We are the Madison family and homeschooling in our family is a bit unconventional. I am a single mom with two teenage daughters and although we are almost at the end of our homeschooling journey, it is anything but typical. Both my girls deal with acute trauma, and although we don’t allow such things to define us as people or as a family, it does affect the way we cope with every day normalities.
Today is Monday. We have no therapy on Mondays but we do have cleaning. Alarm clocks are not utilized in my house. We wake up when we wake up and deal with it later. Today I wake up at 10:30 am and begin the morning rounds.
Round one: Knock, knock on Ellie’s door. She is 15 and dead asleep, but after some gentle prodding she pokes a blurry hand out of the covers for me to hold. I take her hand, sing the Good Morning song, and leave for daughter number two. Knock, knock on Kris’ door. She is 17 and also dead asleep, but no amount of singing or prodding will garner a response. That’s fine, it is only round one.
Shower, hair, teeth, dress, make bed.
Round two: Knock, knock on Ellie’s door. She is not in bed. She is up dancing with headphones in front of her mirror. I wait in the doorway until she spins and sees me. (This is my favorite part.) Ellie gasps, clutches at her chest, and scolds me for scaring her. I did knock. “I am making breakfast,” take suggestions if any are offered, and go to daughter number two. Knock, knock on Kris’ door, sing the Good Morning song, shake the bed (she’s in a loft bed piled with a menagerie of stuffed animals so I can’t actually see her), receive a groan and a roll. “Get up. We have to clean today.” Another groan. “I am making breakfast,” and I leave to make breakfast.
Round three consists of setting the table, dishing up breakfast and bellowing up the stair that it is done. Ellie will respond and come bounding down the stairs to eat. Kris will not be down for at least another half hour and is more than happy to eat stone cold eggs and bacon.
Since morning bleeds into afternoon, we do not have lunch, but we do manage to get out of the house to clean by noon or a bit later. Ellie dances ballet at a pre-professional school and we clean for them for a scholarship. Everyone has a job to do and we do them well and quick.
In a half hour we are debating a trip to Target for stuff or nonsense, whatever. Today we don’t go mostly because I don’t want to and we don’t NEED anything really.
Back home and we assess brain function for the day. If anyone is wigging out, we apply any one of many calming techniques and reassess. Then the negotiations begin. School is ordered and begun.
This year the girls wanted to try something new with their work. Instead of doing a bit of everything every day, they wanted to do one subject in its entirety and move on to the next. Being it is the end of the school year, both girls have math and science left (because they love them so much). They can do up to seven assignments daily and Kris has gone so far as 15 in one day in history, but at least one assignment must be completed each day so that I feel good about myself. (Just being honest here.) Some days nothing gets accomplished. So, due to the loose-goosy way we approach school, we have no set end date to the year. Anything not finished just rolls into the next year. It does make for fun encounters when people ask what grade the girls are in school. We all look at each other and say, “Ummm…”
Anyway, back to Monday. Ellie has two hours before dance begins and I have three hours before work begins, so go!
Most evenings Ellie is in ballet class and I am working retail, which leaves Kris home in the quiet to do school or create fantastic art.
I get home around 10:00 pm. While I make a quick dinner (or sometimes they do) we all sit together and talk and laugh and plan the next day.
I try to get into bed by 11:30 pm so I can savor just a few chapters of the latest book I am enjoying, but the kids come in and out still chatting, sharing their work, and whatever.
We all crash about 1:00 am.
Just for Fun:
We are very blessed to be in this stage of our journey. Just a few years ago we had eleven therapy sessions a week helping to stabilize my girls after some seriously traumatic life events. School was laughable back then. Now, I have two almost grown girls, responsible, full of life, really contributing to the family as a whole, learning and growing. We only have two therapy sessions a week and school is getting finished. We still have seasons (days, weeks, sometimes months) when nothing academic is getting accomplished, but a whole lot of brain integration and maturing is going on.
Kris is really developing as a fantastic artist and Ellie continues to excel in dance and discover intriguing, life-changing ideas. (Like being a model and moving to Japan or recently she found a ballet boarding school to the tune of $58,000 per year!) I get to practice not flipping out and instead learn to say things like, “That’s a great idea! Why don’t you find out if they give out scholarships.”
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Ellie has written a blog about her scoliosis journey. She just had spinal fusion surgery last December. She would love to share her experience with other kids with scoliosis.
Kris has an art gallery on Instagram under toasty.kat.draws.