So, occasionally, when I'm having a really emotional moment, I will just "google" the phrase of frustration running through my head. It's really funny what you can find sometimes!
Twice recently, I've googled the phrases "I hate Homeschooling" and "Why is homeschooling so hard?!" just to see if anyone in a desperate moment has felt the same way. I was really shocked to not find much out there. Oh... there are people who hate homeschoolers - they have plenty to say. But as for finding committed homeschoolers just ranting while having a bad day... they seem to be few and far between. That's a good thing, I guess. Nevertheless, I titled my blog today those two phrases so that if I ever google them again...at least I'll find myself. :-)
I did find one blogger who said: "Homeschooling isn't hard. Parenting is."
And when I thought about it, I realized they were right. And I guess I'd add that my own self transformation is the hard part too. Homeschooling is a personal workout for me. I'm having to let go of perfectionism, and yet remain disciplined. I'm having to learn how to have fun. (It doesn't come naturally.) I'd rather be boring and nerdish. I'm having to listen, not just talk. I'm having to be patient. I have to let my kids make messes. I want to be one of those free-spirited moms. But that freaks me out a little bit, too.
Today was a winner of a day. (Not.)
After telling my kids one more time that I needed them to pay attention while I tried to do their science experiment of building a telescope for them, I finally gave up and told them to read it and finish it on their own. (Now some of you experienced moms are thinking I should have made that move from the start!)
After 15 minutes of genuinely trying, I hear a lens fall to the ground and crack.
"Mom, it broke. What do we do now?"
Frustrated, I tell them to go ahead and write their report on their experiment. They are supposed to tell what they learned. I admit, I'd expected this, and feel justified in having them write about it.
My goal of having everyone feel as miserable as me is working.
10 minutes later, Julia brings her report over to me:
What I did: I broke it.
What I learned: A picture of a sad face & tears & the words "I can't do it without Mom. I love you Mom!"
Amazingly, everything is capitalized and punctuated appropriately. For the first time today.
It's the saddest thing I've seen in a long time. This is not a pretty moment for me. I'd like to take this page out, but I think it will need to stay. A little humble pie I'm sure I'll need to snack on again.
But I guess, in the end, we all learned more. We learned we do need each other. And I learned they can do a lot more without me that I realize. I realized I don't want to be in control..and I don't want things to always be neat, if the result is kids who are scared to learn apart from me.. kids who are afraid to make mistakes...
I learned that my kids actually want me to keep doing this. (I tried to tell them that I don't know that I'm cut out to teach them, at which point they both broke into tears. Another winner moment.)
Most of all, I'm again learning to trust God. This whole path is so unfamiliar to me. I don't seem like a good fit for this thing. And yet, here I am, convicted more than ever that it's right. Convicted that it's harder than I ever imagined it would be. Convicted that there will be more days I want to quit.
And convicted that it is all worth it.
My seven year old encouraged me with these words:
"Mom, remember Mrs. Mudroch? She had days like this when she began... but now she's one of the best teachers. Probably every teacher has these days. But you'll get better and better. "
Who needs telescopes, anyway.