On a drive through the country one day, I noticed a red-winged blackbird flying rapidly across a fallow field. In the center of the field there was an unusually tall mullein plant. This weedy plant has a large dinner-plate-size rosette of fuzzy green leaves at its base. Rising from the base is a three-foot bare stalk that has yellow flowers on it when it’s in bloom.
Catching sight of the red stripe out of the corner of my eye, I watched him fly low across the field. Suddenly he stretched out his feet and caught the top of the mullein stalk. The stalk swayed far out in front of him and then sprang far back behind him as he hung on tightly. Yet each succeeding forward and backward motion of the plant covered less distance until at last he sat on top of the upright stem, which had stopped swaying altogether.
Instantly I thought of my homeschooling journey. At the beginning I was just like that bird flying along and catching the very top of the “homeschool experience.”
It was so new and so terrifying, and I flailed along for a year or so like the bird swinging wildly – way out and then way back.
Eventually, I gained more confidence and felt less and less out of control. Finally, I sat on top of the quiet “stalk,” balanced and with a fairly good homeschool routine.
Maybe this is you this year as you begin this homeschool journey. This kind of balance means finding the right routine for your particular family. It requires you to discover how your children learn and how you teach. You will ultimately find yourself fitting all the pieces together for a positive homeschool experience.
Yes, it’s true that any gust of wind caused a slight swaying for that red-winged blackbird on the flower stem, but the tremendous swing of motion when he first caught the stalk was not repeated. And yes, I had tensions off and on through all the years I taught at home, but I never did repeat that initial erratic tension that happens when one begins a new adventure.
So, for all those who are new homeschooling teachers this fall, I hope this is an encouragement. As you grab hold of this new experience, you may find yourself feeling out of balance and even swinging wildly one way and then another. Rest assured that with time you will sway less and less until you come to a place of peace, productivity and real balance.