This homeschool thing is a roller coaster. I’m not talking about the long term, over weeks and months of the homeschool journey either… I’m talking the roller coaster days. The day no one tells you about.
We have had a lot of amazing homeschool days. In fact, we’ve had a few perfect homeschool days. Those days that are the epitome of everything I ever dreamed homeschool would be. I share a lot of those good moments and days, on this blog, and on Facebook and Instagram. I think most homeschool moms do. And that’s all fine and good. It’s fun to see what other people’s homeschool looks like.
There’s a problem with it though.
You end up thinking everyone’s having all these perfect homeschool days. You end up thinking everyone’s homeschool is going perfectly, and easy, and fun, with all this notebooking, and special projects, and unit studies without resistance or arguments. You feel like everyone’s kid has read the entire Harry Potter series before they were 10.
And when you look around your homeschool, especially on those roller coaster days, you feel like you’re failing.
The roller coaster days?
The days when things start out rough. There’s a fight to start doing anything. Feet are dragged. She refuses to read anything, the idea of ever getting her to read Harry Potter makes you laugh out loud, and wonder if watching the movie counts. Then you have this great conversation with your kiddo. You talk with them about where you’re at, where they’re at, where you both want to be. You talk about the things that are working, that aren’t working, the way you both want things in the future. You come out with a big warm heart, and a plan. You begin to initiate said plan. Things are going great, for an hour or two, and yet, before the end of the day your kiddo is losing her mind because she can’t get all 6 pieces of fiber optics in her Tinker Crate to come together evenly. She throws it down and runs crying hysterically out of the room. Which leads to you, somehow, thinking she’s never going to be able to do hard things (that aren’t even very hard) and freaking out that you’re, yet again, completely failing her.
Yeah, those roller coaster days. They suck. They suck a lot.
It’s those days, where you both end up in a puddle on her bed, with a dog’s head in your lap, looking up at you and wondering why you’re both so sad.
No one ever really talks about those days.
So you go into this whole homeschool experience thinking it’s going to be all sunshine and roses, and you’re completely unprepared for the roller coaster. So at the end of one of these roller coaster days you end up sitting in your living room with a glass of wine wondering how you could have possibly gone so wrong, and failed her so badly.
If you’re lucky you’ll have another homeschool mom friend that you can text. In the middle of that conversation, where you’re lamenting your failures, not only as a homeschooler but a mother in general, she’ll end up telling you a story. A story that’s so similar to what you’ve experienced you can’t help but be slapped in the face by it. You can’t help but say, hey, wait a minute… that happens to you too? It’s not just me, and my complete inability to parent and homeschool well? If you don’t have that homeschool mom friend yet… you should find one. She will be your life line to sanity on this journey.
This realization, that it’s not just you, brings that moment of relief. Where you exhale. And realize you’ve been holding your breath since 3pm wondering what else is going to hit the fan today.
It’s not just you. It just is. It’s the nature of the beast. Homeschooling, parenting, (especially a tween), it’s a roller coaster, but no one prepared you.
Consider this my sincere attempt at a warning.
You, sweet homeschooling mom, are going to have miracle days. You are also going to have completely horrible days where you second guess your choice to homeschool, and honestly contemplate sending your kiddo back to public school. But worse than either of those… you will have the roller coaster days, where you experience every possible bit, the good, the bad AND the ugly, all in one awful day.
Be prepared. It’s going to happen. What might make it even worse, as you sit dwelling, reviewing, and rewinding all the things that happened throughout that miserable day, your kiddo will probably be upstairs, in their room, fine and dandy. They will probably come out with a smile on their face to give you a hug and kiss goodnight. They’ll probably even ask you to tuck them in. It will be over for them. Done. Finished. Yet you, you’ll still be ruminating. This too is part of the process. However, I urge you, to take a page out of your kiddo’s book, and let this day go.
Tomorrow is a new day. It’s a fresh start. Tomorrow could be one of those most perfect, magical homeschool days. It definitely can happen. It’s not going to happen though, if you continue to stew, and beat yourself up, and second guess yourself. The roller coaster happens, but the good thing, is at the end of the ride you can get up and get off. Let the roller coaster leave the station on the next round without you.
Hug your kiddo good night. Give her a kiss. And then give yourself a hug. It’s been a long hard day, but it’s over, and tomorrow can be whatever you choose it to be.
Us? Tomorrow we’re going to make a hover craft. <3 And start fresh. Don’t think you’re alone though, it happens, and not just to you, not just to the “bad” homeschoolers, or the moms “failing” their kids, it happens to all of us. <3
Now you know.