I’d like to redo our homeschool space. The walls are smudgy from years of tiny fingerprints and little artists switching out their favorite paintings and quotes and drawings. The bookcases slump in the middle. The table is splattered with permanent paint and unexpectedly bumpy from years of craft projects. It’s a big project, though, and I’ve been waiting for a big chunk of time to tackle it.
I’d like to write my son a curriculum around Minecraft. I have great ideas — a multi-layered, interdisciplinary curriculum that incorporates math and programming, history and creative writing, literature and science. To do it right, though, I’d need a big chunk of uninterrupted working time, and I’m unlikely to get that soon.
I’d like to plant a garden. I think about it a lot — we have a big sunny spot in the back yard that would be perfect for a raised bed. I’ve never been a gardener, but I’d like to be. I’d need to learn more about gardening though — I’d probably need to take some classes at least — and there’s no space for that right now.
I’d love to make an evening every week just for me — space for me to do whatever I want. I’m feeling on the verge of burnout — but there’s not time for me to figure out how to make more time.
I don’t do these things — even though I want to. I don’t do them because I don’t want to start them without being prepared, without having everything I need organized and ready to go. There’s not time, not yet.
Waiting for the right moment can be wonderful, but when you’re busy with your life and your homeschool and your family, it can feel like there’s no right moment ever. It’s like the old joke about having kids — if everybody waited until they felt ready to have children, the human race would probably die out because we’re never ready. Because that’s almost always true for whatever it is we want to do: We’re not ready. The secret is to do it anyway.
Do something. Clear off the middle shelf of the saggy bookshelf. Make one Minecraft lesson plan. Plant one blueberry bush. Take one hour off. It’s so easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking that if I want to do something, I have to do it all — but that’s so silly! We are the dictators of our schedule, we are the owners of our lives, we are (to borrow a phrase) the masters of our fate. And if we want something in our lives to change, we are absolutely, positively the only ones who have the power to make it change.
The change we make with our loose ends and scattered moments may not be the picture-perfect before-and-afters we’ve gotten hooked on through media and social media. It will be better. It will be the real thing, made by us, in ways that don’t require a different kind of life, a different budget, or different kids. We will have to go slowly and appreciate the small impacts of our small changes. We will have to recognize, in months or years, when we are in the middle of our busy lives, that our work has done what we wanted it to — whether we’ve exactly met the picture in our minds or not, we are living the life we wanted to live. And all we had to do was just get started.
Food for thought
What is it that you want to change in your homeschool life?
What one change could you make today — with the time and resources you have right now — to get closer to that vision?
Why aren’t you doing it? What is in your way?