I wish I could say I basked in the glow of the warmth I feel from homeschooling my children every day. I wish I could write that I woke up energized and excited each morning to nurture their minds and souls, and that I creatively and enthusiastically gave the best of myself consistently toward the creation of the persons they are to become.
But that would be someone else's post.
Realistically? Life happens. And when it does, it often takes my best and transforms it into "good enough". Along this journey it is not uncommon for me to get bogged down in the details of the daily grind, to become impatient and restless, to lose sight of all the things I love about homeschooling. Stresses of responsibility begin to weigh heavily, and before I know it I have lost track of the very reasons I do this to begin with.
This Thanksgiving, I want it to be different. This year I want to relook at those details of my homeschooling life that might normally cause me complaint or frustration, and see them in the light of this holiday. After all, it is the season of giving thanks.
Sometimes we just have to take a step back from the duty in order to see the beauty.
- I am thankful for the piles of books in every room, because it means learning has infiltrated every part of our lives.
- I am thankful for the dust bunnies under my bed and couch, because they demonstrate that the value of my time is spent more on my children than on my material possessions.
- I am thankful for the times the kids stare off into space, disengage, get distracted, and look bored, because they motivate me to look for better methods, curricula, ideas, and strategies.
- I am thankful for the sink of pots and pans that need to be hand washed, because they are evidence that I am able to prepare home-cooked meals for my family.
- I am thankful for the hair that sticks straight up in the morning on every family member, because it shows that we get to be comfortable and be ourselves (as real as it gets) as we learn.
- I am thankful for the old Jeep with over 200,000 miles on it, because it means we don't have a car payment and don't require the additional income to pay for that payment.
- I am thankful for library fines for overdue books and "the one" we just can't seem to find, because they demonstrate just how much books are read in our home.
- I am thankful for the distractions of younger siblings who want to join in, because it means they are developing a love for learning while watching their older siblings.
- I am thankful for piles of laundry, because they provide me an opportunity to teach my children responsibility and diligence.
- I am thankful for toys strewn over three floors of the house during school time, because that means my younger child is safely making her own fun, instead of expecting me to entertain her.
- I am thankful for not having the space for every child to have their own room, because sharing a room teaches them to share, to put others before themselves, and that they are not the center of the universe.
- I am thankful that we can't always buy every resource or piece of curriculum right when we want it, because that helps my children (and me) learn patience and gratitude.
- I am thankful that my kids have more play clothes than "school clothes", because it is an indicator that their time is spent more in active, creative, getting-dirty learning rather than sitting quietly at a desk.
- I am thankful for my children's learning challenges, because they force me to be creative, to individualize my teaching to my particular child, and to learn about my child in an intimate way I never would otherwise.
- I am thankful for questions like, "Aren't you worried about socialization?" because they strengthen my resolve to forge the path I believe is best for my children rather than follow the expected societal route simply because that is what the majority does.
- I am thankful for the worn down places and the paint and marker stains on the dining room table, because they show that our home is a place of learning and fun rather than a place that just looks beautiful.
- I am thankful for the times my child gets off task from the work I've prepared in order to ask a random question about something, because it's an indicator of her creative, inquisitive mind.
- I am thankful for hearing "Nooooo, Mom, I don't want to do school", because it reminds me that we have the flexibility to sometimes take a break from school when we need to.
- I am thankful for not knowing everything I need to know to teach my children, because it gives me the opportunity to learn new things and keep homeschooling interesting for me.
- I am thankful for periodically feeling overwhelmed, ineffective, and frustrated, because those feelings cause me to search out support from other homeschoolers so that I am not alone on this journey.
- I am thankful for having to spend 24/7 with people under the age of 10, because it means I get the precious opportunity to influence whom those people become, while they are still able to be influenced.
- I am thankful that every time I look at my kids they seem to be older, because it reminds me of just how fast time goes, how I need to drink in every minute, and how soon the time will come when my homeschooling days will be finished.
What are you thankful for this year?