The Heart of Homeschooling

Last week I hit one of those walls.  I had worked hard on simplifying our homeschool and it worked.  Everything was running like clockwork.  The kids hardly needed me for anything!  I gave them a list of things to do and they did them.  In fact, during one of those first trimester mornings ,I needed sleep.  I mean I neededsleep!  And you know what?

They didn’t need me.

Lily stepped in, checked their work and made lunch.  When I woke up, we were ready to eat and everyone was almost done.  

The next morning I sat on the couch after just finishing working on poetry memorization with the kids, my knitting in my lap, and I looked at the kids working away at the table.  The younger ones were playing in the playroom.  And I was struck with a horrible thought.

Everything was running smoothly.  Workbooks were out, they were getting done, and everyone was plugging along.  It seems like a homeschooling dream…

Or does it?

Truth is it was boring.  B-O-R-I-N-G.

I started talking to my husband, lamenting that everything was so boring and that maybe the kids should go to brick and mortar schools.  He talked me down.  I am so lucky to have him be so supportive of homeschooling, even more than I am!  And then he asked, “Are the kids bored?”

I stopped and I thought about it.  I didn’t think so.  I think they actually liked some of it.  Some I knew they would rather see flung out the window, but generally they seemed content.  I still had this inkling though that it wouldn’t last.  That this sitting at the table and filling out workbooks and being drilled by me every so often was going to lead to nothing good, possibly something worse than boredom… Mutiny!

I have been homeschooling for over a decade and have taught every grade.  If there is one thing I know for sure there is always a calm before a storm. 

You might think that I am over thinking this.  That if the kids seem content than, logically, I should be too.  I was asking myself those very same questions.  What was wrong with me?  Why wasn’t I pleased as punch?

Because I was bored.

That struck me quite strongly.  That if we as homeschooling parents are bored we are not likely going to keep with it either.  Maybe the mutiny was my own, seething under the surface.  I was getting nothing out of this new method of schooling at all.  I didn’t get fun stories.  I didn’t even get special one on one time doing something lovely with them.  It was all, “Stand and recite the poem.”  “Sit here and recite the states and their capitals.”  5 minutes later they were back at the table.

That was not what I signed up for.  My reasons for homeschooling were vast and born out of frustration, really.  I wanted what was best for my family and that includes me.  How selfish!  I know.  I wanted more one on one time with my kids.  I wanted to be able to learn with them and explore fabulous new places and have adventures with them.  Handing them a workbook wasn’t cutting it.

So, luckily, this week is spring break.  I have been scouring the internet and trying to find inspiration.  I know that with a baby coming this October I can’t be super mom.  I have really appreciated the posts from Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things about Teaching From a State of Rest.  Unfortunately, I think I started teaching from a state of coma!

What I came to realize, more than anything, is that homeschooling is a journey and it isn’t one your kids do on their own.  The best homeschool is the one where mom and dad get to learn too.  No matter what philosophy you follow or what label you put on your school, the heart of homeschooling is family.  

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