This is a guest post written by Mia Jackson
We have our first guest blog post, from an amazingly impressive mama of 8!
In her own words:
“I’m a mother of 8 (ages 13, 10, 8, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 3 mos). I homeschool, cloth diaper, tandem breastfeed, cosleep, and tandem babywear… just to name a few.”
I’m super excited to have her on board! Take some notes, mamas! We’ve got an expert here.
Homeschooling: a word you rarely hear in black communities. I can remember the look on my family’s face when I announced my husband and I would be homeschooling our children. It was similar to the look they had when I announced I’ll be quitting my job. They were dumbfounded.
“Oh, okay. Where will you be working next?”
I replied, “Oh, I won’t be working at all. I’m just… staying home.”
“Y’all must be rich then. Only rich white women stay home while their husbands work.”
They thought certainly this wouldn’t last.
They whispered, “She’ll be applying for a job soon enough when money gets tight.”
Money was (is) tight. We live on a single average salary for our area, but it’s worth the sacrifice. When the homeschooling journey began, my relatives knew this was probably permanent. It’s been 8 years now.
Homeschooling was fairly simple at first. We chose a curriculum (out of 50,000 curricula available) and followed the daily lessons. I printed a few worksheets from the internet if my child needed a little extra practice. Monday through Thursday school began promptly at 8:00 am. We took a recess and snack break at 10:00 am and school was over at lunchtime. Easy. I can say that now, but I felt overwhelmed a lot of days. I had three children at the time; a first grader, a 3-year-old, and a 1-year-old. The little ones were on a schedule too. I played with them and taught them their preschool stuff while my oldest did seat work. I’d put in a load of laundry here and there and put supper in the crock pot during our 10 am break. Life really wasn’t that difficult.
A few years later, we decided to have more babies. Oh boy…
In 2011 I had baby #4. In 2012 I had baby #5. In 2013 I had baby #6. In 2014 I had baby #7. In 2015, I got pregnant with baby #8 and she was born in 2016.
Five under 5 years old! That’s when homeschooling got complicated! Well, probably a bit before that, but not nearly as complicated as it is now. Our homeschooling isn’t as “pretty” as it was when I first started or as structured as that of a public school classroom. We don’t have a schedule most days. The curriculum doesn’t match (no single program for all subjects) and much of it is used. And truthfully, some subjects have no curriculum at all!
Sometimes I have to take random “teacher planning” days… or two. Sometimes the toddlers need a little extra love so I teach while snuggling in my bed and breastfeeding two babies. Sometimes spelling tests are verbal as I drive down the street on the way to an appointment.
You know how the most attractive looking food prepared by top chefs isn’t nearly as good as Big Mama’s soul food that isn’t all that pretty? Yeah. Seasoned homeschoolers know it’s sort of like that. It ain’t pretty, but it’s effective! You see, homeschooling is more than just educating with books. It’s about life. The truth is life doesn’t always stand still so that we can go to work and school. Life isn’t always pretty.
The greatest lessons my children are learning by schooling at home is how to cope with the changes in life.
They are learning that family is most important.