Yes, I did just claim to be a veteran home schooling mom. Caveat: my oldest is still in grade school (8th grade), so if you're in high school or beyond with your kiddos, just ignore me.
I was nosing around the internet looking for inspiration as one does when one should probably be off of the internet all together...and I came across a little blog I like and there was a little article on homeschooling. I tracked down a post in which the question was asked: what advice do you have for a new home schooling mom.
I should have some, right? I mean, I've been at this since my 8th grader was in 3-year-old kindergarten (and yes, I had a boxed curriculum which we followed meticulously--those were the days!) I think this is my 12th year of home schooling and I've got 7 kiddos under my oldest.
I think this is the best I've got: believe in what you're doing, not in what's being done at any particular moment.
That's clear and easy to understand, right? (hang on.) "What I'm doing" might be slightly different than what you are doing, but when I home educate "what I'm doing" is this: I'm owning being the primary educator of my children (and running with it). I'm drawing upon the graces of the sacrament of matrimony to be the mother God is calling me to be to my children, in the way He is calling me to do that. (My children, my motherhood--by nature, this will be different for each family, so I don't judge others for doing things differently, I think "differently" is the given).
I'm choosing to have my children with me for the bulk of our waking hours, because I think I need the bulk portion in order to mother and teach as I ought. I'm choosing to have them be together as a family for the bulk portion of their days as well--learning to live with one another in charity, if nothing else, is something we need to be together in order to do. And yes, we wear down our rough edges by bumping into eachother and wearing eachother down to a gentle smoothness...the process isn't always pretty.
Believe in the education you provide your children, be that a set boxed curriculum or something that you've put together and are so excited to lead your children through.
When I say the "...not what's being done" part, I mean: Don't worry about what you saw done on Monday morning when the washer got repaired, on Tuesday when you had dentist appointments, or Wednesday afternoon when your sister dropped by for coffee. I promise you that if you keep battling to get some good work in each day, you will be shocked when May arrives and you look back at what your children have done that year!
So, that's what I mean by "not what's being done". I mean, not what's being done at any given point of any given day.
Don't judge your homeschool when the floor is strewn with paper snippets and the whole tub of crayons, which the dog is eating. Not when the toddler is teething and has a dirty diaper and you're trying to work through "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" and the house is a mess and there's no dinner planned and it's 4 pm.
The thing is, those details all matter, and the details of life--all of those moments (that I just told you to not judge yourself by) are exactly what DO comprise a homeschooling mother's day, and don't I know it!
So, maybe my advice put another way would simply be: it's not always going to look pretty. But it is beautiful. It's beautiful because it's family and it's home life. That's gonna be messy, stinky, chaotic, exhausting. But we love our vocation. And for those who are called to be a home schooling family, education is just a part of that. With lots of prayer and trust, the education is imparted just as the laundry keeps on a-running and the dishes are put back up on those shelves. "A woman's work is never finished", but if we are faithful, there will be beauty and love, and plenty to show for our effort to boot!