homeschooling / parenting

panacea vs. persistence

Some newcomers to homeschooling are likely to view it as a panacea for educational problems or as an antidote to the malaise of schools. What they find, however, is that school at home is no miracle remedy. The romantic notion of educating one’s own soon gives way to the reality: homeschooling is work. It is rewarding work when things go right, full of satisfactions for all involved, but like all teaching and all learning, it makes a great variety of demands and is freighted with difficulties. Homeschooling, in short, has its own complexities, its own dilemmas and issues. Those who endure it, many don’t, are realistic about their abilities and reasonable in their expectations. They suffer few illusions about themselves and persist diligently”. David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars

The desire to travel, the desire to uproot and make a fresh start somewhere else is a meaningful concept in my life. We’ve travelled to Africa and the Arctic. We spent months in residency working small town Ontario. We spent the first six months post-residency travelling around Alberta. And the last four years wandering around British Columbia. And then there were vacations.

Sometimes it’s necessary, and useful, but when we move or travel, we bring ourselves. And that is usually the reason the fresh start, the new experience, the changed location, doesn’t make much difference in profoundly changing our lives:

where we go, there we are

The same thing happened when beginning this home educating life. Not that I had any overwhelming concerns about my children’s education, or threat of bullying, or notions that a different location or school would change our destiny, or load our lives with euphoric happiness. I didn’t. My generally idealistic, optimistic state kinda hoped, though, that it would move in that direction.

Turns out, in it all, I found that I would spend more time with the frustrations on the home front: my personal, marriage, or parenting issues. They all were condensed into a 2000 sq. foot home, instead of scattered around the community. There was more time to recognize the grandeur of these frustrations. AIY. And the responsibility was solely mine to tackle them, because I’d chosen it to be. Yikes.

I’ve found it amusing to hear some home educating parents’ solution to their parenting frustrations: some days I’m tempted to stop the next passing yellow bus and get the kids on it. I totally get that; but since I’ve been there, done that, sending them on the big yellow bus, I know that that’s no solution either. That approach just stalls for time what needs to be dealt with.

On the flipside, all that time to discover the grandeur of the task ahead, I also have loads of time to deal with it. And loads of time to make predictions about why something is happening, attempt to help mold it, change it, read about it, pray about it. I’ve got as much time as I want to put into it.

Still, time alone is no solution. It’s persistence that will get me to my goal. It always is.

Thankfully it’s not about natural aptitudes or fortitudes. My parenting inadequacies would nearly have done me in at the beginning of this journey if I’d thought my skills would have brought me through.

An open, willing, humble spirit to learn what needs to be learned and a willingness to work through whatever needs to be worked through–that’s what’ll get me to the end.

Persistence will pay. In between those moments of frustration, though, I’ll continue to capture all the benefits of this truly charmed life.031

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