So here’s the deal. If you ask a homeschooler how they like homeschooling, most of the time you will get an honest answer, but it’s usually “prettied up”. I don’t think most homeschoolers want to tell people how hard it is. I think most of us are hoping for more people and friends to join them. Telling them the brutal parts would surely scare them off. I also think that maybe they don’t want to say it out loud and acknowledge it sometimes. Maybe? Who knows. Well….I’m a brutal truth kind of gal. This is part of my charm…or so I tell myself. HA! Anyway. Today I want to address the uncomfortable truth about homeschooling. Are you ready?
It NEVER ends!!!!!!!!!
Yes. That’s it. That’s the truth no one talks about. If you decide to take the homeschooling journey, you have to be ready to accept that. You have to be prepared for never being able to stop. Never being able to escape. Never being allowed to veg out. Maintaining a constant vigil over all. Always making decisions. Always researching. Always, always, always being on. It’s like mom-ing (totally a word) to the nth degree.
In short, homeschooling is exhausting.
I seriously have days when I just want to not be in charge of everybody and everything. I want to just go to the gym, visit with a sister on the phone for an hour, write poetry, watch a show, etc. I do. I totally have days like that.
I also have moments when I am just so sick and tired of the mess. Why? Because homeschooling is messy. Why? Because your children are home all day long. There are many people in the house. Many mouths to feed. Many dishes to do. Many rooms to constantly tidy up. Many projects to clean up after. Having your children home all day just means you have many much work to do…all day. (And yes. I meant to say “many much”.)
For instance, three days ago I decided to try and see if my girls could maintain their room without me “checking” it. I did this for two days. For two glorious days I didn’t check their room when they assured me it was clean. Then yesterday I decided to see how they were doing. Oh. My. Word. My inner self sat on the floor and wept. “Why?!” she cried. “Why must I always be on top of everything?!” And then my outer self helped the girls clean. We reviewed again the proper way to clean, what is acceptable (shoes actually in the closet) and what is not (ripped up papers in drawers, for example, because trash is somehow special?!).
Then my son wanted some help with reading. Do you have any idea how hard it is to go from cleaning the girls’ room in a frazzled state to immediately transitioning to being a calm and patient reading tutor?! Do you?! If not, let me tell you what it’s like. It’s like fighting a raging fire and then being told that you need to put the baby to sleep…now. There is no flow. No time to mentally transition.
It’s hard to homeschool. I have never in my life been so stretched, so worked, or so tired.
Yes. It’s hard. It’s exhausting. It’s also terrifying (another uncomfortable truth). But it is the best choice we have made for our family to this day.
I love having my children with me all day. I love watching their relationships with each other grow in love and respect. I love being the one present for breakthroughs. I love being their most trusted confidante in all things. I love the fun we have. I love watching them read a book and learn. I love doing experiments with them. I love making plans with them. I love doing service with them.
These things aren’t always enough, though. So how do I maintain when I just want to run away? I find my happy. Mine alone. Every day I do at least one thing (sometimes I need three or four) that will make me smile, that will saturate me with the feeling of happiness.
Sometimes I watch Bollywood. Sometimes I eat chocolate and peanut butter. Sometimes I listen to my music (like System of a Down, Disturbed, AC/DC, Metallica, etc.) really loud. Sometimes I take a nap. Sometimes I dance around the house. Sometimes I write. Many times I read. (OK. I do that every day.) Usually I exercise (walk or go to the gym and such.) But no matter what, I always find my happy for the day.
The other day I was in desperate need of a happy place. Aside from just life, I was also terribly homesick. I haven’t seen my family in ages. I wanted to be in Wyoming again…badly. Then the most wonderful thing happened. The wind picked up and really started blowing, just like Wyoming. It felt like it was just for me even though I know it wasn’t. I took down my hair from it’s messy bun and went on a walk.
Joy. Absolute delight. I walked. The wind blew my hair all over. I watched trees and plants bend in the wind. I sat on a rock to just enjoy the feeling of the wind. My mind was still. I was happy. It was just enough wind to fill the aching spot in my heart, the part that missed the Wyoming wind and plains. By the time I came home again, I was ready.
I was happy, so I was ready to do and be everything that being a homeschool mom needs to do and be.
That’s the uncomfortable truth. Homeschooling is difficult and trying. But it can be done if you are willing to dedicate the proper amount of effort to your own happiness. I actually think this works for life in general, but especially when you are doing something hard…like homeschooling.
Take It, and Be Thankful