Some days...some weeks...the larger share of some months, I have such doubts about continuing to homeschool. I want to stop feeling the oscillations of delight and failure, like this teeter-toter on which I am tied by choosing this life.
It's tiring, this ride.
On the high side, there's spontaneous learning. We drove home from my mom's in a merest suggestion of snow. The remaining week called for above freezing temps. The Dad and I recall Novembers full of snow and Decembers were definitely snowier than we've seen recently. My son goes from content to irate when I comment on "global warming." He gets irrational.
"We are never sledding AGAIN!" he bleats. Winter is ruined. It will never recover.
The next day --the very next day-- I am leafing through National Geographic for photographs to use in our Roman mosaics. There's an article about one family and their attempt to make a difference in energy use. I read most of this aloud as the kids snip and sort papers.
We learn the greatest use of energy is heating one's home. We learn that running a push mower for an hour spews out as much exhaust as running eleven cars; running a riding mower for an hour is equal to running thirty-four (34!) cars.
"Imagine them all lined up on that road," I say, pointing out the window. "Thirty four cars running an hour just for the neighbor to mow his and our lawn."
There's no snow tantrum today. We talk about a concern with facts and guidance. I didn't decide to preach about energy use; it came up as part of life. These are my favorite moments. These kids are going to be fine in life. I just know it.
Then there's the low side, when I become entrenched in "learning" with a capital "L" -- for the sake of keeping up, seeming well-rounded, meeting Core Standards and all that rot. Our schedule gets skewed because we're staying up too late. We don't check off all the items on my list-o-subjects. It's evening, dark already, and I am back home and available to round them up and direct Learning again.
They're not having it.
I call to them. No one answers.
I walk down the hall and confront them. "Let's do history."
Groans and grimaces.
It comes down to either forcing them to pay homage to me for the sake of pleasing my schedule/staying on track/being educated enough, or letting it go for another day. I am more inclined to let it go, and I hate myself for it.
I watch The Great Courses Lectures on my own, taking notes. The girl curls up next to me with Calvin and Hobbes. The boy is clicking through his YouTube subscriptions. I am failing them; I just know it.