Let me set the scene: You wake up, and the sun is shining brightly. Your children greet you with smiling, cheerful faces. You sit down and eat breakfast together, and then it’s time to begin educating their bright, inquisitive minds. You steadily work through the subjects with them: math, reading, writing, spelling…you are on a roll! You feel proud and accomplished as they share all they learned around the dinner table, where you have placed culinary delights from the country you studied today in geography! The house is spotless, and the laundry and dishes are done. You have showered, fixed your hair, and put on makeup. Pat yourself on the back; Supermom has done it again! While these situations are often what we aspire to as a homeschooling parents, or how our friends think homeschooling goes, sometimes the reality is a stark contrast. We occasionally have those days where we feel like we have made the best decision to tackle our children’s education with confidence.
What about the days when everything seems to get in the way? The day gets off to a late start because the baby had a blowout and everyone woke up on the wrong side of the bed, including you. The house looks like a hurricane went through it, and two of your children have lost their workbooks. You haven’t showered in three days and have consumed four cups of coffee at 3:00 p.m. just to make it through the afternoon. You order takeout for dinner and are living for bedtime. You feel more like a referee than a parent or educator. What about finding out your child has dyslexia, ADD, dysgraphia, Asperger’s, or autism, just to name a few of the challenges we can face with our children that can directly impact teaching and learning? These are the days you question your sanity, and feel like you’re losing more ground than you have gained. You fantasize about eight hours of a day to yourself, or better yet, sending the kids off to boarding school and leaving the refereeing to anyone other than you.
Let me stop right here and just say that, for most of us, our time as a homeschooling parent falls somewhere in between these two scenarios. Maybe you can’t identify with either of these examples, but you may feel isolated and stuck in a rut. I know from my own homeschooling journey that you can experience one or the other and everywhere in between. We all have our highs and lows, our good days and bad days. So what keeps us going on those tough moments, hours, days, months, and years? What do I want you to take away from this?
You are enough! YOU are exactly what your child needs.
The time and sacrifices are worth it! How do I know this? I was one of those kids. I have lived through many of those scenarios that I hope made you smile and relate. I know because I watched my own mother love, struggle, and pour herself into us day after day, year after year! I adore her for it and sometimes thank her and apologize because I am now living this adventure of homeschooling with my own family. I know from experience it’s not the curriculum; it’s not the money spent or the extracurricular activities. It’s you being engaged, taking the time to invest into your children, teaching them to be kind, compassionate, inquisitive lifelong learners. If you are the example of the love of learning for your children, then you have accomplished it all. They will take that love and carry it with them and spread it throughout the world.
Leave the laundry for tomorrow and go catch butterflies. Learn what caterpillars look like and what they like to eat. Impart to your children the wonder that is right outside your door. You are the unsung hero, but you are just that: a hero. You are making more of a difference than you may ever know. To quote Robert Frost, one of my favorite poets:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”