“You homeschool?” She blinks like I just told her that I eat broken glass. “I don’t know how you do it. I don’t have the patience/time/nerve.”
“It’s really not that bad,” I assure her. “I can write/clean/cook while they do their lessons. We love all the time we get to spend together as a family.” But she isn’t convinced, so I give up and we move on to less astonishing topics.
If you’ve homeschooled long enough to dull your sharpened pencils, you’ve had this conversation. “I’m not Superwoman,” you insist, but no one believes you, so you go back to your quiet home, cuddle up with your little ones, enjoy your favorite read-alouds and wonder why they are so amazed. Who wouldn’t want this gentle, idyllic life?
Then it happens. For me it’s usually 2:30 when child #2 admits that she’s skipped her science assignments all last week and child #4 is in tears over a writing assignment. The phone rings and it’s a friend on her way home from running her errands. She wants to chat as she heads to her clean house before the school bus drops her kids off. In despair, I look my chaotic children and realize I have a couple of hours of homework before I can work on my edits, or shower, or start dinner. Discontent begins to creep in.
“This is so hard,” I think. “I can’t do this any longer. Who do I think I am, Superwoman?”
Surprise, surprise. The lady was right after all. It is hard. It does wear you slick. It takes incredible amounts of patience, time and nerve to educate your children. Why do we deny this? Why do we pretend it can be accomplished with minimal effort?
We do ourselves a disservice when we “humbly” pretend that homeschooling is easy – that’s it’s for everyone – that it requires little sacrifice. If we trick ourselves into believing that, then we are unprepared for the tough days. We are shocked when the sacrifice hurts. We are frustrated when the price is high.
Guess what. If you are homeschooling, you are a superhero. You are doing a very difficult job with little encouragement or praise. Daily, you deal with fears of inadequacy, but you keep fighting the fight.
They were right. It does take a super strength to succeed, but the power isn’t in one amazing feat. It’s in a million small decisions. Be wary, be prepared, and on those tough days put on your cape and keep flying.
(This article was written for a homeschooling blog in 2011. Copyright retained by Regina Jennings.)