Have you ever have one of those moments where you think, ‘I’ve got this figured out.’ Maybe you even pat yourself on the back, congratulating yourself for being so smart.
Isn’t that the worst move ever?
I did that this year with homeschooling. I thought I was a pro. I thought that because I’ve been doing it for so long that I had found the perfect formula and that I could coast through with my younger two.
Ha! What a silly woman I am.
This kid, my 6th grader, my boy doesn’t fit my formula. I started hearing the dreaded words, ‘I hate school.’ on an extremely regular basis. Daily, often multiple times.
Then there were tears, from both of us, and I knew that something had to change.
The biggest reason that I homeschool is that I want my offspring to love learning, to have a passion for finding out stuff. I never want school to be something that they just want to check off and move on from. I want them to be life long learners and to embrace the awesome stuff int his world.
This kid, though. He’s tough. He learns differently because of dyslexia and dysgraphia and we’re always having to look at things from a different angle. My formula wasn’t working with him so I’ve had to rethink, restructure, and reorder what I think of education.
I don’t know how it is in other families but around here it is not a one size fits all. Each of my children learns in a slightly different way. Relationship is more important to me than report cards, but I have to remind myself of that every now and then. Honing in on each of the kids’ God-given talents, helping them find their passion and purpose is the goal of our homeschooling life, not mastering standardized tests.
In a culture driven by success it feels really, really weird to not be outcome oriented when it comes to our daily lives.
Confession: I had this moment of feeling really mad that he’s not able to learn in the sit down, get your work done and move on kind of way. I made the mistake (again) of thinking that if I just taught him to work harder it would come. I was really close to giving out lines, thanks to my 4th grade teacher whose favorite punishment was lines that were actually freaking paragraphs. That’s when I knew we needed to do something very different.
This kid of mine, he needs projects, he needs a goal, he needs to feel that there’s purpose behind his energy.
I can remember feeling like school was a huge waste of time, that there was nothing meaningful in what I was doing. It seemed that it was all busy work. Not many teachers ever took the time to tell me that learning about the world helps us figure out where we fit. that learning about history teaches us about our future.
No one ever conveyed to me that understanding happens in stages, not during a one hour class.
So why do I expect my kid to learn everything I want him to in a way that’s convenient for me?
This homeschooling life, for me, is all about learning that things don’t always look the way I think they will, that learning is not as straightforward as simply taking in information. This homeschooling life is fluid, full of wonder and excitement and a fair dose of frustration, and that is learning.
Homeschool life won’t look like the list you make in August, neat and tidy with perfect checkmarks to show you’ve done you’re work. Instead that list will be scribbled on, crossed out, erased and re-written. And that’s okay because life isn’t about getting it done neat and tidy.
Life, when it’s happening, can feel messy and maddening and you never realize the lesson you’re in until you look back and say, “Oh, look at what I learned!”
Homeschooling is the same. You and your kids won’t realize how much you’ve learned until you look back. So when you’re in the middle of it don’t be afraid to change course if it’s not working, especially if it’s just fear of what it looks like from the outside that’s holding you back.
Homeschooling life isn’t about what it looks like on the outside; it’s about what’s happening inside. The inside of our kids hearts and minds is always more important than the checklist.
A pro remembers that.