For several reasons- all of them related to the state of my health- it has seemed like our homeschooling journey had come to a close. This year, I am really happy to see that this is not to be the case. One of my children will in fact be home this year, and although I wish I could homeschool all of my kids (at least the ones who haven’t graduated yet), I am glad that at least I can still go back to being home with this one.
I tend to be a bit heavy on the self-reflection though (maybe you’ve noticed that? hahahahaha), and one of the things I have to be honest about is the ways that I fell short with some of my other kids in the homeschooling arena. While officially I strove to create an atmosphere of independence in their learning, if I am going to be 100% truthful sometimes that was just an easy way of me shifting my responsibilities onto them. It is quite correct that in a perfect world I wanted my kids to all be internally motivated to learn at all times, and to learn what inspired them- to the point that they would want to “take the ball and run with it”. And for certain kids this worked wonderfully, and for certain kids less so. Had I been well and more on top of things, I might have had the stamina to work more intensively with those particular children and get on top of what was happening, but since I didn’t, certain things fell through the cracks. And although all of my children are certainly more than literate, in hindsight I wish I had done better. But, as Maya Angelou said, when you know better you do better.
So that’s what I’m hoping this time around. I’m hoping that I will be able to keep the lessons of the past in front of me on those days when I really feel like just crashing into bed. I’m hoping that I will get the fortitude to plow forward through schoolwork when what I really need to do is rest. I’m realizing that getting a do-over in life is a precious gift that happens very rarely and I really don’t want to squander it.
But at the same time I’m a little bit afraid. After all, I am not homeschooling my little ones for a reason. *h and I chose to give up on a principle that is very important to us because we saw that it just wasn’t a viable option given the reality of what I struggle with on a day-to-day basis. I am talking a lot to the child who will be home about being responsible for learning on the days I am not up to supervising- but this time coming from a different place. I am setting up systems that I hope will be easier to manage, and will be easier to maintain. This child is now older and wiser and also in a different head-space than the first time around. Whether this year will be a success remains to be seen, but the weight that I am attaching to it as an experience of redeeming the failures of the past almost dooms it to fail now.
So I know that what I really have to do is to free my mind and just do what I do well: teach my child. The irony of this year is that in order for it to succeed I have to remember the lessons of the past without staying mired in the past. The blessing of this year is that I have so many children going away and now I have one coming back. The crux of this year is that I will need to work on self-growth at least as much as I need to work on homeschooling. And maybe that will be the best lesson of all for my child to see.
Whatever happens, I’m sure I will keep you posted…