One day, they will graduate.
But today, books sprawl open, brazenly soaking up a cool winter sunbeam that reaches across the middle of the table. A grammar worksheet waits for a red pen to check it. No less than twelve No. 2’s swim lazily in the carpet on the schoolroom floor.
Everything is exactly like we left it at 4:32 pm two Fridays ago when I inaugurated Christmas Break with a flood of relief and lots of hollering. As soon as that last assignment was completed, we evacuated the room as fast as we could.
No one has set foot in there since.
School will start again in exactly four days. Four days. My heart goes into spasms just thinking about it. I have lesson plans to go over and those final math worksheets to grade and a new science book to order. At the very least, I should go in and straighten up, I think.
But I. can’t. even.
Some mamas are anxious to get back into the routine. They spent their entire Christmas break wishing they could be teaching cursive and making their kids write thank-you letters in Latin, just to keep it up. Their schoolrooms reek of warm printer ink and fresh pencil shavings. Everything for Monday has been planned, printed, and organized since exactly 4:35 pm on December 18.
God love ‘em.
I feel exactly the same way, except for the parts about being organized and excited and actually loving this homeschooling thing so much, I can’t wait to get started again.
To be honest, we’re in a little bit of a dry season over here at the Glover Academy of “I Hope This Works Because You’re Not Living With Us Forever.” It all started the year my oldest was in preschool. So, it’s been a ten-year season, give or take a year. We should be over it any day now. Any day now, I’m going to love homeschooling.
After all, they’re going to graduate…one day.
At least, that’s what I’ve been told.
But in the mean time, I’m slogging through over here, as much as I hate to admit it. I don’t really want you to know that homeschooling is an epic struggle for me.
What kind of homeschool mom hates homeschooling? I mean, we’re supposed to love what we do, right? And isn’t it bad and toxic and maybe a little abusive to teach your kids when you do. not. even. want. to? Shouldn’t someone stage an intervention with the mama who can’t enter the schoolroom without dry heaving?
Of course, I’m being a tad dramatic. I do not hate homeschooling. In fact, I enjoy certain parts of it. Like Christmas break. However, it is the thing I look forward to least about my day, almost every day. It is the thing that makes me lie awake in bed in the morning, dreading getting up. It is the thing that makes me loath to call the kids in from recess. It is the thing I struggle and struggle and struggle with. Daily.
It is the thing that makes me look at the four days left in Christmas break and want to cry.
Maybe you know that feeling too, and it is lonely and dark and swishy with guilt. If there’s one thing I’ve found about mothering, it is this: it’s not okay to not be okay with certain aspects of mothering. If you’re a homeschool mom, it is expected that you like it. And if you don’t like it, it is assumed that you are doing it wrong. Well-meaning homeschool parents, whose pencils are always sharpened, will try to fix you. They will give you all sorts of advice because it must be your method or your curriculum or your expectations, but it certainly can’t be that you just don’t like teaching your own children.
I mean, if you were doing it right, if you were a half-way decent mother, you would like it. So you try and you tweak and you reorganize and you order another new math program…and your feelings don’t change. You still don’t like it.
That must mean there is some fault in you, some bit of brokenness that peeks through every time you crack open a Level 1 Reading Book. Because we all know God would never ask us to do something we don’t want to do, aren’t good at, and just plain don’t like.
Or would He?
I don’t know. Let’s ask Moses. Or Jonah. Or Elijah. Or Hosea. Or Peter. Or…anyone else in the Bible who was called to step out and stay in faith, even when their feelings weren’t up for it.
If you can’t even think of going back into that school room in four days, but you know God has called you to it, then rest in this: God often calls us to do things that are not easy, not comfortable, and not fun. It does not mean that you are doing it wrong. It does not mean you are a bad mother, or a bad teacher. It does not mean you are ruining your kids and their education and their ever-loving lives. It means that God has given you a job you cannot do without Him, and He fully expects you to depend on His strength, not yours, to accomplish what He has given you to do. And He will provide.
Even if the feelings never come with it.
(Now, if He hasn’t called you to this and provides a way for your kids to go to some awesome school with a small classroom size, an orchestra program, and free organic lunches, then by all means, stop the insanity and save yourself.)
((Send me info about said school.))
At the end of the day, it’s not so bad to have something in your life that you just don’t like doing, but that you get up every day and do to the best of your ability to the glory of God, so help you. There’s something in your sacrifice that is more glorious, more truly worshipful, than if you did it because you loved it.
And your kids will learn and grow and you will manage to still enjoy them even if you don’t like it, even if you drink too much coffee to get through the martyrdom-that-is-after-recess and never teach them a lick of Latin or paint anything or remember to tell them about continents.
When you can’t.even. but you do it anyway, God is glorified.
And one day, they will graduate.