As I mentioned previously, I had a grand plan and a grand vision in my head of what homeschooling would look like for us. Have you ever heard the expression “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”? That is what our reality began to look like very quickly.
I also said I was going to be ugly honest with you, and here goes…
I was going to wake up every morning at 5 am, have my devotional, cook the family a yummy breakfast and be completely prepared to start our school day. I had every day’s lesson planned out a week in advance and we would ALWAYS be on schedule! (If you’re a seasoned homeschooler or teach in the public/private school system, you should be laughing hysterically by now!)
I knew from the research that I had done that we needed a dedicated area of our home to be exclusively for school. It would have a whiteboard on the wall, along with some pictures and maps. We would have an area for reading that was cozy and comfy and an area for science projects and experiments that we wouldn’t have to clean up right away (because sometimes those things take DAYS to complete) and a place for the computer and an area to write and do our paper assignments.
It would be beautifully decorated and welcoming so that it would help the mood and encourage learning.
In short, the problem would be ME! That’s not who I am. I can’t blame my husband, nor can I blame our son. It lies squarely on me. I made an expectation without looking at reality before I started planning. But you see, after researching online the routines and schedules of the homeschooling ‘experts’ I knew this was what I had to do.
When I was a career woman, I didn’t make breakfast for myself, let alone anyone else in the house. In fact, I was out the door before the sun came up most days. I stopped somewhere on the way to work and bought breakfast each day! My husband woke our kids and got them off to school with breakfast in their bellies and a homemade lunch. But hey, I was gonna do this!
I’m what I call a self-proclaimed lazy person. If I don’t have to get dressed I don’t, if I don’t have to brush my hair, I won’t. I only do things because I have to, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot I do because I want to, but when it comes to ‘work’ it’s not my first choice.
Also, I’m a planner. It’s what I do, it’s who I am. I plan everything meticulously and methodically! I research every aspect of something and then plan it out. To give you an example of this, I was buying a new vehicle. I researched for 2 months before I even decided on what kind. To help me make up my mind I even had spreadsheets! (No, I’m not kidding!) Once I decided on what kind of vehicle, I went shopping. I walked out of the finance office on 4 separate occasions because I didn’t like the deal, the terms, the rate, or the vehicle itself enough to go through with it. In fact, I’m surprised they kept helping me when I would visit as it was the same dealer each time! (in the end, I found the perfect vehicle; the one I had in the spreadsheet, the perfect rate, and the perfect terms.)
The other thing you should know about us is that when we first moved to Alaska, we lived in an RV for 8 months. This was completely by choice because we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to ‘land’ and with it being such a big state we wanted the ability to travel it a little and see some different areas to decide where we wanted to settle down.
If you’ve ever spent more than a weekend in an RV with pets and kids, you know how small they can be. When you live in one full-time, it gets small really fast!
So, needless to say, those 5 am mornings didn’t happen for long, in fact not even for an entire week! The lesson planning I had down pat though! I knew exactly what I was going to teach in each subject each day and exactly how long it would take us. The problem with the lesson planning was that it didn’t always work out that way.
While everything always looked great on paper, it just wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes we would get such a late start to our day that we were lucky to get in an entire subject without a complete melt-down (either from me or the kid, sometimes both!) There were other days when we got a great start but got interrupted too many times to get back on track. And then there were days where he just wasn’t picking up what I was putting down.
And, because we were in an RV, we didn’t have the space I had in my plan, and to be honest I threw a mental fit over it. I loved being in the RV and what it allowed us to do, but I just couldn’t get over the fact that it wasn’t going according to the plan. In turn, my attitude didn’t help the learning environment at all! There was no ‘space’ dedicated or otherwise to school. It was done at the dinette and cleared away for every meal. There were no beautiful decorations and there was no glaring whiteboard.
The amazing thing about homeschooling that I have learned thus far is that it is full of grace! Grace from my husband, grace from my son, grace from God. This allowed me to show grace in return. Once I realized that the plan was great, but it wasn’t God’s plan, I was able to quickly realize that I needed to let go of any predetermined expectations and look at the reality of where He was leading us. And the reality was that we didn’t exactly know yet.
But it got better, and it happened in ways I would have never imagined!