Homeschooling facing the mirror

When I decided to homeschool, I didn't know that the biggest challenge of homeschooling would be me. I didn't know I would be forced to face myself and see my many flaws. Even if someone told me, I wouldn't have understood what that meant anyway. I had to figure it out myself.

For me, homeschooling is pretty much a solo gig, even with a homeschooling support group and an involved husband. I'm the person in charge of our day, and when a day doesn't go right, it's usually a management program. And, lucky me, I'm the manager.

It can be tough to work so closely with myself and see my own weaknesses and character flaws. I wince at my past mistakes and still feel awkward about some homeschooling situations. There was the time when I pushed my then four-year old to read when she wasn't ready because I wanted to prove myself competent. There was a stretch of time when I crammed our calendar full and ran around the city achieving other people's version of ideal homeschooling days. There have been times when I neglected duties for no good reason. I don't have to keep going with this list, do I? It's painful to face my own faults.

But it's a good pain, I must admit, because good has come out of my mistakes. When I look in the mirror, I'm seeing myself mature and grow, just as I see my children mature and grow. My kids learn more quickly than I do and their minds are nimble and absorbant, while my learning is different. I feel wisdom starting to slowly, slowly, bloom inside me. Each time I face my own faults, I feel more mellow and patient with others, and I feel more admiration for others who are working on their own challenges.

Like most homeschooling moms, I like to reassure new homeschoolers that their kids will turn out alright, but we moms need to hear that we are going to turn out alright, too. Or maybe that's something that we each figure out for ourselves.

Photo of artwork on Governor's Island, taken two summers ago.


  1. Your post hit me straight in the heart. Allowing the same grace I allow my children and others is a lesson I've been repeating lately. My toughest subject is pride disguised as humility. I'm so thankful that we have a loving Teacher.

  2. Is your mirror tilted towards me? I feel like it is reflecting my life. I have done several of the things that you are talking about in this post. I'm so thankful that God is a potter. I'm thankful that he didn't throw away the clay, but chose to take me and mold me. His patience is what has made me the homeschooling mom I am today.

  3. Richele & Traci, Like you, I'm thankful for our loving and patient teacher too.

  4. Homeschooling is quite emotionally challenging --- especially if you are an insecure-worry-about what-other-people-think kind of person like me. I know the ideals of a CM education ( least I think I do) and I'm insecure about meeting those ideals. When James doesn't want to narrate or has nothing to say, I feel like I failed. He must make it his own...he must make the connections. Charlotte says so!

    I agree about the management issue. It is a constant challenge to my "habit of discipline." This would be a challenge for me on any job, but when you see how it affects your child directly, you take it more seriously and know you must overcome.

    All my weakness, my struggles, are magnified with this job. There is a mirror slapped in your face on this gig. But it started long before the official schooling. From the day I first saw my baby reacting to my impatience or imitating my whining, I was alarmed at the exposure and knew I had to be on guard.

    It's very hard, but what an opportunity to see it and change and become a far better human being. I'm very grateful for the mirror --- sometimes.

  5. Kay, you said exactly what I was trying to say - that my weaknesses and struggles are magnified as a homeschooling mom. Wow, it's tough to face my mistakes sometimes knowing not only that I made a mistake, but that I have to fix it. (Still, I do love this job.)

  6. This is a post I had floating in my mind but I couldn't have written as well as you. I'm still in the beginning steps, my girls are too little and I am walking by faith, I tell others that it will be fine, but I do still have doubts and make several mistakes too.
    Then I remember than my girls' fate is not in my hands, that they bounce back from our little messes, and that despite what we don't know how to do, we do some good, and we'll turn good too, as you so eloquently said.
    And like you, I'm more and more able to look at others with admiration versus jealousy or feelings of inadequacy... or superior feelings too. All those are finding less room in this poor heart and mind that is humbled everyday by this amazing journey.
    I'm very glad I've found you!