I feel the need to unburden myself today, but please don’t tell the ladies at my homeschool group. If my secret were to get out, I fear I may be lynched as the chiefest of all hypocrites. At the very least, I’m sure that they would cross the street when passing me by so as to not be tainted with my particular brand of heresy. I hesitate to let it out here, but, I simply cannot hold it in any longer:
I hate homeschooling.
There. I said it. Is that thunder I hear? Am I to now be smote mightily?
I hate homeschooling. At least that is how I have felt this past week. We just got back in the homeschooling saddle after a blissful two week break. I thought I was ready. I was not. Each day has felt like one of those nightmare sequences in a horror flick. Running, running, running…and getting absolutely nowhere. A feeling of impending doom weighing me down as I try another direction and continue running. I wake up with no eagerness for the day whatsoever.
This is our dirty little secret, isn’t it? I know that some of you feel the same. I’ll eat my hat if at least a few of you aren’t wishing that Christmas break lasted just a bit longer. Like another 30 years or so. I know that some of you are weary and the thought of weeks on end until summer comes is enough to drive you to drink. Or worse, to rotting your brain with cheap romance novels.
Yes, this has been one of those weeks. But then, a few days ago a strange thing happened. A young mom mentioned that she is considering homeschooling her kids, but is terrified. “It’s awesome!” I said excitedly. “It’s so much fun! I absolutely love it!” The words just popped out of my mouth. Even as the glowing words gushed forth, a small voice in my head hissed, hy-po-crite! I honestly meant it when I said it, yet here I am today at the end of an utterly exhausting week wishing we did not have to continue this madness.
So I’ve been pondering this. Am I simply a bald-faced liar, brainwashed by the homeschool community into spreading their anti-social propaganda? Or can I reconcile two seemingly opposing statements; I hate homeschooling, and I love homeschooling?
Upon reflection, I believe I can reconcile them. It is true that I hate much of the ‘schooling’ part of homeschooling. The broccoli of academia. You know, teaching grammar and times tables and all of that mind-numbingly boring stuff. I detest most history, geology, and anything relating to physical science. I’m not very good at explaining math (praise God for teaching videos!) and I am not terribly patient with simple concepts of any kind. Truth be told, I just want to get the school work out of the way as quickly as possible so we can get down to the fun stuff!
I would much rather look at the alien life forms teeming in a drop of pond water under my microscope. Or point out the vast array of interesting creatures on the lawn, in the trees or swimming in the bay by our home. I love to read my children’s stories, untainted by the red pen of correction. Unsolicited oral reports of books they enjoy is sweet music to my ears. Our morning stretch time before ‘school’ is the highlight of my mornings. I love to play games with my young people, to hear them laugh and sing and play. I enjoy the thoughtful conversations with my teens, and the geeky television programs we enjoy together.
Even as I write this I find that I could go on and on ad nauseum about the things I love to do and learn with my kids. I just don’t care for the boring parts. The bits that, unfortunately, we must learn in order to fully grasp the fun stuff. Sigh.
So why do I, this week, feel as though I hate this calling of mine? Why do I feel like locking the door, crawling into bed, and sucking my thumb? Experience tells me that I am either in need of a change in educational focus, or I am in need of a spiritual refocus. It really is okay to stop the regular curriculum and play educational games for a day. Or a week. It is also okay to scrap your curriculum and go in another direction if your child needs that. On a spiritual level, when I feel this way I know that I am probably not focusing on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8) I sometimes forget how to simply soak in the unfathomable beauty of these young souls in my care.
I guess truth lies in both of my statements. I hate homeschooling. It’s hard. I dislike doing things that are difficult or uninteresting. But I love homeschooling too. It is fun and exciting to have the privilege of living and learning with these amazing people that the Lord has graciously given me for this season of my life. When I step back to view the bigger picture of this mission, the love wins out. Hands down. And in the end, when the last workbook is closed, I know…know in the depths of my being, that I will not regret a single moment of it!
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9, NLT)