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.