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Homeschooling: A Balancing Act

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By Beverly S. Krueger

It doesn’t look pretty when someone new to gymnastics takes their first walk down the balance beam—no back walkovers, no spins, just one carefully placed step followed by another. Homeschooling can be like that and not just when you’re starting out. Take a bad tumble, and you’re back to watching your footing carefully again. Homeschooling is a discipline that requires work, but you know that. There’s the preparation and planning, the struggling through yet another science experiment that doesn’t quite work out, and the literature discussion question that leaves you scratching your head even when you have the explanation from the teacher’s manual.

When homeschooling gets difficult, it’s important to remember that you just need to take another step. You don’t have to do acrobatics. If you’ve been listening to the homeschool mom in your support group or co-op for whom everything seems to go perfectly, you’re probably wondering what you’re doing wrong. In my experience, perfection is a façade. Everyone struggles from time-to-time, even Mrs. Perfect. She’s just not sure enough of herself to expose her weaknesses to others, which is a pity. Sharing your struggles is what a support group is all about—support. Holding someone’s hand while walking down a balance beam makes it so much easier to do. Sometime soon, it will be your turn to return the favor.

Illness, loss of employment, and family problems can strike us all. If homeschooling is work during normal times, it’s doubly so during difficult times. You may even find yourself ready to stop academics for a season to get the rest of life in order. That’s okay. It’s like falling off the balance beam. After a fall, you collect yourself and mount the beam again. Homeschooling is always waiting. You may need help to get back on your feet, but so have I, and so have your other homeschool friends. Here’s an idea. At your next support group meeting ask the members or leadership what was the hardest time you ever had homeschooling (not hardest thing or hardest day, but hardest time). The only problem for me in answering that question is deciding which time was the hardest time. Was it when I started out and our oldest was actively opposed to our decision to homeschool or was it when my husband was out of work for eight months. Then there’s the whole period of time when it seemed impossible to keep my son motivated or the month I took care of my mother after her bone marrow transplant and my husband was in charge of the homeschooling (such as it was.) It’s hard to decide, but do I have stories to tell, and they all involve other people extending a hand out to help me keep my balance.

With just two more years to go before our youngest heads off to college, I’m currently contemplating my dismount. I’ve been homeschooling sixteen years and in a season where things seem relatively easy. It’s still a step at a time process. I have biology labs to plan and health issues that have slowed me down, but at this point, I’m confident I’ll finish my routine.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.“ Philippians 3:12-14

Copyright ©  2009 Eclectic Homeschool Association

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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