One of my very favorite childhood books is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper.
(This version, actually)
I love it so much, and believe its message is so important I read it to my guys at least weekly about the time we start school, until it has thoroughly soaked into their brains and oozes out their pores.
Oh please, what mother isn’t above a little brainwashing?
This time of year there are lots of people searching for reassurance that they can homeschool their child(ren), and as homeschool bloggers, almost every single one will post a positive spin on how easily homeschooling can be done. There is totally a “You Can Do It” attitude that is pushed out there.
Let me just ask here, and slightly interrupt your train of thought, when was the last time you heard a recent report of a parent doing some “evil” thing to their child? (This brings to mind the thought that nearly anyone can be a parent, but should they be?)
Personally, at the end of every year, I am not the person to give someone the “feel-goods” about homeschooling. In fact, I don’t know that I am ever that person, but most assuredly not at the end of a school year. Therefore, I try to keep my trap shut during this period of time when everyone wants to wax poetic about the whole homeschooling process. But, maybe it would be more beneficial for people to hear from someone like me.
I think the thing that kills me the most is reading blog posts that make me think of kids skipping through a field of wildflowers to get to the waiting picnic where they will eat a delicious and nutritious meal, before they set out on their afternoon learning adventures which will include poetry readings, nature studies, and realistic watercolor paintings alá Beatrix Potter. (While I’ve never actually read a post exactly like this, I have read more than a few that present that feeling.)
My experience makes me think of the battlefield of war. The tiresome experience of it. The day-in-day-out drudgery. The sporadic, but constant skirmishes. The distant rat-a-tats that are pounding on your senses. The orders that are too garbled to quite make out simply due to the amount of noise that is constantly around you. And this is all before breakfast.
It matters not that the day prior we had an awesome science experiment, or a really cool art project, or that something finally “clicked” in math, or that the kids were just dying when I stopped reading that story right at the cliff-hanger. They simply don’t want to do school. And to top that off. . .neither do I! (I’ve already done years, and years, and years of school and to be perfectly honest, I’d love a break from it.)
I know I am not alone in feeling like this. Most of my friends are homeschoolers after all. There are phone calls that involve tears, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. There are also conversations of rejoicing and support. It is not always bad, nor is it always rose-colored, and I want to be realistic, so you can decide for yourself if you can do it. I can not possibly cover all that there is in a single post; therefore, this will become of series of posts, (hopefully thought-provoking and relevant).
We are going to start our next school year this coming week. I will not go into it with my hair perfectly done, my nails manicured, in the perfect little sundress, or with my face painted. . .(well, maybe, just not the way you would expect.)
I will attack this new year with combat boots on (and maybe some camouflage upon my face, so I can hide from the locals).
PS This is a series of topics, in no particular order, that will be added to as they are written: