When I started thinking about this topic I made a list of home school challenges that we have faced over the years. Then I got out my pen and circled just one of them. It all boils down to this:
Sure, there were other things on the page: grown kids, extended family, unexpected remodeling, trouble with curriculum, and just plain burnout. None of that really matters. It still comes down to me and the fact that I need to make sure we don’t go off the rails.
Here is an example of how forgetting this plays out:
Kid #1- I don’t like this math book there aren’t enough pictures.
Kid #2- This math book has too many pictures.
You can see where this is going. I can’t tell you (without blushing) how many times I have sold and then re-bought the same book. And that was after hours of research to find the “perfect” replacement.
Solution: Four years ago I realized that I could actually tweak the book for whatever mood we were in at the time. Want pictures? Look at this website. Too many pictures? I’ll print out some problems or we’ll use the white board for awhile.
What if everyone is burnt out/bored?
It is still all on me. If things aren’t going well, it is entirely up to me to turn them around. I read all the time about going easy on yourself. (And that is true in dire circumstances. You know if that applies to you.) My problem is that it is so easy to apply those kind words to myself when in fact my kids and I are just feeling lazy.
Solution: Just do it. Really. It is your job. Find a way to remind yourself how important this all is. I wrote a list of the reasons that my kids are at home. I read it fairly often as a shot in the arm. The second part of this is realizing that my kids are never going to be enthused about most of this school work. Just like they aren’t overly thrilled about flossing or eating anything other than pizza. Just knowing that makes me feel better. It occurs to me that we all need more reminding that this homeschool gig is hard work.
The flip side to this makes it all worthwhile to me. I don’t have to complain about the busywork of brick and mortar school. We spend time on what each kid needs at that particular time – one day for long division or two weeks.
The best part of it all coming down to me is that it all comes down to me. When I realized that, it was like turning on the light.
Jen N. – Jen has spent her time homeschooling her five children since 2001. She has read over 5,000 books aloud. A fan of all things geeky, she calls her children her horcruxes — each one has a talent for something she might have pursued herself. Jen and her husband have created a family of quirky, creative people that they are thrilled to launch out into the world. With the three oldest graduated, Jen now has time on her hands and has started a blog: www.recreationalscholar.wordpress.com