In my state, I am required by law to homeschool 180 days out of the year. I am required to track my days and verify that I homeschooled all those 180 days. I find that homeschoolers get a little crazy when it comes to counting those days and what counts as a day.
Maybe our thoughts go something a little like this…
We did all our subjects today. What a great day! Check.
We did a little math today. I can count that, right?. Check.
We went to the museum today. Oh, yeah. Field trip. Check.
Today was co-op. Thank goodness I can be done for the day. Check.
If I have to sit in this house one more day, I am going to lose my mind. Let’s go to the park. I am going to count it as PE. Check.
Library day? Good enough. Check.
We did some math at the grocery store. Check.
We all have the flu. How can I make this count? Health. There we go. Who has the puke bucket? Check.
I have PMS. And I swear if one more child asks me for a snack, I am going to lose my mind. Go watch Liberty’s Kids. Check.
Do any of these sound like you? They were all me.
I find that we get so wrapped up in what can count as our school work that we lose track of what learning is. Learning is all around us. All of the time. Children learn by watching how we live. That grocery store trip? How did you pick out the bananas? How much did they weigh? What is the cost? Were you kind to the person behind the register? Did you show patience and kindness to the elderly person blocking the path? These are all a part of learning to be a part of this world. Learning doesn’t only come from the textbook.
I think I learned this lesson when my mom was in hospice care and I was across the country taking care of her. My kids were at home with my husband. I was gone for two months. People were so concerned with my kids’ education. Now granted my daughter was a Junior in high school, so she was fully capable of managing things here for me. But people were so worried about them. What about school? As if that was the singular, most important thing on the table right then. So crazy. My kids learned more in those two months about this life than they would have ever learned in the school building. They still did a little school work, but you can bet your last dollar that I counted every one of those days as a school day.
Kids in school spend a lot of time wasting time. If we were to really look hard at a school day, we would see a lot of time spent that isn’t on academics. Maybe they are heading on a field trip. Maybe they have a pep rally. Maybe the class won’t settle down and they never get to any solid material. There are all kinds of things. No one is making them prove that they had a productive day every, single day.
So, since I was pretty rough on you yesterday, I wanted to give you a nice reminder that you are doing enough! I don’t advocate for sleeping in until noon and letting your kids watch TV all day, every day, but we all have days. I really believe the majority of homeschoolers are doing their best and want a great education for their kids. Having a rough day every now and then isn’t going to ruin them forever.
It is so hard to see the end game when you are struggling with the laundry and keeping everyone fed. It is hard to see the progress you are making on a day to day basis. But I promise, that when you are able to look back through the years, you are going to see all the things your children learned. You will be amazed. You are doing the best you can with the knowledge that you have now. Stay there.
Having a bad day? Don’t worry. It counts.