Some days, I imagine that my homeschool must seem so blissful from the outside glancing in. All the cute images of our assignments and successful moments; posted for our family and friends to see and sometimes, here in this place, for the world to view.
It is probably unfair really because I don’t paint a fully accurate image of what homeschool is like for us. However, I never want to do that. Rather, I want to have open and honest conversations with other homeschooling Moms doing life and homeschool and every thing in between all over the world. That’s my hope; that this little place of “sanity” and “bless” for me will become a place where women from all around the world come together to have real, open, and honest conversations about life and homeschool. No longer just glancing at each other’s highlighted moments and wishing ours looked similar.
For The Delgado Clan, homeschool is serious business. Sometimes too serious. I understand this. At times, I do very much treat our little “classroom” much like a public school classroom. There is rigorous work involved, in-depth expectations and rules and procedures that are to be strictly adhered to. This works for us. It doesn’t for everyone and we understand that but for us, it is something we do within our family because we want our children to be able to handle rules without breaking them, deadlines without missing them, and tests without panic. But there are also moments of laughter, creative learning done on our couch, or even television allowed on in the background during seat work assignments (this is a HUGELY special treat.)
It is also flexibility. It is the understanding that while I have a whole of expectations and goals in mind, some of them may turn out to be quite unrealistic or not what is best for our children or family. I have to constantly check what I am doing and ask, “Lord is this the best way?” “Father, show me how I can shape this differently. Show me what to do with this Lord.” There are many, many, many, MANY moments in which I am sitting at my desk, hands over my face, tears streaming down my cheeks, uttering the only prayer I can manage, “Lord, help me. I am overwhelmed.” Just those few words release the stress and burdens I sometimes carry as wife, mother, nurse, cook, chauffeur, cook, maid, seamstress, Child of a King, college student and so much more. I have a lot of hats. I wear them almost daily all at once and it is sometimes messy and chaotic, while other times, it is beautiful and orderly. And the truth is, I love it all regardless of which category it falls under that day.
Homeschool is serious business yes but it is also a growing experience. It is a constant learning curve in which I have to reevaluate all that I think and know about learning and teaching as a parent. It is not always pretty but most of the time it is exquisite and extraordinary. Much of the world watches those of us who homeschool and try to place us into these neat little boxes of stereotypes but bless our souls, our homeschool does not fit those stereotypes. Not even a little. And that is probably what I love most about “The Delgado Learning Academy.”
There is learning. There is love. There is faith. There is discipline. There is grace. There are tests and deadlines, work that brings out: “But I don’t LIKE school.” and there are assignments that bring perfect scores. There are moments where it seems too easy and moments when I feel I am about to pull out my hair from repeating the EXACT SAME SENTENCE 25 times in less than 10 seconds. There are lessons that go perfectly and right on schedule and lessons that drag until 2:00 in the afternoon. There is morning school and then sometimes there is afternoon school and every once in a blue moon, there is night school. (I just cringed a bit even as I typed those last two words.)
For the most part, we are extremely routine but sometimes life does not care about my routine or schedule. It throws sickness, stress, emergencies and much more at me 24-7 and yet, homeschool must go on. It is kind of similar to marriage: “In sickness and in health.” because nobody likes those treacherous makeup days. Yes. We make up days. We have sick days and vacation days and holidays but we still want to get in our correct amount of days and we want our children, just because it is our type of homeschool, to still be able to go into the world and feel like they received the same level of education as their public schooled peers.
And the truth is, they will. They will because I am giving them 100% of everything I have just like all the educators I know do. They are getting hours of planned lessons and constant care and love in the process and it’s a beautiful thing. Homeschool in the raw for us means days like today when my son just did not want to do his Writing Test. It wasn’t difficult. It wasn’t even requiring that He have to write something creative, it was a simple matter of sitting at his desk and carefully write three of each of the five vowels. Simple right? Not today. Today, my son “did not even like to write” and he “did not even think school was necessary.” and today, “school is ridiculously hard”. (Palm to forehead. Someone may have gotten their dramatic side from someone I may or may not know.)
So, being completely raw and real with you right now, I gave my son a C. Yep. A 70%. (I secretly wanted to give him a BIG HUGE “F” after all that mess but chose to extend some grace because he did do the work.) Sure, I could have given him an A for effort or a B for at least getting it done but I didn’t. I gave him a C because, well, they weren’t absolutely horrible but He did not give his best effort. He did not even ATTEMPT to try to do them with his best effort. I know he is six and I know that his handwriting is going to be all over the place at this age but I just cannot settle for that lack of effort and let my son think that is okay. It’s not. Not when I KNOW he can at least try to do better.
So today looked a lot like a teacher, calling the parent for a conference when my husband came home. (Yep. We do those too. Every Progress report gets a “parent teacher conference”. I am a little over the top. I know this.) It looked a lot like a sick Momma trying to get a small boy that has more energy than an entire planet to sit still and take one silly little writing test. It looked a lot like me repeating the same thing over and over during lesson instruction and me refusing to end the day without every single assignment complete. Finally, it looked a whole lot like me taking one huge deep breath of relief when we were done for the day.
Homeschool is a lot of things and it is raw. Every day. It’s not some picturesque scene every moment of the day but those picturesque moments are documented for nothing other than a reminder to myself that for every horrible moment of the homeschool day, there are about 5-10 beautiful moments too. If I focus on that rather than the horrible stuff, I can get up much easier and repeat it all five days a week for 185 school days a year ( at least).
I know I say this a lot but homeschool is different for everyone. Maybe you are like me or maybe you are running away from the type of homeschool I conduct cringing with every stride. That’s okay. This is real life. This is OUR life. This is homeschool and it doesn’t look exactly the same as anything else; not even my idea of the “perfect classroom”. Most importantly it’s my homeschool and that’s my favorite part.
So today, I am popping in my thousandth cherry cough drop of the day, putting on my pj’s at 5:00pm and putting the “C” test score away. My son so desperately wants me to let him redo it, to have another chance, and the Momma in me wants to give that to him but the teacher in me remembers that this is a life lesson. The Delgado Clan doesn’t accept half effort. We give our very best at all things just as God commands us and if we don’t, then we get the grade we earned. And as I take that in, I finally get the beauty in education and life. They interweave, one with another. Every moment is education and today was a big day of learning for me. The best part of al: I think I passed.
And you are passing too. Just take a moment to really let yourself see that. Don’t give up. Don’t cut yourself short and don’t cut corners. Stand true to your standards and your values and when it’s harder than hard, just leave the rest to God. If you do those things every day, homeschool will never be anything but a raving success regardless of grades or work done. It will be a success because you gave it all you had and didn’t give up on your yourself or your family.
So, I will end this day with a very raw image of our homeschool today and an encouraging reminder that it won’t always be like this.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” -Colossians 3:23-24
In Christ’s Love,