Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yup. Me, too.

Danielle Bean sums up so much so well.

I have a confession: I don't read that much about homeschooling anymore.

Not because there aren't a million inspirational, wise, funny, interesting homeschoolers out there. There are. And not because there aren't terrific books, and stories, and ideas. There are.

And not because I've got everything figured out. I don't. I have my own blind spots, failures, regrets, worries, selfishness, and pride.

It's just that, well, I've got it figured out.

Not IT. Not "Life in all of its glorious meaning and the perfect way to live, breathe, and homeschool, parent, and exist on a day to day basis without stress or strife, pride, or judgement."

No, no, no. No one has that figured out, people.

The it I have figured out is my style. My strengths and weaknesses. My husband's style. My daughters -- their styles, strengths, and weaknesses. We took that stuff and ran with it, knowing the years would go quickly, there would be gaps, standards may have to be lowered, a la Dave Barry, that it will not be perfect, and there would be times I'd think I couldn't do it.

The it I know is this: one of the reasons we started homeschooling was to treat our kids as individuals, and individuals don't fit neatly into pre-cut boxes labeled "Homeschooler." They will not uniformly love math, grow up to be astronauts, priests, or nuns, get certain scores on ACT tests, or live their faith and their lives so perfectly that they will be mistaken for the Blessed Mother. Not all homeschoolers will love reading, play sports, or even enjoy the company of other homeschoolers (because that depends on what kind of individual that other homeschooler is, right?)

My kids are just individuals. They are just people. Sometimes they're as weird and different and out of the mainstream as their dad and I are; sometimes they flow with the mainstream quite nicely. Sometimes they are helpful and giving beyond belief, sometimes they are selfish. Some days they're blissful and feel blessed, some days they are sad and feel put-upon.

Hey ... they're just like me. They fit neatly into the box called Fallen Human.

And homeschooling is just one way to educate fallen humans. It's a way we love, to be sure. It's a way that I think can work beautifully, despite its challenges, for a lot of people. But I also know it's not for everyone.

It is, however, a way of life that has allowed Atticus and me to stay focused on our main goal in life: relationship.

Our relationship with each other.
Relationship with our kids.
Relationship with God.

To sum it up, I guess the only thing I have figured out is that I love this busy, weird, individual life we're living, and I know that there's not a singly perfect way to live it. I long ago let go of caring what our homeschool looks like to the world. We know it's working out (in that fallen, messy way), and that's what counts the most to us.

Thanks, Danielle, for the impetus to reflect and blog today, and thanks, Atticus, Anne-with-an-e, Betsy Ray, and Ramona, for caring as much about our relationships as I do.

And now? I'm tired, so I'm going to have another cup of coffee. Because I have a huge blind spot when it comes to whether or not I've had too much caffeine.


ETA: The link that mentions pegs, in the post Twelve Things I've Learned in (Almost) Twelve Years of Homeschooling, is broken. Here's a new link, to Melissa Wiley's blog, that explains the idea of pegs, which first came to us from Leonie at Living Without School.


Charlotte (WaltzingM) said...

This is perfect! I'm letting my kids read it too.

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks, Charlotte! :)

9peasMom said...

I love this, thanks to Charlotte for sharing it on FB.

Karen M said...

This is a refreshing read! I would really like toread about Pegs from your linked-to post, but neither of the links go through. Could you summarize or add some new links?

Karen Edmisten said...

Thanks, 9Peas Mom!

Karen M., so sorry about the links! Grrr. Annoying when that happens to old links.

Here's a reliable one, from Melissa Wiley: Nuts, Bolts, and Pegs. That one explains the idea.