When I started homeschooling I approached it with all the brashness of youth. I was super-confident that it was the only way to go and that it almost guaranteed that all my children would turn out to be a cut above.
I began reading aloud chapter books to my oldest when he was 5 and his Kindergarten year still brings back fond memories. We went fishing everyday at lunch time.
Things went along pretty well until I had my 5th child and then I entered about 10 years of intense child-bearing, child-rearing and pretending to farm. One year I gave up completely on Morning Time and regret it to this day. Why didn't I give up math or science or that blasted farm? One year I bought Lifepacs for everyone. Everything was an experiment as far as our school went. Each year I tried whatever new thing I could afford. But except for that one year, I kept Morning Time.
The last 10 years things began to change. The boys started to grow up. 10 years ago they all lived at home. There were no more babies waking me up in the middle of the night, and then no more diapers and then one day I had taught all 9 of my children to read and to this day I consider that my greatest life achievement. But things were still very intense, even more intense. Launching children into the world is stressful. Give me a toddler any day.
Over all these years some of my students have been easy to teach and some difficult. Almost across the board 12th grade homeschool has felt like a giant tug of war with some give and take on all parts and anger and tears and second guessing.
Over those 10 years I lost all of my confidence, hubris and bravado about homeschooling. I squiggled and squirmed and looked for a way of escape and then mostly just muddled through.
And you know, all of sudden it seemed like everything was all right. None of my boys so far have grown up to be nerdy professors but they really did learn to understand and appreciate the value of learning. During the last 10 years boys have left our home to do all sorts of things
most of them pretty amazing and dangerously worrisome. We have had 3 weddings and
now almost 7 grandchildren. 3 are still in college playing baseball.
For years I was the mom with a homeschool of 7 or 8 students and a toddler. To tell the truth when moms with only a couple of students were weary, I didn't quite get it. Of course, it only takes one difficult child to disrupt a homeschool.
But this semester my school dropped from 4 students to 3. 3 easy pieces. It feels so good! Suddenly I am not madly treading water or standing at the edge of a cliff waving my arms in an insane attempt to steady myself from falling to the depths below. In 10 short years I went from overwhelming intensity to normalcy. Most days I am happy with what we have accomplished.
For years I went to bed deeply aware of all that had not happened during the day that should have. It was a bad feeling. And yet in spite of all the subjects I missed and holes I left in the education of my children, it still turned out all right. And now I know that even though I have everything nicely laid out and working well, that is not what really matters after all. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE IT but is not the thing.
The thing is that we are a Christian family and we live and love and learn, all of us, near and far, everyday, good times and bad. Homeschooling didn't save us after all; Jesus did that. But I am thankful God blessed us with this life.
"St Augustine defines virtue as ordo amoris, the ordinate condition of the affections in which every object is accorded that kind of degree of love which is appropriate to it.11 Aristotle says that the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought.12 When the age for reflective thought comes, the pupil who has been thus trained in 'ordinate affections' or 'just sentiments' will easily find the first principles in Ethics; but to the corrupt man they will never be visible at all and he can make no progress in that science.13 Plato before him had said the same. The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting and hateful."
CS Lewis The Abolition of Man
CS Lewis The Abolition of Man