Earlier this week I saw an article about a homeschool family that had sent all ten of their kids to college by the time they were twelve years old, and they're all doctors now, or some such thing. Wow, no pressure for the rest of us. We all know that homeschool family in our group, or that homeschool mom's blog that we read - they are excelling at everything academic and mom writes all their curriculum herself; the kids all help run the family business and take home all the blue ribbons from the 4-H fairs; their house is immaculate and everyone cheerfully helps to keep it that way. Makes you want to throw in the towel, doesn't it? Of course I'm exaggerating. And I think we all suspect that those families aren't quite as perfect as all that.
And that's why I laugh on those somewhat rare occasions when someone says something to me about "not knowing how you get so much done" - HA! If only they knew...
-how often the kids sleep late and I neglect to wake them when I should. (and how often they go back to sleep even after I do wake them!)
-how much I struggle with time management, especially knowing that I have to model that for my kids
-how often the housework is neglected, supposedly because of school, but truthfully more because we just didn't plan our day very efficiently
-how often I hear complaints and whining about school - even subjects they like!
-how inadequate I feel and how often I second-guess how we've gone about this whole homeschooling thing. Did I choose the right curriculum? Was I too easy on them? Did we cover enough material? Should we have switched curriculum sooner/later/not at all? Should I have taken a struggle more seriously? Did I obsess about something that didn't really matter?
These last questions, and many like them, are the ones that haunt me when I let them. I have to remind myself that we did the best we could, and are now doing the best we can. For each kid, and in our circumstances. I can feel bad about our oldest two never being dual-enrolled at the community college during their last couple years of high school... or I can remember that we live 45 minutes away from that college and didn't have a vehicle to spare, and that it simply wouldn't have benefited our boys enough to justify the headaches it would have caused to do that. I can beat myself up for not insisting on music lessons, not including Latin study, or not doing 'enough' of whatever subject area it appears to me that all the 'other' homeschoolers are excelling at... or I can remember that I am covering the subjects that my kids need in the best way I can for them.
We are not that homeschool family. We're us. Our reality is that we all tend to be night owls, so sometimes we sleep in, or get a sluggish start in the morning. But we all get up and get to our jobs or appointments or commitments on time, even when they are very early. Our reality is that we sometimes argue and have bad attitudes and bad habits. But we also resolve arguments and usually get along and enjoy each other and help each other out. Our reality is that our house is a bit too cluttered and chaotic. But we live here, and we can and do clean it up and try to get more organized. Our reality is that we don't qualify for every scholarship that comes along, and our kids don't necessarily want to spend all their time reading and studying. We like watching sports, goofy comedy shows and superhero action movies more than we like watching documentaries or reading and discussing great novels together. But we're providing a well-rounded education anyway, and exposing our kids to enough good literature and learning so they can pursue what interests them. Our reality is that we have a kid that wants to be a radio DJ, a kid that wants to own a trash company, a kid that still doesn't know what he wants to do, and a kid that changes her mind almost weekly. But that kid that wants to be a DJ is already working in that job and is good at it. Our kids are developing good work ethics, and pursuing their interests, and most importantly - they are all committed to following Jesus, and if they answer that call they will find the kind of success that is more important than scoring the big scholarship or landing the highest-paying job. We need to stop comparing ourselves to other families and to unrealistic ideals.
Sometimes I need to remind myself to keep it real, and keep my eye on the real goal and the real reason we decided to homeschool in the first place - to disciple these kids as we educate them.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)
Please visit Ben and Me: K is for Kicking Off Summer to join in and to see what thoughts this week's letter has prompted for other bloggers.
This post was added to the Throwback Thursday Blog-Style link-up hosted by Tots and Me... Growing Up Together! on June 2, 2016.