It's officially summer break for the Burt Family! I must say, it feels pretty good to have made it to the finish line. Although it's not exactly like running a marathon (my husband and oldest daughter are runners - so I've seen what a marathon does to a person!) homeschooling does require copious amounts of endurance, patience, perseverance, determination and plain old hard work. Despite all of my "research" and reading which have informed me that homeschooling can be easy (whatever that means!) I have come to the conclusion that it requires quite a bit of effort.
I mean, sure, there are tools we can employ and methods we might utilize to make our homeschooling days run more smoothly...but I don't think I could honestly describe my 12 years of homeschooling as truly easy. That does not mean I never have days that are filled with ease; I can relax and enjoy living in the moment while homeschooling.But perhaps my definition of the word "easy" is incorrect. Maybe I assume it means things aren't difficult. (BTW, I follow many of Charlotte Mason's methods & agree with her on almost everything - so my lack of "ease" is not due to my homeschool teaching style)
The last thing I want to do on this blog is discourage other homeschoolers (hence my weblog"s title...). But I also don't want to be dishonest with my fellow homeschooling moms. If I were to say that every day was a breeze, each subject taught to each child at each age has come as naturally as breathing, and all of my other domestic duties are taken care of with hardly a second thought on my part, well, you would either a) never read another thing I have to say or b) come to the conclusion that I'm delusional about the life of a homeschooler. Homeschooling isn't easy! But guess what? I don't think it would be nearly so rewarding and fulfilling if it were easy. Don't we tell our children that hard work can be it's own reward? That anything worth having is worth working for? Should homeschooling be any different? Maybe my thinking is what's incorrect...maybe homeschooling ought to be a little bit bigger than me. If it wasn't, I might not rely on Jesus nearly so much.
Warm weather has arrived here in South Central Kansas. I have traded my days of teaching and grading and planning for days of catching up on projects around the house and planning for next year school. I will catch myself having to work at enjoying the "easy" days of summer...because as hard as we work from September 'til May, I am always anxious to get back to work. And I think part of the reason I miss homeschooling even during our much deserved break is because it truly is hard work, and the hard work is worth all the effort.
Oh, just in case you were wondering what some of the fruits of my labors are...my 15 year old daughter is nearly finished with her first novel (written in Jane Austen style) and is planning to work on developing her own clothing line (modest for teenage girls with a very catchy product name)...my 12 year old daughter has completed several sewing projects and may begin to sell some of her work (after teaching herself to sew)...my 14 year old daughter is voraciously reading everything she can get her hands on and has taught herself to play the piano amazingly well...my 10 year old is embarking on a new path with the Lord as she opens her heart to Him in worship...and my 17 year old son is finishing up the last few requirements in order to apply to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (yup, he's swinging for the fence and applying to MIT).
Whether you are in your fist year of homeschooling or your twentieth, enjoy where you are today and realize that it's okay to admit homeschooling takes hard work. (For further discussion and encouragement on this topic I highly recomend Todd Wilson's book "Lies Homeschooling Mom's Believe") And just in case you feel as if you'll never reach the end of the journey, trust me, you'll get there. It will come upon you much more quickly than you think. And it will all be worth it.
Oh, one more thing. Lest you think that my children's recent accomplishments and goals seem kind of "pie-in-the-sky" unattainable and out of the ordinary - they're not out of reach. Your children have the ability to do all these things and more. You are able to prepare your child to apply to MIT...seriously, trust me on this one. If I could do it with no idea whatsoever that my son would be drawn like a magnet to such a school, then you can do it. Because God will do it through you. In fact, He already is, one day at a time.
Enjoy the fruit of your labor today - give yourself a pat on the back. You're doing great!
Day 31 done :)
Jan L. Burt