Don’t be so shocked that your efforts pay off!

Happy woman













My favorite emails are the ones that have lots of exclamation points in the subject line:

It works!!! or

I love the Brave Writer Lifestyle!!! or

We had our first poetry teatime!!!

I imagine grown women bouncing in a bounce house shouting to their friends: “I can’t believe that happiness is possible in homeschool, wheeeeeee!”

Yet it does come as a shock, doesn’t it? We want lessons to be rich with concentration and joy, but we don’t really expect it to happen. Really. I mean, is it actually possible to fall in love with fractions? To become so engrossed in a read aloud, the entire room goes silent except for the clicking of Legos? To discover the power of poetic language over brownies and slurps of tea? To learn the parts of speech with Post It notes?

Niggling guilt rises from the depths. “Is this okay?”

There’s a malingering memory of school—staring at the clock at the end of the day, willing it to inch forward to the bell; exclusion from the popular kids’ lunch table; the embarrassment of changing into polyester gym shorts; True/False tests that jumble facts and figures, yet never confirm learning…

School is hard. School is dull. School is meant to train you to learn in spite of… fill in the blank.

Homeschooling is an adventure, a purpose, a chance at educational rebirth. It’s a reinvention of a life (yours!) and education (theirs and yours!). You risk this noble ideal on your kids’ future (brazen and bold!) because you see the opportunity, you see the potential!

You expect homeschooling to go well (or you wouldn’t do it), but then you can’t believe it IS going well when you enjoy it!

It’s the craziest thing!

I get calls and emails asking if you’re doing it right or doing enough or if there is something you are missing. Invariably these questions come after a successful, happy homeschool experience, bizarrely enough.

It’s almost as if the moment we relax, follow our hunches, and trust the process, the inner doubter pipes up and says, “Hey! Grammar study is painful and necessary. Stop laughing. Stop enjoying that read aloud book. Get over here, slit open a vein, and diagram that sentence in your child’s blood. Pronto!”

Ignore those requests.

When a child is speaking a blue streak and your hands can’t keep up with typing, when two children giggle over traded poems, when you wake to a budding novelist’s cheerful keyboarding unprompted by you, when everyone begs you for one more chapter, when a child stitches together her own copywork book, when your son decides to learn calligraphy, when Post It notes litter your household items with verbs and adjectives, when artwork is strung on clotheslines across the living room, when dress up clothes are scattered in the hall, when your teen has to explain in writing an important point online to his gaming community, when your daughter is reading all the Jane Austen books in a row and then watching their “made into film” versions, when your child is more of an expert about World War II or birds or lacrosse or Japan than you have ever been…

Yes, it’s working! Those are the signs. These are the very evidences of a life of learning, of loving learning, of living a life of love for learning.

Happiness? Check.

Engagement? Check.

Evidence? Check.

Growth? Check.

Depth? Check.

Eager cooperation? Check.

Self starting? Check.

Now why on earth would you stop all of that to go back to what thwarts, frustrates, or bores your kids “to be sure they aren’t missing anything”?

Why would you?

You wouldn’t!

Keep going!!!!!

(A few extra exclamation points to nudge you back to the happy trail!!!!!!!)

Cross-posted on facebook.

Image © Andres Rodriguez |

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