I find it amusing when people tell me, "I would love to homeschool, but I just couldn't! We would just fight all the time!" or "I could never make her do the work!" or something along those lines. I should also say I find it amusing how often I hear this comment. I never know what to say. Because the truth is there are days, plenty of days, when I think that very same thing. Really. But all the other days make up for it. All the other days of biking and skiing and gardening and hanging out with friends, going on trips, catching frogs, kayaking, playing in the mud, launching rockets...all these things I get to do with my kids because I homeschool. I truthfully can't imagine a time when I would have to squeeze in a trip to Fort Knox between schools and camps and life.
I was thinking about this today when I got this quote from the unschooling blog I subscribe to: When you know how you want to be, the next step is to make conscious decisions in a "getting warm" or "getting cold" kind of way. Not all steps will be forward, but if the majority of steps are in your chosen direction, there y'go!
The people who tell me they "wish" they could homeschool but "just can't" are missing out on that first step. The one where you look at how you want to be and just start walking in that direction. Give it a shot, make one change today and see where it gets you. I often tell parents who come to me for help that if you have to fight with your kids, it isn't worth it. Whatever point you are trying to get across is being lost in the struggle. Power struggles end when the one with the power gives up the struggle...and know what? I'm not always good at this. Just the other day, I got into a power struggle with Erin over something stupid. When did it end? When I gave up the power and took a deep breath. Think you can't "make" your child do work? Take a deep breath. Go for a bike ride instead. Try tomorrow or the next day or the next month or not at all...take a step towards being the parent you want to be. Get a little warmer each time. Yes, there will absolutely be times when you "get colder" on your journey. You will *gasp* yell at your kids and get annoyed by their fighting and the messy house and the often endless questions/comments/judgements from friends and family. But those times will begin to get few and far between and the resulting feelings of contentment and joy will permeate most of what you do together. It is pretty awesome to feel such peace with your kids and such joy from daily living.
We've been homeschooling for three years now so we are by no means experts at this, but we are experienced enough that newcomers ask us questions. My answer is always the same--I wouldn't trade it for anything, I tell them, and I can't give it up now, because I'm still just beginning the journey!