Oh yes, homeschool is on at the Compton house. We're getting back into the routine of math, language arts, handwriting, reading, Bible and Spanish. And, let's just be honest. Homeschool is one of the best, and hardest, things I've ever done. In some ways, harder than my first year of law school. Truly. Teaching my own kids is beautiful, and I love getting to do school with them. It's also hard. and messy. and exhausting.
I wish I could tell you that homeschool was easy. That no one ever cries during school time. That I never cry during school. I wish I could tell you that I never yell. Or that I never call Eric crying about how hard it is. Or, that during the first week of school, I cried no less than three times because I wondered what in the world I'm doing, and the first day of public or private schools had already come and gone, so it was way too late to register my kids . . . . and . . . wondering WHY am I homeschooling them? I'm totally ruining them. They are going to have huge gaps in their education. And thinking that they need to have a teacher, who isn't me, who will never snap at them because she isn't their mom and she'll get in trouble with her principal if she does.
Remember that the Lord's mercies are new every morning. Or, as a friend put it recently, the Lord's mercies are new every subject.
I'm thankful that the Lord made His calling for us to homeschool so clear. I'm thankful that I can look back and see exactly how He showed us that this is the journey He has for our family. Because when I'm really frustrated, discouraged, and questioning why in the world are we doing this, I have evidence that our family is exactly where He wants us.
I know that I could just blog away about the ideal parts of our life and the days of homeschool that are easy. Because those exist too. Some days are just a breeze. I love being with my kids. They love being home. They love learning. No one complains about having to do more math.
But, I know that I need to hear from other moms who are willing to say that homeschool is hard. That sometimes they want to quit. That they look with envy at the school bus as it goes by, and wonder what it would be like to put their kids on it and have a morning to themselves.
Marshall and Eliza are taking Spanish this year. Another homeschool mom, who used to teach bilingual education in the public schools, is teaching it. Last week was our first week of Spanish. And, for that hour, I had the chance to visit and receive encouragement from four other moms who homeschool. Every one of us shared that homeschool can be hard. and ugly. That we feel inadequate. Afraid that we are doing something wrong. Or not doing enough. Or that so many of our great ideas go un-implemented as we just try to survive getting through school, and laundry, and making dinner, and cleaning toilets.
And, you know, when I heard their honesty about homeschool, that it's not easy for them either, it made me want to keep going. Hearing about their struggles didn't discourage me. It encouraged me. I realized I wasn't alone. That these awesome moms who homeschool have just as much struggle as I do. And if they can do it, maybe I can too.
If I'd had silence from them. Or, if all I'd heard was that they didn't understand what I was talking about because it's just fun and easy for them, I probably would have been registering my kids at our local school the next day. At the very least, it would have shut me down, and I never would have been honest or vulnerable with them again.
Eric and I love author Todd Wilson, who speaks on the homeschool circuit. We heard him speak at the 2011 Oregon homeschool conference. And we often go back to his wisdom that "What is hard, is good. And what is good, is hard." I can't tell you how many times Eric has reminded me of those words when I've called him from our bedroom closet, hiding from our kids, to tell him that I just can't do this!
His book Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe brought me back from the ledge last week. His encouragement to be real with other moms made all the difference. I loved this quote: "Refuse to put your best foot forward as was the counsel of a prominent Christian leader, but instead put your "REAL" foot forward. Let the world see your failures and shortcomings and then demonstrate what God can do through your weaknesses. That's the power of being "REAL."
So, this year, I'm determined to be REAL as I blog about home school . . . and about life in general. To put our real foot forward. To show you the bad with the good. The messy with the beautiful. The frustration with the joy. And the failure with the victory. So that I can demonstrate that every victory belongs not to me, but to Jesus.