Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Self-reminder for the new homeschool year (and years to come, insyaaAllah)

It's the start of the new homeschool year. Alhamdulillah, ini adalah tahun ke-2 kebersamaan keluarga kami di rumah. Tahun pertama dengan nyaman saya sebut sebagai "masa adaptasi"... nyaman kenapa? For my own peace of mind, supaya nggak ngerasa bersalah. Ngerasa bersalah karena apa? Ya, for not being the super-homeschool-mom that i'm not. Jadi emak HS yang stay-at-home itu buat saya pressure-nya lumayan berat-- well, sebenernya sih bisa juga sesantai yang kita pikirkan. Tapi dengan adanya social media tempat memajang kegiatan prasekolah/homeschool yang bikin ngiler (tapi juga sekaligus menginspirasi dan memacu semangat), kadang pressure to be that super-duper-uber-mom suka inevitable, susah dihindari. Mau pake alesan apa lagi? Udah ada priveledge to be "at home", "homeschool-supported", "internet-literate & proficient at googling", plus banyak resources yg DIY maupun yg frugal. Wham! The guilt hits you right smack on the head.

My hardest lesson from the past year is that the biggest challenge you face when homeschooling  is yourself. Be it your time-management, anger management, stress-management, or how high your expectations (of yourself) are... they are the major hurdles you have to realize, accept, and figure out a way to live with it and deal with it. There's also the fine-tuning of dealing with those hurdles and adjusting it to your own family's situation/circumstances. Without having tolerance for yourself, it'll be very  easy for you to get caught in what I call "the invisible race against no one".. perasaan tersaingi oleh kemajuan anak si A atau hasil DIY si B buat anaknya. And being "stuck in the moment" ala lagunya U2 itu is not a 1 time thing.. it can happen over and over if you don't get a grip and face reality.
What is the reality that i've learned over the past year?

That at the end of the day, what matters is that we're together and happy. And it doesn't take much to make your kids happy. All it takes is your presence and attention, and you in a good mood.

It doesn't matter what art/crafts you do.... as long as you enjoy the process of creating with your kids. Laugh. Get messy. Don't be afraid of trying.
It doesn't matter what you play or how sophisticated your DIY-pinterest inspired-toys are (that is, if you make any).... as long as you let the kids play anyway they like. Let them lead. Nothing is impossible in their imagination. Let your adult-logical brain have a break and think like a kid when playing with your kids. You're not playing for them--- you're playing with them.
It doesn't matter "how much" progress you're making with the kids on their learning goals (academic, religious, etc) each day... as long as you both are enjoying the journey of learning new things. That's what life-long learning is all about. Part of learning is not giving up, so be a team-mate and cheer your kids on!
It doesn't matter if the housework gets delayed. Wait, it does, actually-- just do it in small portions of time. Or better yet, do small parts of it with the kids as a team. Just to the point that you have clean dishes to eat with and clean clothes to wear plus a free area to snuggle with your kids. That'll be enough for the day.

Because even with the house in a mess.. and you think your activities with the kids are "just so-so" (cue the entering of negative-put-you-down-thoughts such as "nggak seperti si A yg bikin ini buat anaknya" atau "wah si B pergi ke situ sama anaknya" dan sebagainya)....
At the last but not very least, you can smile and say that "the kids were happy today being with me".. and that will reassure you that you didn't waste your time trying to keep up with the super-uber-duper moms out there, because you already are, each day that you bring happiness to your kids. And that is the most important thing of all.

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