Monday, August 22, 2011

The myth of the "homeschool" mom...

    I know that I haven't blogged in a while, partly because this last month of summer I was just trying to pull my life together.  When I feel disorganized I certainly don't feel like blogging about homeschooling or mothering since I feel like I am not as put together as I should be. 

   So, imagine my surprise over the last couple weeks when people keep telling me that I seem to have it all together.   Then last week at a homeschool park day a mom shared that she was having a rough time and felt like she must be doing it wrong because the rest of us seemed to have it all down.

  And that's when I realized that I should be blogging about my crazy and sometimes chaotic life.  I wanted to blog to give other moms helpful tips and things I've done that have worked well, but I think they are also needing the truth of what the live of homeschool moms really look like.

   The myth of the homeschool mom is that her kids are sitting down to school (which everyone is so excited to do) at precisely the time they are supposed to, dressed and with their morning chores done.  They listen to her read without interruption (or raise their hand if they need something) and then go and do their work.  No one yells or cries, and everyone LOVES homeschooling.

   Now, since I have 6 children and have manged to homeschool without causing serious bodily harm to any of them people assume this is my life.  Or they assume that anyone who can homeschool 6 children has some sort of saintly type qualities. So, let me assure you that I am not a saint and the only reason I have succeeded at all is by the grace of God.  I also want to assure you that I do have bad days around here, and not just bad like we couldn't get everything done, or bad like no one cooperated and everyone lost privileges for the day.  I'm talking bad like there was loss of privileges and the continued bad behavior until there was some yelling and then crying on mom's part, and on a really bad day she may even breathe the threat "Maybe I should just send you to Public School."

   Now, I am not justifying this behavior.  And I am willing to believe that there are some moms who never go there, but I really think from my experiences of talking with other homeschool moms we all have some days like this, and we all have a couple of those really bad days.  But those days are not a failure if we turn around the next day and do better, or even if we just manage to get up the next day and try it again.  Marriage, mothering, and homeschooling are exercises in character for us just as they are for our children.   I shouldn't be yelling at my children, but my character is flawed and some days under extreme pressure it shows.  The blessing of learning that is that I can make the changes I need. 

   And I think that is the real heart of a homeschooling mom.   A flawed woman who wants to do what's best for her children and her family; who wants to follow God's leading and bring Him glory, but gets tripped up daily by her own character flaws as well as her response to her children's character flaws and after some weeping and praying gets back up and tries not to trip over the same things again.

    So, for those of you who have started school and are having a rough time of it, we have all been there.  Character training takes years, and just so you know my children are often sitting down at the table eating breakfast in their PJ's when I come up to get school started, and some of the teenagers have not even gotten out of bed yet.  I have a couple of children who do not like school at all, one who is disruptive nearly every day and a dog who always seems to need a walk in the middle of history.  My kids routinely seem to disappear into the bathroom while I am in the middle of reading aloud, or get up for a snack (which makes everyone else hungry for a snack too).  I have children who cry (even when I am calmly explaining something) and some days I make the children cry by the things I say or do.  But I love that my children are growing up at home, that we are learning together, that God is using the character flaws in our family to make all of us better people, and that there are good days and brief moments that make it all worth it.    Our family (and our character) grows stronger little by little, not in one day of homeschooling. 


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