The pissing match ends here.

Several more lies listed this week that I can so identify with.

“Everyone is more disciplined then you and way more spiritual.”
“Everyone else can do it all.”
“Everyone else is more capable than you.”
“You are the only one who is falling apart and feels this way.”

Homeschooling can be wonderful. But it is also very stressful. If you send your child to a school, and they can’t add or read “on time”, you can blame the teacher. But now… Now you are the teacher. If your kids don’t meet the standards, you have no one to blame but yourself. No one wants their child to be stupid. No one wants to be the lowest rung on the ladder. But just exactly what standard do we use to measure ourselves and our kids against? There really is no set what and when. For example, reading. Most schools want the kids reading at least by the time they hit first grade, if not earlier. But studies have shown that not every kid is ready to read by then. I’ve met some homeschoolers (old pros who’ve been doing this for more then 10-15 years) who admit that their kid didn’t start reading until well after the school-appropriate age, and yet their kids turned out just fine, some with college degrees even. So really, there is no set standard. The result, many of us wind up silently comparing our kids to the other kids at the Co-op meetings or support groups e-lists or park days.

Thus homeschooling is turned into a sort of pissing match among the moms. If Mom1’s kids are beating your kids in math, you are really hoping that your kids are beating hers in science or something, just to equalize things. We tend to brag about our children’s accomplishments, and hide the areas where we are falling short. We want the accolades, the oohs and ahhs, the “Wow, I need to try that,” from other moms. We don’t have a roomful of parents and kids ready to declare our wondrous teaching talents. We don’t have anyone giving us awards for being the best teacher. Most of us don’t even get a thank you for making dinner (In the interest of honesty, I do. My DH has made it a habit to thank me for things like that so the kids understand, and I of course reciprocate when he cooks) or doing the laundry. Our talents – be it cleaning, cooking, or getting those little light bulbs in our kids heads to click on – are often taken for granted by those around us. If we don’t proclaim our successes, who will?

I just love this little comic from Todd Wilson on this:

toddwilson-comic.jpg

How many times do we feel like Marci? That feeling of inadequacy, that is what drives us to find something, anything that our kid does better than Betty’s kids.  So we accentuate the positives, and ignore the negatives.  We pretend that everyday is kittens and sunshine, while our children hang on our every word.  We ignore the days we spend more time yelling then teaching.  We don’t mention the fact that we let them play computer games all day, or that we had a Mythbusters marathon and considered it Science class.  We act like we have a giant chip on our shoulder and feel the need to prove that we are doing just as well as Betty and her brood.  We want the affirmation.  We want someone to say that we are their best inspiration.  Then we feel guilty because it’s not the full story.  So we swear to make the changes that will have us fulfilling that vision we’ve put out there of the perfect family, with the perfect lessons, and the perfect everything, only to fail miserably.  Then we feel even worse because not only can we not achieve what we think Betty has, but we feel like a fraud for portraying that we do.

So how can we, as a homeschool community, fix this?  It won’t be easy.  But if we recognize that even Betty has bad days, and be more honest with ourselves and those around us, it would be a great start.

Homeschooling is not easy.  As Todd says on page 45,  “No one homeschools because it is easy.  Most do it because they think it is best.  That should comfort you because the best things are almost always the hardest things. …  Homeschooling must be really really good, because it’s really really hard.”  It is not always a bed of roses.  There are days when you will pop in a movie and pray for just 5 minutes alone in the bathroom to regain your sanity.  There are times when those days will out number anything else.  But as Todd says, we are God’s Plan A for our kids, and the best is yet to come.

One comment on “The pissing match ends here.

  1. what a great post! I wholeheartedly agree…we sabotage oursleves! It’s NOT easy, never has been, but we believe…IF we could let go of all that “weighs us down” then maybe we could see what God sees….each uniques and each with potential to Glorify Him…using the gifts and talents he so graciously gives….

    If WOMEN could let go of those “chips” what a nicer world it would be…homeschool and all!!
    None of us are perfect…why is it SO hard for us to believe that??

    Thanks for this! It was great!!
    lori

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