Consider this part two of my homeschooling breakdown/breakthrough – henceforth known simply as “the story”. (If you are just joining us, you may want to read the introduction and part one first.) When we last left off, I was excited about my plans for the upcoming year. I always like to have a theme/intention to guide us and even wrote a guest post about this way of approaching homeschooling. I still stand by this intentional approach, however, I will warn you: setting an intention is powerful, and it doesn’t always manifest as planned. Last year, I learned this lesson in spades.
Our intention of ‘setting sail’ conjured wonderful imagery: tall ships, billowing sails, the expansive sea. We made these sweet little boats, read the first book in what has become one of our favorite series ever and even did a bit of form drawing for good measure. All seemed well . . . until everything went wrong. I shared this by admitting to treading water last October, but really it wasn’t until April, when I read this line of poetry that I realized the extent of the damage: “Trust deep water and head for the open even if your vision shipwrecks you.“ I still get a lump in my throat when I read those words, because we were absolutely shipwrecked.
I am trying to be careful in this retelling. I don’t want to veer off into dramatic and inflated language. I don’t want to strangle the metaphor. I want to tell what happened as plainly as I can. Looking back, it is so easy to see the grace, the humor, the irony and the little glimmers of hope. But that is not how it happened in real-time. All I could see in the moment was everything that I thought to be solid crumbling around me. The word “breakdown” is not hyperbole nor is it of the nervous variety. It was a breaking down of everything upon which I had built my identity – namely homeschooling with Waldorf-inspired methods. That is hard to admit – even today – when I know this story has a happy ending. I had not expected to confess that in this space, but it is integral to the story. Actually, it is more than integral; it is central. Homeschooling my boys had become who I was. All I was. Or so I believed at the time.
On Monday morning, I was having coffee on my side porch, thinking about this draft that I started more than two weeks ago. What was so hard? Why was I getting tangled up in my own words? Why can’t I just tell the effing story? And why the hell did I start telling it in the first place? Staring out over the hayfields to the row of pines beyond, I thought back to the comments I received when I first hinted about my struggles with homeschooling this past year. The response floored me. And that is why I wrestle with the words. I want to tell this story so you don’t feel like you’re the only one – the only one who can’t make your home/homeschool resemble what you see in blogs, in books or even in your imagination. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the internet is not real life. We all know this cognitively. But emotionally? That’s a whole different ball of Waldorf-inspired beeswax. That is where the work comes in. And the work is what I want to talk about going forward.
As you begin to look forward to next year, take care, my friends. And go gently. xoS
** To read the last part of this story and see my plans for this year, click here.