Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Homeschooling Ups and Downs

Why is that homeschooling is so full of ups and downs?

Our school year is fully five days old now, and already it's had more than its share of ups and downs. Yesterday Sweet Pea, age 11, was almost in tears because the ancient Egypt projects she was going to do turned out to involve a shoe box and construction paper. "I thought it was going to be something that would look GOOD!" she whined. Doodlebug, age 7, at almost the same time, was happy because she was making a salt map showing different landforms: mountains, island, plateau, and so on.

Then there were the maps. When I first mentioned labeling maps, Sweet Pea complained and made faces and stomped around; Doodlebug was thrilled. By the time the maps were done, though, Sweet Pea was having fun, and decided to keep going to finish the project, though she really didn't have to for another day or two.

Today we had royal riots over writing the answers to questions (Sweet Pea) and math (Doodlebug). But an hour later, Sweet Pea was excitedly doing an extra vocabulary lesson and more Latin, and Doodlebug was begging for more read-alouds.

What is the deal here? Why do we face complaining and whining one minute, excitement and enthusiasm the next? (And how do public school teachers do it with 30 kids at a time?!)

I think I have an answer: because homeschooling involves people, and people are inconsistent. We have ups and downs, we hate some things and love others, we get hormonal or just don't understand things. And when you throw three of us (or more) together in a house all day, every day, there are bound to be some peaks and valleys.

So what do we do? We learn to grow, each of us individually, through our challenges and struggles. We expect to have some rough moments - actually, lots of rough moments - and we try to be patient with each other. We listen to each other, we adjust where we can, and we try to become more mature through the ups and downs.

Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." In the New Homeschoolers Translation, it reads like this: "As iron sharpens iron, so a mom and her kids sharpen each other." :) If you're homeschooling, won't you join me for this adventure, as we all get "sharpened" together? And if you're not, won't you pray for us? Sharpening can be painful and wearing on both the sharpener and the "sharpenee."


southerngirlmusings said...

Sounds like my day today....thanks for the wisdom from Proverbs.

Marcy Muser said...


It seems like almost every day this week has been like that for me. Glad I could be an encouragement.

Charity said...

I really needed to read this today. Thanks.

Marcy Muser said...


I'm glad I could help. Hopefully today will go better for you!


Helen said...

As someone who taught school before being a mom I can say that kids in regular school are usually on 'best behavior' mode at the beginning of the year because everything is new and scary, and by the time they are comfortable the boundaries are well drawn for behavior - both what everyone in the class does when and how they behave in the classroom. Because kids at home are so comfortable it is different and they can make their 'downs' more visible. With 20 kids in my class, I didn't even know how each child was feeling about an individual assignment. In some ways it is a blessing that homeschool kids have ups and downs that we see - it means that they can be honest about their reaction to a project and (sometimes) we can tweak it to appeal to them more. Certainly they are more engaged when they get into a project (as your description in the post shows) once they start than all but a few public school kids at any one time.

Shawna said...

Count me in! You described me week exactly!