Saturday, November 10

Healing the Despair

These aren't my words, but the words of another homeschool mom in Vancouver who is struggling right now.

“I feel that I cannot take another day at home with my children. They fight, they disobey, they talk back. I know some of this is the stress we're going through, but in the process, school is taking a backburner. I feel like my kids are not getting the education I want for them and I'm feeling like the public school could do better for them, both socially and mentally. I'm feeling like, by them being home, we're learning more about how to hate each other and be grumpy with each other. I feel like they need a break from me and from each other; I need a break from them; and I need to be released from the pressure of being fully in charge of their schooling. We will be buying a bigger house soon, mostly to accomodate our
homeschooling, so I know that with more room we will get along better but I still hear myself speaking in an irritated tone with them and fantasizing about being alone during the day.”

You know, I can totally relate.

I spent an hour responding to her on our message board and I think it may have helped me just as much to enumerate my own self-help processes as it (hopefully)encouraged her. I wasn't the only one either. She got several supportive and reflective answers.

Several things from this experience surprised me:
1. Homeschoolers feel this way. Well, I knew that I have felt this way, but hearing it from someone else darn near knocked my socks off. Aren't we all supposed to be solid and certain in our endeavor? Hardly. We totally question ourselves year after year. Sometimes our only defense are the numbers which show that though we are weary, we (i.e. our children) succeed. Our kids make it and are capable, quality individuals.
2. Homeschoolers encouraged her not just in spiritualized ways (such as "you need to read your Bible more.") but in practical ways and with wisdom. No one slapped her around gestapo style. She was responded to with love and understanding. Shame on me for expecting the worst.
3. Homeschoolers won't ALL condemn you for considering the public school option. I encouraged her to keep her options open, and others agreed. It proved to me that as much as we strongly feel convicted to teach our kids at home, we understand that God works in different ways in different families and we know that parents who manage their child's education in other ways are not wrong, bad, or {gasp} heathen.
4. Revealing weaknesses brings us together. At co-op the next day a friend stopped me and thanked me for what I had posted. She confessed feeling the same way and even admitted that she has prayed for God to release her from the burden that homeschooling can be. I haven't been at that point yet, but I was actually blessed by hearing this. Imagine! I am not a crazy fool. There are others like me. We are not "know-it-alls." We are breakable. And because of this I think we are open minded more than the average onlooker might think.

Good stuff to think about.

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For two years I have had comments turned off as a discipline to write for myself. I'm seeing the other side. I just ask that you comment with grace.