Rummaging through some old CDs, I recently came across one from my previous life, also known as my life-before-kids. It was a CD by Jim Rohn. If you don’t know who that is, you should look him up. (I am still shaking my head at the fact that I found this just as the point at which I am beginning to see the importance of classical education for my children as well as for me, but I digress.) Anyway, so I’ve been subjecting my children to this CD in the car. (Sorry, not sorry, kids.)
One of the biggest things he says is that if you want to change your life, you have to rethink your philosophy. He admits this was a hard thing for him to do when he was young, but with the help of his mentor – and a library – he succeeded in turning his life around.
I want to scream this fact about changing your philosophy from the rooftops often lately. Because there seems to be this odd notion that homeschooling is supposed to be fun. And there seems to be much handwringing and complaining that their days are MOST definitely NOT fun, so of course they must be doing something wrong.
Maybe it’s because it’s the time of the school year when things get down to brass tacks; we’re no longer writing a curriculum and dreaming about it, the smell of new textbooks has faded, there are tears, there are sacrifices to be made – it’s time to dig in and do the work.
But work is work. It can be fun, but it’s not fun, at least not in the way most people seem to think of fun.
Homeschooling is not like watching a movie or making sandcastles. It is not like reading a good book with a warm cup of coffee on a rainy day. In fact, in a lot of ways it is more like training for a marathon; it is like learning to play a musical instrument. It is labor.
Here’s the caveat, however: it is also a skill at which you get better with time and patience.
When people say to me that they suck at teaching their kids, I have to commiserate. Tell you what, so do I. But I’m getting better. No one, but no one has sat at a piano for the first time and played Ode to Joy. It is a skill, learnt by degrees – with patience and much failure.
Someday, after you have run that marathon, you will see running as enjoyable. If you persist in learning to play, that concerto will be something you look forward to, but in the present, you have to look for other things to measure your delight – finishing a workbook, checking off curriculum, sticking to the budget, reading to the children, parameters that don’t, in the grand scheme of things, seem to mean much.
So, change your philosophy about homeschooling, moms! Take heart. Have patience. Practice your skill.
Most of all, rethink your definitions. Especially that of fun.