April is National Homeschool Debacle Month. You never heard of this before? That's because I just proclaimed it! I've spent oodles of time on the phone with friends, relating my own homeschool debacle. And they, likewise, have called me in a panicked mess with their homeschool debacle. I think it is just the month in which we see all the failures of our past year, and we hope to fix them next year. We're in a quandary, because our fixes aren't apparent, and what we hoped for doesn't seem to be matching up with what we can realistically do. We're searching for the perfect curriculum, perfect schedule, perfect arrangement so that things can run smoother next year.
I have a few key phrases that I use to talk myself down from the homeschool ledge. I'll share them...
"Just sit on it"
When the choices are overwhelming, when I can't decide between one thing or another, or when the plans don't seem to be coming together nicely, "just sit on it". Let things settle and brew internally for awhile. You know that problem that you finally set aside, and then *pop*, the answer arrives unexpectedly in a dream? Same idea, here.
"If it seems too hard, then it probably is"
Things should not be so extremely hard that they seem impossible to overcome. I coined this phrase when my 4yo was breaking out daily in hives, but we couldn't find the cause. I was trying to keep her off of OTC meds for 10 days so that I could take her in to an allergist and get the skin test. She was miserable on my lap, as I rubbed hydrocortisone and ice cubes on her body. I cried out, "this is too hard!" and it was! I finally came to my senses, put her on Zyrtec, and we were both much happier. Long story short, the same thing is true with our homeschool day. If spending 5 hours teaching our children one-on-one is too hard, or if implementing an amazing curriculum (confession: mine was MFW) proves too difficult, then it probably was. Yes, homeschooling is challenging. But there is also supposed to be rest and peace, if God has called us to it. "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light". Maybe the daily mentoring we do with our children is enough, and the rest of those things we do (reading, workbooks, experiments, classes, etc.) are icing on the cake!
I was really in a debacle when my plans for CC Challenge were not coming together for my oldest next year. I realized that tutoring CC Challenge A myself was too hard, given our own special family circumstances. Wanting it badly wasn't going to change our own dynamics that would create an impossible situation for me. I realized I needed to "just sit on it" - afterall, maybe another mom will rise to the occasion of tutoring Challenge A. Or...as I was looking at outside options and discussing things with dd, perhaps there are better things for her to do next year. We discovered Exploration Education for Physical Science. I saw it at the Cincinnati Convention, and showed it to dd this morning, and we were both excited by it. (Sidenote: getting a positive reaction from dd about anything educational is a very very rare thing, indeed). Dd looked at our co-op schedule for Seeds of Faith, and found classes of interest to her. It reminded me what we're really about as a homeschool family: finding those talents and developing the interests of our children so that they can really shine for God's glory in this world:)