Based on the post title, you can probably guess about the type of day I had; trouble with our old desktop and older laptop, everyone having a crisis at the exact. same. time., tears, screaming and I repeated the same set of instructions at least 4,598 times. It was the type of day were I pulled my husband into the kitchen and unloaded a tirade of complaints, fears, worries and multiple four letter words.
And today wasn’t an anomaly or a fluke. I’ve experienced many days like it through out my years of homeschooling. Occasionally, I will lose a whole week to anger and frustration, usually throwing my hands up in exasperation by Wednesday and barely finishing the bare minimum in assignments by Friday.
To those of you who do not homeschool, I’m sure you’re either confused as to why I continue to put myself and my family through this experience or nodding in silent satisfaction at knowing you’ve made the right decision by avoiding homeschooling like the plague. You may even mutter under your breath, “Why doesn’t she just put them in school?!?”
I’d reply, “Because there is no perfect method of education.” Everyone has bad days, and I’ve learned I’d rather take the worst homeschooling days than the worst public school days. The bad homeschooling days that seem so unimaginable to you, are as familiar to me as the struggles you face on a regular basis as a school parent. (There’s no shortage of bloggers sharing private/public school struggles to counter my homeschooling tell-alls.)
Obviously I believe that homeschooling is the best method of education That’s why I devote so much time and effort into it. But if you’ve decided that public school or private school is the best method of education I’m guessing you devote a whole lot of time and energy into it too, though in different ways.
Maybe you uniform shop, attend school functions, PTA meetings, sit in pickup lines or sit next to your child for hours to help with endless math homework. When it all gets to be too much and you need to vent, you probably don’t want me to quip “Why don’t you just homeschool?!?” You’ve chosen what you feel is the best educational method for your family and you’re willing to take the bad with the good.
Even if the situation had gotten bad enough and you found yourself considering homeschooling (as many homeschoolers have considered their local private schools in moments of desperation) when the dust settles, often we find the solution is not a radical departure from our established path, but a new outlook or small change that can minimize or eliminate a tough situation.
We are our children’s primary educators- period. No child will have successful academic career (however you may define it) without a caring, involved parent, or parents. We may turn over some of our responsibility to schools, tutors, online classes, etc. but we are the determining factor in how prepared our children are for adulthood and the world at large.
I choose homeschooling because I don’t want to outsource my role as primary educator to a school for 180 days out of the year. That means I spend a lot of time with my kids, I willingly sacrifice the neatness of my house, my hobbies and sometimes my sanity. It means I’m going to have bad days as a teacher, as a mom, and as a homemaker, but I’m okay with that. My husband is okay with that. Because the payoffs are huge. The benefits are so immense to our family and my children’s spiritual, emotional, physical and mental growth. Homeschooling is a huge investment, but one that has paid us back exponentially I can honestly say that, even after a horrible, no good, very bad day.
My question to you now is, are you getting the return on your investment? Can you sit down, at the end of the day with a glass of wine, rant at length to your husband or a friend, and still say “But I still believe homeschooling / my children’s school is the best option.” ?
If your homeschool experience is the opposite of mine: you do so reluctantly, with anger, regret and can see no positive return, something needs to change. If your child(ren) is/are enrolled in school, are you happy with their growth? Do you take the bad days in stride knowing that the school you’ve charged with the care of your child is doing it’s best? Or is sending your child to school causing problems for your child or your family?
All parents should reevaluate year by year their chosen educational method. We should never accept things as they are because they’ve always been that way, and proceed blindly ahead. We don’t always need to radically change course, but, sometimes we do. We won’t realize it though, if we don’t stop and pray for guidance. (And as a reminder, I now offer homeschool consulting; let’s work together to figure out what’s working in your homeschool and what can be improved.)
Today sucked. But tomorrow, I’ll do it again and for many more weeks this year knowing my whole school year will far from suck. If I compared my school to the stock market, I’d admit that today we took a hit, but tomorrow, I expect things to rise again. What about you? Where is your year headed? Are you dealing primarily with a bull or bear market?