Applying formulas will not work.
But something does need to be applied: ourselves.
We don’t need more tactics, different set-ups, or a new curriculum.
We need a new attitude, a new approach – not in what we’re doing, but how we’re thinking about it.
In Home Education, Charlotte Mason wrote that “Mothers owe a ‘thinking love’ to their Children”:
We are waking up to our duties and in proportion as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own. And they will take it up as their profession––diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours.
First six years? How about the first 18? How much more must our love be thinking and our care be diligent when we take charge of our children’s education?
We know that. We think that before we start. We nervously think about it during the summer while planning – THIS is the year that it will be different! THIS is the year where it really “counts.”
But when it’s Tuesday morning on a gray day and we have a headache and the house is falling to pieces and the kids seem crazy and the baby is fussy and, and, and… we shove those thoughts down. The problem is that they don’t really go away, they fester under the surface, making us feel even more dreary than the clouds warrant.
Do we take the day off school? Do we march on through? Do we do math and call it good?
The problem is that no one can tell us the Right answer. We’ve taken this on as our profession, but we are both employee and boss, a combination that is fraught with stress and second-guessing.
Yeah, you’re not alone. This is a tough gig. It’s a mental and motivational challenge – we have our own issues and, even if we do conquer ours, then there are the mental and motivational challenges each of the children bring!
This is why I wrote The Art of Homeschooling. I’ve struggled with these questions, these issues, these character flaws myself for years – and I won’t stop wrestling them – to stop would be to give up. There must be answers. There are answers.
It’s not about the curriculum or the schedule or how the checklists are laid out.
It’s about knowing how to show up each morning and how to help the kids do the same. It’s about holding on through the storms – whether the storm is inside us or the storm is the child’s doing or our current situations are storming or it’s all three making a whirling tempest.
We can do it. We must do it.