives at his preschool a couple days a week. Letting go is the big one for me, because I love the weekdays when it's me and my babies cozied in our own little space in the world. Thank you for sharing:)

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  16. Thanks for sharing. My boys are both in Montessori school, which is not common in our area. I worried,for years. Looking back I am so glad I followed my Mama intuition. Just discovered your blog. Love it. X

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  17. This comment has helped me so much because I'm continuously having doubts about what kinds of school is best suited for my daughter. Love your thoughts and thank you!

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