I just remembered something about tomorrow.

I worked for a summer at IBM.  The days passed quickly and enjoyably.  I was so engaged by the work (designing a testing protocol for computer casings) that hours would pass by unnoticed.  And then on the way out of the building each night, I would have a very distinct thought: Hmmm.  I don’t care if this building blows up tonight.  Wouldn’t bother me at all.

When I was teaching, my experience was almost exactly the opposite.  The days would often drag.  Some days were just awful, days where I felt like I taught nothing.  I would often stand outside my classroom, dreading the thought of going in.  I would psych myself up by telling myself, “Pretend it’s your last class.  You’re never going to teach again and you need to make this the best class you’ve ever taught!”  And it would often work.  But by the end of the day, I was exhausted.  Figuring out how to teach a sixteen year old how to multiply and helping a young woman find a safe place to sleep and designing a project that would both teach and evaluate at the same time – all in the same day.  It was exhausting.

But every day that I left the building, no matter how awful it was or how crappy a job I thought I did, I couldn’t wait to get back to try it again.  I left with the thoughts: What can I do better tomorrow? Or The way he is thinking about subtraction may just help us with positive and negative numbers.  And  I love them.

That was it.  Engineering was often fun and engrossing, but I never loved it.  My students were often not fun and much of the job was tedious.  But I loved my students and I loved teaching.  And I wanted to go back to figure out how to do it better so that they would be better prepared for the world.

Which explains, I think, why I woke up excited this morning.  It explains why I remembered my summer at IBM as I was pouring coffee.  I love my boys.  And I wanted to go back and try it again.  What can I change to make it better?  For starters, we are going to do fewer activities.  Transitions are not our forte’.

How did it go?

This is where I want to tell you how much better it was.  But that’s not true.  They were more defiant than yesterday, and I was angrier.  Zach cried three times.  Ezra cried once. I spent the last two hours of the morning with a knot in my throat from holding back the tears I wanted to cry.

But I’ve got a few ideas for tomorrow…


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  • Tiffany Lynette Ande

    You are a great mother and Jeff a great dad. God is going to get you through. I am sure God is teaching you something through this. Maybe more compassion and patience when HE is trying to get us to do new things. We fight HIM and want that old comfortable thing so we think. HE says Tara, Jeff, Tiff, children, I have something new over here for you and we are like no kicking and screaming and its not until we really submit or try to that we begin to see how wonderful the new thing is. That is my reply today. Keep going, keep pressing, lump in your throat and all. I love you. God loves you way MORE.

    Toodles : )


  • Jeff Barneson

    That may be the best short explanation of why I also didn't stick as an engineer. I'm sure there's love in it but I can't say I ever felt it either. Makes me want to pray for those engineers alright!

  • Theresa Mann Bouey

    Caeleb tells me today that he hates homeschool too. Of course, I am 4 weeks into it now. I think he just didn't like dwelling so long on the Powhatens today. I took out the tempura paints, and we spent the next hour painting landscapes. Yes, even Chelsea painted one. That is what is great about homeschooling, when things don't work, you can change gears. I managed to sneaked in some information about impressionists in there while they "stipled" in their bushes and some information about the color wheel when they mixed their colors just so I feel justified in checking off "art" on their "Course of Study" for today. So take a walk, go to the museum, visit Jeff at work, bke some cookies and take it to the fire station and get a tour while you are there! I am not saying that every minute has to be fun, but give them and you some time to adjust to this new thing. Things do get better, I promise!

    • Tara

      Thanks Theresa. For the ideas and the encouragement.

      I think that part of the problem is that I am still working 25 hours a week in the afternoons. So I am feeling really rushed. And the more leisurely parts of the day are either Jeff's or the au pair's to enjoy.

      Woke up today with a migraine. Could be a good things. Slow me down a bit so I can try to go at their pace.

      Again, thanks for checking in. Maybe YOU should write a blog so that I can get more ideas!

  • Theresa Mann Bouey

    Oh, if you are still working, then that is definitely going to make it harder. I don't know if you read my comment in "about this site". An education is so much more than just acquiring knowledge. Sometimes we get caught up in teaching "stuff" and forget that learning happens all the time. The "major" in homeschooling is Jeff and you, and the lives you are living unto God, the "minor" is science, math, reading, art, music. Teach them what you love. They will see the passion and excitement in your eyes, and they will love it too.

    There are two verses/passages that have been helpful to me in keeping the proper content and perspective with homeschooling: Proverbs 9:10 — "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." 1 Corinthians 1: 19-20, 25: "For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world… For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."

    I do about two hours of "schooling" per day with Kaiya because I have to for records. The rest of the day she is helping me with my chores, plan out our girls club meetings, visit friends, weed the garden… She is learning a great deal about how to be a disciple of Christ just following me around in my daily routines, observing my choices and listening to my words. I think that is where she is really being "educated".

    So give yourself a break. Go have fun with your boys. Don't let your au pair or Jeff have all the fun. Enjoy them and foster their curiosity. Blow bubbles, plant tulip bulbs and watch them pop up in the Spring when you have forgotten about them, find a new playground/park and have a picnic there, go love your neighbor… They are learning all the time, not just when you are doing "school".

    • Tracey Stanelun

      I don't know Theresa, but I LOVE her approach to homeschooling. I've been distressed at Tara's (and Zach's and Ezra's)struggles with it and I find Theresa filled with wisdom here. I'm influenced by the "unschooling" movement (, which looks at children as natural learners and "life" as the classroom. As Theresa points out – and The Field Trip entry seems to confirm – homeschooling doesn't have to be "school" reproduced at "home"; learning can (and does) happen all the time everywhere and homeschooling allows the flexibility to teach and learn under all kinds of circumstances. My thoughts – from someone with no kids, so take it with that grain of salt! Hope it gets better, Tara! I'm rooting for you all!