Thursday, March 7, 2013

Homeschool Thursday: Maybe it is working

Days at our house are seldom (never) idyllic.  Among the children there is hitting, name calling, teasing, and tattling.  There is whining about schoolwork, screen time negotiations, and messy bedrooms.  There are three washes worth of clean laundry piled in the bathroom, bee hives in our mudroom (empty thankfully), and Legos everywhere.  We strive to eat all organic food-- but often don't.  We eat more processed sugar than we should.  I'm pretty sure jelly bean was one of Kale's first words (ok I'm exaggerating, but barely).  We have more screen time than I'd like and we use it as bribery leverage for all kinds of things.
We do not split up housework or childcare equally (not even close). We yell more often than we should.
There are a lot of days when it feels like most of it isn't working.

A homeschooling friend said to me the other day, "I want you to tell me what to do."

"Me too."

At times I don't know what it is my children need, other times I know but I don't feel like I can deliver.

But when I step back and look at the big picture of our lives I'm grateful for the priorities we have made, that allow us to give our children what we most value:

I can give them the space to listen to audio books for hours on a rainy day.  I can give them the freedom to play outdoors whenever they want.  I can give them the joy of brain teasers at the kitchen table, the pride of finishing their first book, the opportunity to plunk out a tune on the piano endlessly until it sounds like music.  I can give them the chance to master the building a block tower, the handling of a hammer, the use of a power drill.  I can give them relationships with siblings that are strong enough to work through the name calling and hitting, and playful enough to extend dramatic play for hours at a time.  I can give them the opportunity to love learning throughout their lives, and the time to do it.

Not everyone has the opportunity, or the flexibility, or the desire to homeschool their children.  Not everyone should.  Some people are much better off working as our nurses, and teachers, dentists, and carpenters.  Some children are better off with teachers who are not their parents.

I don't ever mean to portray that homeschooling is the right thing all the time, the easy thing (any of the time), or the ideal situation for everyone.  But for me it is the deal breaker.
Its what makes the rest of it feel like its working.


  1. Thank you so much for this, particularly that first paragraph. A nice dose of reality helps keep me grounded, particularly in the blogosphere where everyone is talking about all the goodness (of which there is plenty) and less about the unpleasant aspects of real life (of which there is also plenty).

    I'm in the thrust of my first year of homeschooling while expecting my fourth child with a 7yo, 5yo, and 2yo. I'm an Idealist, to the nitty-gritty reality of messes and fighting and moaning over things we are working on (often even when he/they like it) has been hard to take. It is a more of scattered picture of happiness and turmoil than I would have liked. But such is life. And it is so good to remember that it is normal.

    I found you via the SecularCM group and have been absolutely loving your blog. Maine looks so gorgeous and I love hearing updates on your homeschooling days.

  2. Lovely and real and just what I needed to read after ending an evening wondering which part of parenting, exactly, is the fun part. One of those days. My husband's been gone for a week. We had a play date with a young friend who is quite rough and while they actually played well, there were also some hard slaps to the face which is just heartbreaking to witness your child experience. Great post.


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