Friday, February 4, 2011

Do Homeschoolers Get Snow Days?

A blizzard swept through the nation this week and the Frisco Independent School District was forced to shut down school for 4 days straight due to icy conditions and inclement weather.

Technically, we could continue school at home for those 4 days without interruption. However, since my husband couldn't drive into work, we decided to take the snow days and enjoy the unexpected holiday.

You might think that it was easy for me to take time off from school and work, but it was actually very difficult. I'm starting realize how programmed I am to achieve, to accomplish, to check off the boxes. I grew up not being allowed to waste a minute, accountable for every hour at home, and expected to show results daily in practicing my instruments as well as schoolwork. I see value in some of the ways I was raised, but I also recognize that a part of me tends to look at play time as wasted time, even though I know it's not true. Just because I didn't get any down time as a child doesn't mean my kids have to grow up that way! And yet I was surprised at how much I struggled to be at peace with the world coming to a stop for a few days.

After I let my girls go 2 days without practicing and opening a book, I started to feel anxiety. What if they forget everything? What if they get behind on their work? What if I'm teaching them that they don't need to be disciplined in life? It was all I could do to force them out of their Polly Pocket/Barbie/American Girl doll playtime and make them get back into the routine.

I had to remind myself that the goal of their being at home this year is not just about knowledge, it's about character. My character flaws are many, and the first is perfectionism. I want the perfect day, the perfect schedule, the perfect results to my hard work. It's so unrealistic and yet so ingrained in my psyche. The snow days this week challenged me to let go of perfectionism and let my girls be who they are- kids. Kids who love snow, who love to play with daddy when he gets to stay at home, who enjoy games with the whole family and creating magical worlds with each other with their dolls. I don't want to teach them that they can't relax and enjoy a peaceful day of rest, and I don't want them to struggle with perfectionism like I do. I want them to have memories that mom allowed for fun and even encouraged it, but that she also challenged them to strive for excellence rather than perfection. It's a hard balance between being pushy and being passive, and I pray for immeasurable wisdom to walk the line with gentleness and integrity!

So yes, we homeschoolers did take the snow days this week, but it was in the absence of teaching that I learned one of my biggest lessons!


Kim Bolos said...

love the blog... especially the goal of striving for excellence vs. perfectionism... good food for thought!

heatherinin said...

Wonderful post, Tammy!