Burnt Cake

The beginning of another year for education usually brings thoughts of direction, focus and introspection. We take stock of our energy and time and evaluate where we should spend these valuable assets. For all intents and purposes, a good thing to do. This process begins with pictures in our minds of what we perceive to be either failure or success and then we measure our efforts against that.
We may have success personally defined as anything from a strict schedule and well kept house- to boys with combed hair & girls wearing dresses and baking with your own ground wheat all day- or children all snuggled in bed with you reading books together- or going to BSF together as a family and spending your budget on your children’s latest passion. Success may be what you see in your friend at the support group who has her children practice piano, and goes to some homeschool academy classes and seems to have a million friends.

If you fail to meet that ideal you have in your mind, you
feel depressed and guilty. How can you ever measure up? You struggle with fears you have been told over and over not to have: What if your in-laws were right? What if your husband tells you that your time for trying out your new hobby “Homeschooling” is over? What if your homeschool friends figure out you are not all you pretend to be? And horror of horrors, what if your children do not test as well as government school kids typically do?

Was this ever fair to ask you or your family to try to attain? This perfect life, this ideal that does not exist? Home educating is not the answer to achieve a flawless family. There is no flawless family. There is no perfect homeschool.
We look through the proverbial window into another home educating family’s life and we see beautiful frosting- but we cannot see the cake underneath is probably burned.

Only your closest friends may reveal to you they have burnt cake. You stare in disbelief at them as they detail a morning of unruly children, school that did not start until after lunch, little Joey stole $2 from her purse and her husband is thinking of making her go back to work. She cries and says she keeps thinking of putting her children in public school, it would be better for them to have a “real” teacher.
-- Hold it. Wait a minute. Did she say she was just like you? Yes. She did.

Put your arm around her. Cry with her. Tell her it is not easy, but it is the best thing she could be doing with her life. Pray with her right then. Offer to take her kids tomorrow so she can regroup and pray.

When you go home, stop and take a fresh look around and say, “Gee, I guess I am not a failure. We all have life struggles and Homeschooling is hard, but worth every drop of sweat and every tear.”