We are embarking on our 3rd homeschool year. If I'm being honest with myself, the idea of starting this year has filled me with dread. When I think back to before my oldest officially started school, I would spend hours on Pinterest looking at teaching ideas and activities. When we started kindergarten, I was thrilled to watch him excel. Last year, we introduced a new baby and lots of new curricula and homeschooling changed from exciting to a burden.
I thought I'd send my older two to public school this year, put my smaller two in day care and get a "real job"- you know, one that actually pays you for what you do, but I had a last minute change of heart after my kids repeatedly asked to be homeschooled and Jesus promised He'd fill me with His supernatural grace.
99% of my homeschooling struggle has been from contradiction within myself. I want to be a flexible un-schooler who goes with the flow, but I need the structure of a curriculum. Once I get the curriculum, I go overboard and can't add in any of that flexi-unschooler that I envy. The result is a stressed mom who feels like she's not doing it "right."
The second contradiction I face comes from trying to juggle too many things at once. I feel the need to constantly do more- work from home, write books, go back to school, build my publishing business. I'm not content just wearing the title of "mom." Call it a response to societal pressure or financial pressure, but I want my kids to see me working hard and pushing towards my goals. I just have to find a way to walk it out without losing my peace and getting frustrated.
Much of my decision to continue on this journey of homeschooling stems from the idea of imprinting. Remember the movie "Fly Away Home"? I loved that when I was a kid! The little girl finds baby geese and they see her and think that she's their mother. Even though she's not, the girl eventually teaches the geese to fly. I feel firmly that for my children to fly successfully in the world, I want them to have a solid foundation that's not impacted by pressure of peers or the influence of a teacher which may or may not be great.
When I was in second grade, I had my favorite teacher and my reading and spelling began to improve- it was one of my fondest grade school memories. But, that's not always the case and these years are too precious to leave up to the chance of having a teacher that you click with and meeting good friends. And, not a day goes by that I don't think of how our neighbors put their children on a bus and never saw them again. Too much chance.
We're jumping into our books and programs, and it has gone much more smoothly than I thought. But, I hope that this year my kids learn the importance of starting their day in worship, the joy of getting lost in a good story, the power of words and the Word who became flesh, lessons from the past and how it relates to His story, and the wonder of creation.
... if we cover that, then I guess we'll be doing alright.
How has your year started out? What motivates you to continue onward when you're exhausted? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section!
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.