Edited to add: I have to share the irony of my blogging blunder. My post was live and being shared via social media, and I suddenly realized I never added an image. This is one of the cardinal rules of blogging: always have an image or graphic. And I forgot. Imperfect Homeschool and Imperfect Blogging. (But now there’s a nice pinnable graphic for you.)
Blogging is a tricky thing. I want to be uplifting. I don’t want to be a whiner or complainer. And ranting or arguing online is just not my style. That means that the content on this blog stays pretty upbeat and focused on mostly uncontroversial topics.
That might lead you to believe that my life is all roses and picture perfect homeschool projects. That would be wrong.
I choose not to write about the disappointments and failures because I don’t think they will help to build you up. However, sometimes this rosy picture a homeschool blogger paints may work the opposite result. Some readers don’t know that there is a fumbling man (or woman, in this case) behind the curtain, pulling switches and pushing levers to make the magic happen.
So it’s confession time. Here’s the real deal, not all of it because, goodness, I want you to keep reading and the whole bag of reality might be way too disillusioning.
1. My daughter does not like to read.
I wrote an entire post about my daughter’s distaste for reading and how I’ve come to terms with it. It’s okay not to love reading. Really.
2. Sometimes my daughter doesn’t use the printables I create.
As a toddler Emma preferred plain paper to coloring books. She has simply never been a color in the lines kind of kid. She’s more of a give me a pack of 24 oil pastels and stand back while I make some lines kind of kid.
So a lot of the time, she looks at my printable pages as one of many potential ways to express her thoughts. She might take an idea from my layout, but often she rejects my plan and comes up with her own. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m quite proud of her for making the work her own.
I used to worry that she wouldn’t be able to fit in, to adapt to outside direction, to color inside the lines, so to speak. But really? Those things are far easier than coming up with original ideas. She can conform when necessary. Creativity is much harder to generate than conformity. So I let her be creative.
I really like making the printables, so I share them with you even when Emma rejects them.
3. Sometimes we fall off the bandwagon and get really lax.
I hinted at this in my WAHM (work at home mom) post. When Emma had her big surgery, it took us a long, long time to get back into the school groove. Then we moved, and that was yet another distraction. It was really easy to let school slide into a bare minimum that let me honestly say that we did school while not really investing a lot of brain power.
Sometimes I toy with the idea of becoming unschoolers, and to be honest, there were a few weeks when we really were. Sometimes I throw out Charlotte Mason’s principles and do it my way.
I don’t feel guilty about our lax weeks. There are seasons for everything. But it does make it hard to have material for a homeschool blog when you aren’t doing more than some Rosetta Stone lessons, reading a novel from Heritage History, and doing Teaching Textbooks math.
The solution for us is normally using a new book or resource that injects energy back into our routine.
4. I don’t fit into my local homeschool group and they don’t even know I’m a homeschool blogger.
Surprised? When I went to the Cincinnati Great Homeschool Convention and Real Refreshment Retreats and saw readers and fellow bloggers who consider me famous, it cracked me up. Only a few ladies at my church know about my online work. No one in my homeschool group considers me an expert or a celebrity. I’ve only been here two years, and it felt awkward to come in like a movie star, claiming to be an expert with a fancy blog and multiple ebooks. So I said nothing. And no one asked.
And I really am a misfit here. Most of the homeschoolers in this area are either a very rigorous classical style or a traditional “school at home” textbook style. Neither fits me. My style of Charlotte Mason education looks more like unschooling in contrast to the homeschoolers around me.
5. My daughter often wants to finish school more than she wants to learn.
Yes, this is the sad truth. Along with not loving to read, this urgency to get school done for the day breaks my heart. Where is the passion for learning that I saw in my little third grader?
Actually it is still there, but it is reserved for the things she is truly passionate about, not the things I select for her or that the state deems required. Her desire to get done is normal for her age and not something I should take personally as an insult or as an indicator of failure.
We do have days when school is a chore. But we have days when it is enjoyable too. Humans have moods. (Teenage girls and 40-something moms have moods!) And it’s ridiculous to think that we should both be excited to do our studies every single day. Some days you just plod through. It’s okay. It’s life. In the grand scheme of things, I believe I am instilling a love of learning and a curiosity about the world that will serve her well.
So do you feel better, knowing these insider secrets? Do you now know without a shadow of a doubt that we are normal people with good days and bad days, personal strengths and quirks? We are just like you — imperfect homeschoolers.