When I finally made the decision to homeschool Elle, I geared up for a rough road ahead.
I expected to have to defend and deflect ignorant comments. I expected to feel a burden — a constant weight on my shoulders. I expected to sacrifice my time and energy and down time. I expected that I might have to battle with Elle over work or expectations or public school. I expected that life would be harder simply because I was adding more to my plate. But I was willing to do all this because I knew homeschooling was right for us at this time.
3 months into this adventure, I am happy to report my expectations have NOT been met.
Instead of ignorant comments, I have had many sincere questions from people who really want to know about homeschooling because they have felt a subtle nudge in that direction, but can’t quite wrap their brains around it yet. They aren’t condemning; they are curious. Instead of a burden on my shoulders, I feel lighter and freer. Instead of sacrificing time and energy, I am finding more time and more peace. Instead of battling with Elle, we are bonding. And so far homeschooling has actually make my life easier.
But the perhaps the most unexpected outcome of all for me has been how much JOY I have experienced homeschooling.
Here are some glimpses of joy I have felt over the last few weeks:
Elle yelled from the other room, “Mom! I think we need to add “raising” and “resurrection” to my spelling list.”
Joy that she is taking charge of her own learning.
I came home from yoga to find Elle practicing the piano – on her own, without me asking her.
Joy that she is becoming a self-starter.
Elle reads to Croft often while I get Locke down to bed.
Joy that she now has more time to bond with her siblings.
All the kids played blocks together at 8:00 PM.
Joy because we have time we didn’t have before.
Elle came up the stairs on a Saturday night telling me about a historical fiction book she had just read while the other kids were bathing. She immediately jumped on the computer to learn more about the event.
Joy that she isn’t restricting her learning to 9-3:30; M-F.
Elle and I went on a bike ride in the mid-morning on a beautiful fall day.
Joy that we have a flexible schedule and can adapt to our whims and desires and the weather.
Elle proclaimed one morning: “I love math! Mom, can I do two lessons today?”
Joy that she is excited to learn and is finding success in math.
Elle and I snuggled on the couch together both reading Anne of Green Gables.
Joy that we get to be together.
Elle asked me if she should capitalize “Atonement” as she was doing some keyboarding practice. I told her I would capitalize it because it was the most important event in the history of mankind. Then I got to share a simple testimony with her.
Joy because we have discussions about important topics we may not otherwise have.
These are just some moments I have felt joy while homeschooling.
Because of this increased joy, I’ve wondered a lot lately about how much joy is out there for me to experience, but I just haven’t tapped into it yet because it probably involves me taking a risk — doing something that I never thought I could do.
Later I saw a quote that said, “Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” This rang true to me with my homeschooling experience. I was scared to homeschool. I prolonged the decision because of fear. I had many doubts, but once I jumped through the fear barrier, I have felt increased joy.
I am not saying that moments of joy aren’t possible with kids in public school. I am not saying that homeschooling is perfect and life is a dream. There are still some challenges, but I am saying that JOY has been an unexpected byproduct of homeschooling. And I’ve noticed.