For the first time in 5 years we are homeschooling with out homeschool friends or a group. I have always been a part of a homeschooling Mom’s group or a group meant for hs’ed kids, but we don’t have one here. And times are getting rough. We have decided to forgo the institution of public and private school in favor of the freedom of learning “off the grid”. Most of the time I am so very pleased with all of it. I love that my children are never made to feel stupid or slow. If they don’t understand something, they know that it’s normal to learn at a pace in which is comfortable, rather than following a stranger’s schedule. We are on the open road of education, standing on the founding pioneer homeschooling parent’s backs. Lately, I have been struggling with issues in homeschooling and I feel alone in it. I have turned to my books and my journal to express the struggle.
The hardest part of doing something that’s different is the lack of support when I need encouragement. My husband and myself have found that those who don’t have the same conviction, or understand the depth of ours, will very easily suggest that we give up. When I share about difficult seasons, the automatic response is always to put them in school, as if all our problems would be solved by sending them off several hours per day. We would still have the same problems, only less time together to work on them. The kids would be doing homework all night and we wouldn’t have time together as a family each night. Giving up would simply introduce a whole new set of problems.
It’s hurtful when others point out where I am lacking. I feel like homeschooling has placed me underneath a magnifying glass. It’s noticed when my kids aren’t doing something correctly, yet because I don’t brag on their homeschooling accomplishments, their achievements are never pointed out. When I am already feeling the strain of loneliness, and the pressure of teaching 3 kids without support from other hs moms, and we are working our tushies off in order to get through the homeschooling winter blues in tact, one comment is all it takes to tear me down. Yesterday I needed help and so my in laws came over to watch the boys so I could go to an appointment that lasted most of the morning. I had the kids all prepared to work independently and they each knew what to do. I tried to make the morning go as smoothly as possible for the in-laws since they were doing me such a big favor. My MIL is a retired teacher. And so often times she and my father in law will point out when the kids are not doing what kids in public school are doing. I operate on a different time-table than the schools, but trying to be open-minded I listen and don’t discount anything. Some day they may catch something that I miss. But, usually because I am homeschooling them all day, every day, I already know their strengths and weaknesses. Not wanting to seem ungrateful for the help that they are trying to give, I never know what to say. Yesterday I was told that my 4-year-old and 6-year-old start some of their letters at the bottom because they think it’s easier. I have been working on starting letters at the top and just like with my oldest, it may take a while, but I am sure the habit will get formed. I went on to ask about teaching tips from her years as a teacher and she didn’t have any. When kids came to her class with their habits formed, she didn’t instruct or correct them. I felt like I was being held to a higher standard which I already hold myself to, but think it’s weird when others hold me to it. If it’s okay when public schooled kids begin their letters at the bottom, why is it a big deal that we are still working on that skill and haven’t mastered it yet? It’s not, and so in my tender state, it stung a little.
I am willing to listen to anyone who wants to tell me what’s wrong with my kids, but unless they homeschool or I’ve asked for their advice, I let it roll off my shoulder like water off a duck’s back. Because I am feeling lonely, discouraged, and sad in my job as a full-time homemaker, these tidbits are like icing on the cake of failure. And I feel a twinge of anger. As a parent, I know at what point children reach certain milestones, both character-wise and educationally. I wonder how it would seem if I began pointing out where I see other children lacking? How many institutionally schooled kids are not 100% on point with what the almighty text-book instructs? I would never do that because I have not be delegated that responsibility. When you homeschool, everyone and their mother feels delegated the task of pointing out where they see weaknesses.
I am struggling right now and most of it is due to loneliness. I wish I had more friends in my fairly new hometown. What I need is encouragement and an ear to listen. Unfortunately, most people don’t believe in homeschooling as the superior method of education, except those doing it, and most college admissions staff. I don’t want to be told to give up. When I am struggling to get through the day, having weaknesses pointed out feels like a kick in the gut. I want to be encouraged to hang in there because I am doing what’s best for them. I want to be reminded that they are ahead in many ways and that we are together during these very impressionable years. I am raising them full-time and in society that’s not really the important job that the Word, who is Christ Himself, claims it to be.. In the end, I have decided that I am going to not only let comments go, but I am going to prepare for them and express Christ in return. I am aware that my state of being has made me super sensitive, and just like I want love shown when I am wrong in my ignorance on topics, I am going to give nothing but love and grace to those who are not knowledgable in areas of homeschooling.
Thank you for allowing me to share my hurting heart today. I turn to the Lord as I struggle through this season, knowing that my perseverance and sacrifice will produce fruit. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful week!