My day as a homeschooling mom is a lot like running on my treadmill.
I was not bred for running. I wasn't even bred to be athletic. When I was in Elementary school I was on the worst softball team in the section, The Sprouts. In High School I was on the swim team, but I wasn't in a rush so, consequently, I lost most of my swims. Okay, I lost all of them.
As I got older, with a few pregnancies under my belt and the extra weight that comes with them, I took to running.
This was to help my heart be stronger, get the blood pumping better, my muscles to get a good workout. I intersperse this with yoga, so I can give the muscles a good stretch.
But still: my body is not a runner's body.
If you were to look at me, you would agree that I just look maternal. My face is roundish, my body is roundish. When I do flex, you will never see the muscles underneath. I am not a runner, and yet I run.
Last night I was on the treadmill, trying desperately not to look at the timer (4:09min...I can do this...runrunrun...4:15min?! Seriously??) My mind was pacing back and forth between "I want this. I want to run. I want to be stronger. I want to be in better shape. This is a good thing."
"I could be sitting on the couch reading. I could be working on lesson plans. I could be drinking coffee right now. I could be relaxing. Happily."
Instead of relenting to what would be easier, I pressed on. By the end of the run, I advanced half a mile farther than the previous run.
But I was still tired, still out of shape, I hadn't magically lost 15 pounds from one run, and I knew I had to run tomorrow all over again.
I was just thinking of how similar my drive for running was to my drive for homeschooling. It isn't going to be finished in a day, and tomorrow we are going to look for the same pencils we are missing today. We haven't even begun on Calculus or "Lord of the Flies," but that's because we're still in 3rd grade! It is going to be a long, arduous road; but it is going to be worth every effort you make, every day you put into it, every year you complete.
The path of homeschooling is the path of Blood, Sweat and Tears.
Blood: Quite simply, you are teaching your own blood. Your students are your own kids, in your home with your hand-picked curriculums. Your schoolroom is the heartbeat of your children's education. Everything you put into the school day, all the effort of choosing what you study emanates from you. You are putting everything you got into this because you believe in your kids, and you believe in yourself!
At the same time, the days of high blood pressure because no one knows where any of the 50 pencils are, even though you just got them the other day. Someone has misplaced their math book and have a look in their eyes that questions whether they ever remember even having a math book in the first place...those days are hot blood days, for sure!
Sweat: Have you ever spent a weekend reorganizing the schoolroom, instead of relaxing outside in the sunshine? "These bookshelves need to go over here, and I'm going to put all of our history books over here, and now I'm going to redesign our lesson plans, and after that I'm rethinking English entirely."
You put a lot of sweat into your school, no two ways about it. Every wall has something hanging on it, and every scrap of fabric is kept just in case you need it for future school projects!
You also have those days where you are sweating bullets, wondering if this is going to work. The truth is, most of us spend a small percent of our week panicking that we aren't doing enough. Did the kids get enough out of our study on Greece? Could we have done more? What is the balance of schoolwork and childhood? What is the balance of teaching and being a Mom? Where are the boundaries of when we teach and when we play? We sweat, and we sweat hard.
That's the truth of it.
Tears: Oh sure, there are days when you are wrestling with the kids to get work done. You start rubbing your temples at 10:30 in the morning repeating to yourself, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this..." We have all had a few (or more) teary days, especially in the beginning. It seems like nothing is going right. We don't know what we're doing. What is going wrong, I had all this planned last week? Why have we regressed on subtraction all of a sudden? What is dyslexia? What books can help with dyslexia? How did the 2 year old get into the cereal, again?? Where is the 2 year old.....
But the tears when your 4 year old spells "Mom" for the first time are imprinted on your heart, I know it. When your child who struggles with reading finishes her first page for the first time and looks up at you with the biggest smile, just for you. After you have completed an entire book of multiplication after drilling the times tables into their heads for months...those tears are worth all the blood and sweat you guys have put into this. I remember being so overcome with emotion when my kids first learned how to read, when they figured something out, after a huge project was finished.
I have cried buckets of tears during my years of homeschooling, and every single one of those tears are worth diamonds.