Listen, homeschooling is tough. Nothing in my life feels more right or more important or more fulfilling than homeschooling my kids, but, no question, it’s also one of the most difficult and exhausting things I’ve ever tried to do. It requires a level of trust in God and commitment to others, (in this case, my children,) that nothing else I do demands. And of course such an intense dedication of willpower and brainpower will take its toll after a few months.I start longing for summer. About mid-April, milking every ounce of inspiration I can from the post-homeschool convention boost and counting days on a calendar like a kid awaiting Christmas, I see the finish line in view and hobble my way toward it. Almost…there. Just a little….further. If…I can…just…..make it……
Then something begins to happen. It starts with this mournful little feeling that the kids and I are going our separate directions too much, that I kind of miss the nice, orderly way we used to start our mornings together. Suddenly I have a renewed interest in the books I’ve already purchased for the coming school year. I might pick one up and flip through it. Which reminds me of the book I meant to buy and never did. Then I’m scouring Amazon. And Rainbow Resources. And eBay. And Rainbow Resources again.
And what was that book I wanted to use for read aloud? I remember and jot it down. And I jot down others. And I make another note. And another. All about homeschooling.
Then I notice my school supplies. Do I have enough glue sticks? Cap erasers? I need more notebooks I jot another note. Maybe things need to be reorganized a little. I move stuff around. I shuffle flashcards and stack math manipulatives. And I realize I’m enjoying this. Which surely makes me a total nerd.
And then I look at my house. Wow, what a mess! Has it been truly clean at all this summer? I realize how spotty I’ve been about making the kids do their chores. And how spotty I’ve been about doing them myself! And I look at books again. And the one I ordered comes in the mail and I like it. A lot. And I can’t wait to use it.
And I decide I’m a little sick of sleeping in. I miss that early morning, up-before-the-kids time. I find myself wanting my schedule back. I realize I miss my…gulp…STRUCTURE.
It doesn’t happen overnight; there are a few weeks of recovery time necessary in-between, but I never cease to be amazed how the very practice that has me so expended and exhausted in late spring is the same thing that excites and motivates me in late summer. The strength that was depleted is renewed. The inspiration that was drained revives. The peace and the purpose return and I find myself looking at another school year, not with the dread I might have felt in late May, but with all the excitement and enthusiasm of a new beginning and a new day set in late August.
I call it the “Ready to Get Back to Homeschooling Phenomenon.” It’s a colossal change of heart. A burst of hope. A special gift of grace.
Without it, I couldn’t do this.
But with it, I can tell you I’m ready, and EXCITED, to get back to homeschooling.
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