There’s not many aspects of a person’s life that can be described as “perfect” and homeschooling is no exception. Yet sadly, the edited and revised posts of homeschooling bloggers can leave those on the other side of the screen wondering, “How the heck do they do it all?”
And the truth is that we don’t do it all– not even close.
On average most homeschooling posts portray squeaky clean homes with radiantly smiling children always at-the-ready to learn. But really- whose homeschool experience is always like that?!?
And that’s why I’m joining up with my fellow friends at the iHomeschool Network to create a collection of blog posts highlighting the unspoken reality of homeschooling.
We want to expose the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes, no holds barred, honest to goodness snapshot into the lives of average homeschooling families.
And in my case- I’m literally airing my dirty laundry. ’Cause you see that mountain of dirty clothes and linen pictured above??? I’d like to say it’s only there because of the chaos surrounding our recent move (read here to see how I’m trying to survive homeschooling while moving). But to be brutally honest, that darn pile of laundry has been a regular fixture in my bedroom for a long time.
To be clear, I’ve never been a neat freak. Sure, after having children I stepped up my game somewhat, but now that so much of my time is devoted to prepping and planning and implementing my children’s education- when I have to cut corners- housework is generally the first to go.
You may be thinking to yourself, “but your pictures on your blog always look so crisp and clean” and I have to shamefacedly admit that it’s all a product of carefully cropped photos. Most of the pictures of my girls homeschooling lessons and activities are taken at my kitchen table. Why? Because I can easily zoom in and prevent too much surrounding area to be captured in the image. You know, the toys strewn on the floor, the dishes piled in the sink, the overflowing collection of crap on the counters. . . Or there’s the folded clothes piled at the foot of the stairs waiting for someone to take them up- but that pile ends up becoming a make shift dresser for my girls as they’ve learned to just grab and go.
It’s not that I purposely want to mislead my readers. But as humans, we’re not prone to airing our dirty laundry. (Plus, my mom regularly reads my posts.)
Exposing those areas in our lives that aren’t going as well as we would like is nowhere as easy as writing about the things we enjoy.
As a homeschooling mom the lines between the good, the bad, and the ugly often merge. Last year I was asked to do an interview for a local community radio show about educational options in our area. At one point they asked what the greatest advantage and also what the greatest disadvantage is to homeschooling. I answered that for me, and probably many homeschooling moms, the greatest advantage IS the greatest disadvantage. It’s our kids. We’re with them. all. the. time.
It’s not just housework that occasionally gets neglected. Sometimes it’s mom.
I’m with my kids 24/7. That’s All day, Every day. Most times, that’s great. Sometimes however, it’s not.
As a homeschooling mom-
- sometimes I wait too long to take a break. Months may go by before I get any real time alone. Sometimes I snap. I end up hiding from my kids in the bathroom or my closet for just a few blessed moments, but when they come track me down– I break down and weep behind the door. On these days, I realize I need to make a point to get a few hours away from my kids once in awhile. So I’ll arrange a babysitter and have a relaxing couple of hours to myself that ends with me missing my kids and happy to pick them up again. While invigorated, I tell myself I won’t let myself get to the breaking point again and will take time off before I get cranky, impatient, and emotional. But I never remember. At least, not until the next time I’m sobbing on the floor.
- every once in awhile when my little girls yell from the potty “Mommmmmy, I’m dooooooone” I want to yell “Oh, wipe your own damn butt!” But I don’t. Well, not loud enough so they hear me anyway.
- I don’t get sick days and my vacation time requires a lot of work. Sometimes more work than staying home.
I could go on and on but I don’t want to scare away any potential home educators out there with pages and pages of bullet points. In all honesty, even as I sit here typing out the crappy side of homeschooling I’m living one of it’s greatest perks: I’m listening to my girls over the baby monitor as they tell stories to one another before bed. They’re taking turns creating elaborate plots involving fairies and Pharaohs. They’re incorporating what they’ve learned into their creative play. It’s pretty amazing to know that not only do I get to witness these moments, but I get to play such an integral part in them.
Crappy days aside, I’m exceedingly lucky to spend so much time in the presence of my children. They’re wonderful people who have just as much to teach to me as I do to them.
I ♥ homeschool- dirty laundry and all.
So you see, it’s not always rainbows and roses in HomeschoolLand. It’s filled with your average assortment of good, bad, and uglies just like everything else. Come laugh and cry with the other members of the iHomeschool Network as they share their Imperfect Homeschool with you.