Monday, January 30, 2017

Finding the Awesome in the Exhausting

Homeschooling friends, are you tired?

There are a lot of responsibilities and burdens that we take on in choosing to homeschool.  Where a public school employs teachers, cafeteria workers, janitors, lawn care workers, security staff, not to mention administrative staff and then sends the children home for their bathing, clothes laundering and other needs, a homeschooling family is in charge of all of these chores without an automatic reprieve.   It is our choice, of course, but it is no walk in the park.  Many of us live on one income or a second parent works at least part time to supplement income.  When families of small children first start homeschooling, there is a heavy burden of chores because the kids aren’t usually big enough to help take up the slack.  Whether it is your first year or your 12th year homeschooling, there are a lot of things that can make us weary.  If we’re drowning in deadlines, to-dos and relationships are frayed, it is really hard to remember all the reasons this homeschooling life is worth it.  Let me remind you of just a few.

Flexibility – Were you up half the night? Would you like to vacation in November? Is the 1st trimester of your pregnancy forcing life to almost stop?  When you homeschool, most everything can adjust.  Sleep in, take a month off or 3 and nothing is ruined.  Especially if you choose to school year round like we do, picking up where you left off last week or month is natural.

Consistency – You are in some manner in control of every subject and aspect of your child’s education.  This truth allows for a holistic approach to their life and in my book that is awesome!  Food relates to math; reading relates to self-discipline; patience relates to handwriting.  The lessons are continually being carried over, especially because you are consistently there to take notice.

Creativity – “Mom, do foxes eat people?” leads to an extensive study of foxes, their habits, their diet and a zillion videos, by request, not forced expectation.  Respecting schedules and meeting deadlines are important skills, but fostering an ever-growing love of learning is critical to success too.  Being in charge of 2 children’s school day (as opposed to 20 or 30) opens up all kinds of possibilities for the day’s lesson plans.
Relationship – No matter how you do the math, homeschooling your kids – even for just a few years – exponentially increases the amount of time you spend with them.  And that changes the relationship you will have.   Behavior issues – that often can’t be fully addressed at school – are front and center, which can be hard at first, but allows for real progress and growth.  Your children also witness so much more of your life.  This introvert knows the scarcity of alone time can be a casualty of war some days, but the increased investment of time, energy and love only builds a stronger relationship.  That is energizing to me!

Parenting in every circumstance is tiring.  Homeschooling can be quite a sacrifice in more ways than one.  Still, don’t let this beautiful time we get to share with our little legacies get burned up in bitterness, resentment or just plain old’ exhaustion, but instead let the advantages and ultimate purposes of homeschooling bring the energy to your day.

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