***I just came back to this blog to get it ramped up for a new school year, and found THIS POST waiting in my drafts, unpublished! Guess I'll just post it now as a reminder (to myself!) as we head into the new school year***
In my last post, I confessed to our family's latest insane endeavor, homeschooling. I got a comment (always thrilling!), and it reminded me of how crucial it was for me in the beginning (actually, it still is) to read and learn from other homeschooling parents' experiences. The idea of breaking away from an institution as rock-solid in our upbringing as public education was intruiguing and tempted me in a very sunshine-and-roses kind of way, but, in reality, it just seemed like pure madness.
Well, that's because it is. Every single day is complete insanity--the kind that leaves my brain realing as I try to fall asleep at night. I spend most evenings scouring the internet for a magic potion, a special incantation of motherly wisdom that will render my wee ones speechless and compliant, yet inspired and motivated to be enriched, educated, and productive. I fantasize that I will stumble upon the perfect combination of curriculum and disciplinary voodoo--surely, if I read enough blogs, someone will have the answer, right?! Once my children are entranced in this idyllic learning bliss, I will then turn the magic of the internet over to my household responsibilities. I will be organized, methodical, tidy. I will do yoga with them, have clean folded laundry (in our drawers even, not just strewn about in piles on the coffee table!), and have dinner simmering in a crockpot while we hang adorable Pinterest-inspired artwork to dry in our spotless and nice-smelling kitchen. Then I will become a master of time and space, and I will wiggle my nose at my business, adding several extra hours to the day for marketing, merchandising and paperwork...I'll even apply make-up before 3pm, at home and not ducked down behind the counter, hoping no customers will come in and laugh at the faces I make when I put on mascara...
Any day now, I'm just positive that I will find the trick. There isn't anything Google can't teach me, right? Right?!!
Alas, I haven't found any such spells. There are blogs with pretty pictures out there that make it look like their might be--but I've been on the interwebs long enough to know what's lurking in the corners just outside of the camera lens. Eventually, even the most perfect-seeming homeschool blog posts about a day when they wonder what could have ever possessed them to be doing this in the first place.
What I have learned from reading (obsessively) about other families' experiences is that homeschooling is messy, disorganized, and full of second-guessing and do-overs. There is no uniform experience, no can't-fail trick, no step-by-step formula for success.
In fact, I think it's safe to say that it is exactly like every other aspect of parenting that I've encountered. There is only one magic trick to making it all work: Love, and lots of it.