We had our monthly homeschool meeting last night and this month instead of our children making presentations on topics, the parents were asked to present helpful tips and things they had learned through homeschooling. Well, soon as I heard what the topic was going to be I decided I would NOT be making a presentation. My reason,was that this has been an awful school year for me/us and frankly I do not feel like I’m in any position to share much of anything! Espcially when you consider that our church is full of some very seasoned, gifted homeschool parents. What could I possibly say to help any of them? But then Tracy (who was heading up this month’s meeting) called and said, “So what are you presenting?” I told her nothing and explained why. And then she flipped my reasoning on me (much like her father, my pastor of 25 years, often does). “Well, then you should share something about being discouraged.” Hmm, I had no argument for that. So I began reflecting on why this had been such a discouraging school year for me. Lord began to shed His light on my frustration and confusion. He is always faithful to do this when we sincerely inquire. He showed me that my frustration is a result of His removing certain fantasies I had about homeschooling and replacing them with cold, hard reality. When God begins to remove our fantasies and replaces it with reality it’s called “disillusionment”- to lose your illusions. This is a very unpleasant, painful and humbling process, but very necessary if we are to ever reach a higher level of maturity and spirituality. I know my God is faithful to lead me back out of any tough spot He has led me into so I keep getting up every day and keep homeschooling my children even though right now I don’t feel I am at the peak of anything. I did decide to jot down and share with my homeschool group some of the fantasies or myths that God was trying to replace with reality for me right now. Please know, I in no way think ALL homeschoolers believe these silly, prideful things that I once believed. These are my own personal myths!
Myth- Homeschooling will make me a better parent than the average parent.
Reality- Somedays I’m still an awful parent.
Myth- Homeschooling will my kids better than the average kids.
Reality- Somedays my kids are still awful kids.
Myth- We will always stick to a carefully planned routine in which all of our chores, goals and lessons are accomplished everyday.
Reality- Somedays we don’t get started till noon and somedays we are still in our pajamas.
Myth- I am intelligent and capable enough to juggle homeschooling, housework, church activities, kids activities, husband’s activities, meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, my own personal fitness and my own hobbies each week.
Reality- I can usually only manage to hit three or four out of that list each week and even those are exhausting.
Myth- If I very carefully choose my curriculm and teach it right my kids will be more intelligent and advanced than everyone else’s.
Reality- Each child learns at a different pace and in a different way. It’s not about intelligence it’s about development as a human being.
Myth- If I’m a good homeschooler my kids will love doing school everyday.
Reality- Most kids (espcially boys) do not like structured, indoor activities of anykind. This is the nature of children not a reflection on me as a homeschooler.
Myth- If I homechool my children will have better relationships with each other than the average siblings.
Reality- Some days I am certain my children are going to murder each other and there will be a cheap tv movie made about us called “Homeschool Horrors in Georgia.”
Myth- We will spend the chilly, rainy, winter months doing fun crafts, working ahead in our lessons, drinking hot cocoa and reading children’s classics aloud.
Reality- The months of Nov-Mar are very depressing to me. I can barely mope my way through half a days lessons before I’m ready to call it quits and make everyone take a nap.
Myth- If you are very organized, and run a well disciplined home, and buy just the right books, and do everything just perfect homeschooling will be a breeze!
Reality- Homeschooling is hard no matter what! Most of the rewards will not be realized until years down the road, and even then some of our children will not appreciate what we’ve done for them. Some of our children may even resent us for choosing this lifestyle for them. But we must hope that they will see the value in what we’ve given them and what we’ve spared them from. We must hope, because without hope we will be “of all men most miserable.”
The only thing I am certain about in homeschooling right now, is this: IT IS THE PERFECT WILL GOD FOR ME TO BE DOING THIS FOR MY CHILDREN RIGHT NOW! Even in my stumbling, imperfect way I am in the will of God and there is much joy to be had in that!