A few years back I had a homeschool blog, devoted to what we ‘did’ all day. It eventually fizzled out due, in part, to the fact that I felt like I was justifying our homeschool journey a lot of the time by trying to make what we do all day seem educational and inspirational.
It isn’t. A lot of the time is spent in mundane things. I know that everything can be an opportunity for learning – everything. And yet, there are some days that all I want to do is hook the kids up to an IV drip of TV and go back to bed. But of course I don’t. Because, for one, we don’t have a TV and secondly, I have a conscience… but not everyday is spent frolicking through the mountain-tops singing ‘Doe a Deer’ and ‘The Hills Are Alive’. Some days it’s all we can do to get through to bedtime without getting a divorce and stabbing each other.
I lost interest in trying to defend our choice to have our children educated by ourselves. I got tired of trying to prove my children’s capacity to learn. Most often the work we do is not inspirational; it is crappy worksheets. And sometimes the worksheets are the best part of the day.
Sometimes I get lost in the insanity of it all; the need to compare my children to ‘schooled’ children; the worry if we are doing a good enough job; the fretting that my children would have a much better quality of life if they were in school with all the mod cons that schools offer….or even just away from ME giving them such crappy things to imbibe and mirror… some days Valerian tea doesn’t cut it and my worry extends into anxiety….
But then I stop and look. I notice the positives in this insanity. Or I call a friend and they talk me down off the ledge. And I don’t sweat the small stuff; I see the big picture again.
This work we do is bigger than a score sheet of test results; it is bigger than a person’s eventual tax return. It is person forming, family forming. This intense life is where we forge people, relationships, to form links, one at a time, to make memories, to make a HOME.
They say it is easier to raise strong boys than to fix broken men and it is an overlooked and much maligned task, this raising of a generation, this building a home and forming men. But if society is made up of children grown into power-wielding adults then there can be no greater task than this.
Perhaps my children will never have a bunsen burner, but they will have all the love, all the attention, all the time spent making their childhood as wholesome and as healthy as nurturing and as merciful as we can muster. We will, by the will of God, try to make their memories happy ones, their childhood a sweet refuge, a role model for their own parenting, because they know, despite our short-comings, that we each would take a bullet several times over for these muppets. And I suppose, when it all comes down to it, knowing you are that loved, that you are that worthwhile bothering over, knowing someone has your back at all times, at all costs, that that is heavier on the scales than anything else on offer.
And sometimes I need to tell myself this more often.
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