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We all have those days. You know what I’m talking about.

We all have those days where you feel like the world is against you and nothing goes right. There isn’t enough coffee to account for the amount of energy you need to expend just to get through.

I know you all know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes, I bet you all have multiple “days” that attack you all at once.

Today was one of those days.  It was one of those days that exhausts me so much that I can barely even sit and repeat the details because I’d rather crawl under the covers and sleep until my kids graduate college.

Okay, that may be a little extreme, but you get the idea.

I begin everyday thinking, “This will be the day.  This will be the day that we sail smoothly through these unchartered waters.  Homeschool will be dreamy, the chicken I cook for dinner won’t set off the smoke alarms, and maybe we will even have all the stars align and get a call that we are getting real furniture after our two-month wait.  Maybe.” 

But despite all of those positive thoughts, there was crying over math before ten-thirty a.m. which resulted in the teacher-monster of a mom coming out. 

For the record, I had zero problem telling my own child the same thing I’ve said to countless other kids in my years of teaching…

I told her that a bad attitude was not an excuse.  I told her that it is one thing to be frustrated when things are hard, but there is no reason for a rotten attitude just because you don’t want to try.  I told her that I was done until her bad attitude was in a better place.

I’ve given similar lectures to many students over the years, but it never makes it easier.  It isn’t easy to walk away from a crying child and a math book. 

It makes me feel like a failure every single time. And there have been MANY of those times over my 20 year career.

After quite a while and a whole lot of shoulder shrugs and, “I don’t knows,” I got an answer–of sorts.  Not surprisingly, it had nothing to do with math. 

It never does.

In all my years of teaching, the outbursts never actually mean what you think they do on the surface.

Instead of another, “I hate math,” complaint, I got a teary, “I just didn’t want to move.”

Have you read what I think about kids being resilient?  If not, read this blog post now…My Child is Not Resilient – Confessions, Coffee, and Miraculum (confessionscoffeeandmiraculum.com)

Kids are not “resilient”. My kids have both been working really hard at processing this huge life change. They are both fighters who are trusting that I can guide them down the right path.

We’ve been here for almost two months.  There have been new friends and beach days and trampoline parks and go-cart racing.  But that doesn’t replace “home.”

Here I am wondering if this homeschooling journey is a mistake and looking for some kind of outside validation that I’m doing the right thing, and really, the only thing that matters is the fact that instead of my baby suffering through a rotten day at school feeling miserable, I was able hug her and tell her it would be okay.

We all went out for lunch.  We laughed about silly things and we bought new books to read at the bookstore. We stuffed our faces with yummy, loaded tostadas at a late 8:30 p.m. dinnertime because we weren’t worried about tomorrow morning’s alarm clocks (which don’t exist this year for us).

Because of the path we are presently on, dancer daughter didn’t have to suffer through six hours of sixth grade lessons when her brain was clearly not ready to learn anything. She didn’t have to hide her tears for fear that her new friends would make fun of her.

And that math lesson?  We blasted through it at 9:30 p.m. tonight.  (Because her teacher lives here. Lol.) There were no tears, no frustration, and no mention of the earlier outburst. 

Did we accomplish everything on my “lesson plan” today?  Nope. 

But on days like these, I’m reminding myself of the reason we’re venturing down such an unfamiliar path.

I found myself thinking about the other days we’ve had.  I found myself thinking about our plan to take life slower and answer to fewer schedules.  I found myself thinking that this year is not about the same things that life has been about in our past.  We have this strange and wonderful opportunity to slow down for a bit.

On days like these, I’ll choose to remember days like those

I’ll choose to remember this month’s mid-week adventure that we took as a family just because we could.

There was a big part of my teacher and mama heart that felt like we were “playing hooky” that day, but after an hour or so of skipping the book work to learn real life, those guilty feelings subsided.

We spent half of a day on the water of the Ogeechee River last week with Captain Dave. He told us about red fish, stringrays, and growing up. He told us about the best church for kids’ youth groups and how to fry up the best fish. He told us crazy stories about abandoned boats and hurricanes and the only restaurant he would go to eat fresh fish.

As I watched my kids’ faces on the boat ride back to the dock, I remember thinking to myself, “There is NO way this was a waste of a day or of education.”

Heck, I learned more about marine life that day than I’ve ever learned from a book.

My mom guilt of, “My kids are not in a classroom right now,” transformed into, “My kids learned so much today without ever picking up a pencil or standing in a silent, straight line.”

We avoided the rush of getting to school, packing lunches, checking homework, and all the other things that we know all too well about school.

We avoided all the stressful time wasters that conventional education has to require in order to properly function.

Instead, we loaded our family into the truck, watched the sun rise, and listened to knowledge from a man who has not only caught fish, but has traveled a sailboat from the Georgia coast to the Bahamas, almost died hunting water buffalo in South Africa, and is friends with Paula Deen’s husband.

I thought to myself, “On those days…I’ll remember these moments and know that I did something right.”

So, tonight I’m choosing to remember this. 

I’m going to forget the tears and the attitude and the uncertainty that each day brings as I wonder if I’m doing this the right way or making a royal mess. Instead, I’m going to remember this.

I think it’s a good lesson for all of us to remember to stop and take a step back. Life seldom goes as planned, and in reality, we worry and stress even when it does go as planned. So, tomorrow, let’s just all remember those days. Let’s remember those days that matter.

I’m going to remember that I am capable of being my children’s best teacher. I am going to remember that it is okay to try something different, even if everyone else doesn’t understand. I’m going to remember that the most important thing is that my children are safe, loved, and happy.

And then I’m going to pour a glass of wine and call it a day. Tomorrow can worry about itself.

Be grateful (for life lessons in the form of tears), water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.

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