The Strength to Carry On

Every February in the early years of our homeschooling, I would find myself visiting schools! Just to have a look. Just to see if school might be a better fit for us than this crazy life of all being jumbled together at home all day! But somehow, someway, what I really needed was to find the strength to carry on homeschooling.

The Strength to Carry On Homeschooling

One year, my son visited a first grade and came home very enthusiastic. What did he like, I asked: the Twinkies for a snack (really) and the Math Blaster computer game. This was a private school.

Another year, I visited our local public school and found out they had art once a week for 30 minutes. As I peeked into the art classroom, I saw the children coloring in outlines of a bird. Recess was twenty minutes.

One visit, the teacher of a combined grade was showing a movie about America. The content seemed way over the heads of the children and the teacher kept interrupting to hush up the restless ones. I wasn’t even able to pay attention to the film.

After my visits, I would return home thinking that whatever we were doing at home was at least a bit of an improvement over those classrooms full of twenty-five to thirty students. Yes, I do believe class size matters and we have an advantage at home.

But then how do I make it through February? This is when I started my list: What To Do When All Seems Lost! The list has reminders on it like:

  • Go outside
  • Get out old family photos and tell stories
  • Make a cup of tea and take a break

I posted this list on the inside of a kitchen cabinet; what these little breaks would give me is some perspective and the strength to carry on. 

Fast forward a number of years to today: I am reading the book, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. (If you haven’t seen her TED Talks, I highly recommend them!) What I see now that I didn’t then is that our imperfections are not a bad thing; they are, in fact, what make space for connection to one another. They are what make us human. All we need is the willingness to put ourselves out there. And I would say that as Mamas, we do that every day. Perfection is not our goal, connection is.

So, if you are stumbling along through February, first know that you are not alone! And then make yourself a list to hang inside your kitchen cabinet. And then think of something you LOVE – music, stories, history, science experiments, cooking, birds, knitting, photography – and weave that into your lessons this week. Share yourself with your children. 

If you need any help, consider booking a Mentor Session with me.

  

 

About Jean

Hi, I'm Jean. And I'm here to help you overcome the overwhelm!

12 thoughts on “The Strength to Carry On

  1. I really love these Sunday selections! What you wrote here, so perfectly voiced my own experience. I had to laugh about those school tours:)
    Our imperfections are our strengths – PERFECT!

  2. I need to read Brene Brown. She seems to be everywhere for me lately.

    Yes, yes, yes. You are right. But boy is it hard not to think we are causing permanent damage bc of what does (and doesn’t!) happen in February. I just made a few adjustments that we are going to implement tomorrow. More games, more stories, more fun.

    xxoo to you today.
    Sheila

    1. I am loving Brene Brown. She so directly addresses our shame and feelings of “not good enough.” I have to say I totally understand that feeling that we are causing permanent damage. It’s so big and so real, the responsibility seems almost too much at times. But the truth is that we are creating the space and our children are doing the learning. And they are learning all the time! We are not responsible for everything and we cannot even control it all! I really think you’re on the right track with more games and stories and FUN. xxoo

        1. Seriously though, I am feeling February too…and what is helped me (after tears and frustration) is to just come to a place where I am willing to sit with the fact the February is February (and all the **** that implies). I have let myself just feel bad for a week without changing anything. Though some nice dinners out did help, I must admit. And lo and behold, I am starting to feel things shift and stir a bit. Just sharing..I do think our kids feel these ebbs and flows as well, no matter what we do and no matter how FUN we try to make things, we are all in this together after all! And it has been a tough winter.

          1. Great reminders, Alison. Just to come to a place of stillness, and accept the good and the challenging for what it is.

            And the shift is happening! Today, after another big snowfall, I went outside and heard so many more birds – they are waking up. I think of Laura and Mary in The Long Winter. One year, we read that story and then built a replica of the cabin and discovered that it was the exact size of our living room! Five people living in a one-room cabin the size of our living room!!! That would have been a very, very long winter.

            We’re supposed to have sunshine tomorrow, and I am looking forward to that. Hugs!

  3. I love it Jean, especially this: “Perfection is not our goal, connection is.” I’ve been struggling lately with feeling bad when I don’t manage to fit everything into the day that would happen in a Waldorf school. I know better, but the guilt creeps in! And for me, sometimes it’s a matter of getting more organized with my planning, but also often it’s a matter of letting it go and focusing on what is really beautiful and connected in our family life. Top of my “what to do when all seems lost” list is snuggling on the couch and reading stories. And really, what an amazing blessing that we can just drop everything and snuggle up with books!

    1. Thanks, Kelly. Those comparisons to the Waldorf school are so damaging, aren’t they? What we get is connection, and that is such a gift. Enjoy that “couch time” and snuggling up! You are amazing and your children are so lucky.

  4. yesterday I had tea with another waldorf-inspired homeschooling mom. we chatted about what’s working, what’s not working, and sharing resources. we exchanged books and ideas – we laughed a lot, too. and boy did it feel good!! those two hours together left us feeling nourished and supported. we agreed we ought to do that every month or so. it seems especially important to feed our souls this time of year – when just a little bit of inspiration makes all the difference.

    1. Yes! Thanks for the reminder to get together with friends, Heather. Laughter is so great. Once a month seems like a realistic goal. Today, I met two homeschooling Mom friends for tea and we agreed it needed to be a regular get together. As you say, just a little bit of inspiration makes all the difference!

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