I was scrolling through some past newsletters and came upon this paragraph. In the article I was talking about the value of going on field trips, I’ll let you read it before I go on.
Sure, the boys probably giggled at the naked statues at the art museum, chatted with their friends while a docent was talking, or mindlessly played with the science exhibits without reading the information. However, they also, with continued, regular exposure, came to appreciate fine art, love poetry, respect nature, and comprehend the scope of history. I feel sure that it was the routine exposure to the world beyond our door, that has contributed to their thoughtful, seeking attitudes as adults.
A key to successful homeschooling is realizing that not every day is going to be exceptional. Most days, your kids will fight, lose their book, or complain that they hate to read (or write, or do math, or all three). Chances are good that tomorrow your kids won’t suddenly morph into Super Homeschool Child who wants to do extra Saxon lessons, read Plato (in Greek) and act out a Shakespeare play. Most of the time, you’ll just plod along, doing what comes next and hoping to catch up with the laundry.
And that’s okay!!!!!
There will be those amazing moments (not whole days…but moments) when your child makes a key connection, finds a book they can’t put down, or ask a particularly insightful questions and you’ll think…’YES! We are getting somewhere.’ Those moments are sprinkled in and keep us going. But if you are expecting those special moments to be the norm, you are going to be disappointed and you are going to be stressed.
The reality is educating a child isn’t that different than the rest of the parenting deal. Most of it is repetitive, hard work with a burst of the amazing thrown in. If you were expecting the arrival of a new baby to be a continual hallmark card moment with you as the ever calm Madonna, you probably had a pretty rude wake up call when that little bundle of joy arrived. There is no such thing as the perfect parent or the perfect child.
The same is true for homeschooling. Most of it is repetitive work with the burst of the amazing thrown in. If you have realistic expectations going in, you are far less likely to burn yourself out. Unrealistic expectations are stressful for everyone, especially your kids.
Being able to spend all of this time with your children is a gift. At times it may not seem like it, but your are doing a noble thing. You are giving your child time to be a child, you are giving them unhurried moments to learn and explore at their own pace, you are giving them more of yourself. In doing that, over the course of a year progress is made, even if the day to day struggles may not feel significant.
So let me repeat… with routine exposure to art, literature, nature, history, and math your child will learn. Each day, each step will add up to a journey, and before you know it, those kids will have picked up all sorts of skills and be ready to move on and begin the next adventure without you…but with the firm foundation you have provided for them.
So as you start school tomorrow know that you are doing a good thing. Know that the routine and regular days are the ‘stuff’ of life. Don’t let worry and preoccupation with not ‘being good enough’ rob you of noticing and appreciating the amazing moments.