Thursday, May 5, 2016

Homeschooling My Kids Ruined My Life

I have thought all along that because this is how I grew up, that this is what my family did, that being
a second generation homeschooler would make me happy. It makes sense; it's part of my identity,
my ethos. I am one of twenty-one grandchildren on my mother's side, and all of us were homeschooled.

This is what we do.

We ordered all the books and went through all the motions this year. Counting, rhyming, memorizing,
sounding out words -- starting over -- crying, laughing, reading good stories and drinking warm tea.

We explored the world around us more than the books on our shelves; making notes and coloring in the
details of the magic found in nature, free play and being little. We collected all the treasures to
keep in our pockets, mason jars and hearts.

Instead of the routine I had envisioned, it was raw and unpredictable. I had goals for me and
my children; milestones and achievements I wanted to hang on the wall. Not for accolades of course,
but just for me to know, "Hey, we did that" --

some came easy, some came hard, and some didn't come at all.

There were days I tried to stuff our school into this box of expectations and elaborations;
doing all the things that I thought we must be doing to be a real school --

beating myself up at the dinner table, "He didn't get it. We had to start over. I'm doing something wrong." I'd throw my hands in the air, go to sleep and wake up to start all over again. Is this it?
Is this what I am going to spend the next 25+ years of my life doing? Schooling children in my bathrobe
and messy bun with a barely warm cup of coffee in hand?!!!!

And believe it or not, somewhere in the middle of all that, I think I found myself?

Somewhere between singing math facts for peanut butter cups and snuggling on the couch
to devour Magic Tree House books -- somewhere between wiping finger paints off the walls
and scraping play doh out of my carpet --

I realized that homeschooling my kids had ruined my life in the best way.

It had changed me and made me a better person and mama. Nudging me, sometimes ruffling my feathers,
straight out of my comfort zone and into this new place where I am being transformed...

learning to "let it go" and just plain have more grace on myself and my children --
being ok to forget perfection and just do what's perfect "for us".

It has made me little and curious again. With a thirst to explore, go outside, get messy.
I want to BE IN IT with them -- the world brand new all over again!!!

I didn't see it coming. The gift to be had in the ebb and flow of teaching and learning
with my children. What a gift.

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