A Letter to Pam Barnhill
The last school year was tough. I have a reluctant reader which is something that has reduced me to rubble on a near daily basis. I have a writing habit which more than one helpful soul has told me needs to preclude the homeschooling.
So I began looking for a community, and I found Pam Barnhill. I've never met her. She homeschools and she has a writing habit. I binged on her podcasts looking for help and insight. I subscribed. She sent me her reply.
She asked me to reply and tell her my biggest homeschool challenge. She said she would answer. Here is my letter to her:
"Hit reply and tell me your biggest homeschool challenge."
My name is Andrea Lingle. I am a second generation homeschooler. I have four kids: 7, 6, 4, and 1. I am an editor for a foundation out of Texas and a writer and blogger (off and on). I live in the Western North Carolina mountains near Asheville with my husband.
I have been listening to all your podcasts over the last two weeks and I am finding great ideas and encouragement.
I have been homeschooling for three years officially; although I did a lot with my first when he was a toddler. (Why? I don't know...) Our kindergarten year I lost a baby at 38 weeks of gestation. I don't really remember what we did during that school year, but before the next year, I was pregnant again. I was depressed, terrified, and tired. My oldest began to show signs that reading was not going to come easily for him, and little-old-ladies-who-used-to-work-in-public-schools began to tell me that there were lots of resources for him in the system. I have never been in the system. All I know is he can't read like his friends can, and I am terrified it is me. Last year, after the birth of a healthy girl, we managed a better year, but it was fractured by nursing and the general day to day of a new baby and a seven year old who isn't reading.
Last year I contemplated quitting most mornings about 10:30 am. I thought homeschooling would all be more joyful, more inspired, more...anything besides loud, messy, and overwhelming.
I know I need to find my "Why." I thought I had one, but it doesn't seem to keep the walls from caving in. Sometimes I can't stand all the chaos. Sometimes I don't feel motherly at all. Sometimes I just want to be alone.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to homeschool because I came out of a very successful, orderly, thorough homeschool. I admire my mother, but I can't seem to keep everything moving. I have heard woman after woman say that she doesn't keep everything moving all of the time, but I can't seem to allow myself to believe that. My mom did. Or I thought she did. I want to enjoy what I am doing, but this is all so overwhelming. I am suffering from distinct "freeness envy" (a little crude, Freudian humor for you). If I could just drop my kids off at school I could: finish my book, make some money, do the laundry, read, become a "popular blogger," or anything else that seems just out of reach because of: HOMESCHOOLING.
I also admit that I am isolated. I haven't been able to swing a co-op because of nap times.
Here's my challenge: How do you order your space so that the visually sensitive mother does not become so over stimulated by the mess that she quits without removing the vitality of homeschooling (following the creative impulse, unstructured play), and how do you keep your skin from crawling off with the noise?
Please tell me all of this doesn't mean I am not cut out for this.
Check back tomorrow for her reply.