Taking “Perfect” Out of My Vocabulary

I used to be very challenged. I LOVED order. I mean, I wasn’t quite “Monk” level in my organization, but I tidied, alphabetized, fluffed, matched, sorted, vacuumed and “staged” my apartment into excruciating pristine-ness. Re-do makeup on lunch break. Re-iron clothes between classes in college. I remember my little southern room mate exclaiming, “Dah-ay-anne. People KNOW you sit day-own.”

Maintaining that level of perfection is exhausting. It is also depressing because the ideal is never quite met. It buys only a temporary sense of well being at best. And generally speaking, it makes things miserable for a lot of other people.

Now, try to apply this mindset to homeschooling. You read blogs, see great articles (with pictures to help you visualize your perfect homeschool situation), lurk on discussion boards where everybody has their own definition of what perfect homeschooling is…and THAT, my friends, will ruin you. I spent a few years trying to “do perfect” in our schooling, with imperfect kids, imperfect budget, imperfect room layout, and (last but certainly not least) imperfect ME. Cue ominous music.

It took me years to understand that NO curriculum will fit every kid. We are not the public school that issues a copy of a textbook out of one big box for every student. And… even what feels like the perfect curriculum in September may morph into really NOT perfect by January. Because kids change and grow. Because circumstances are never static. Because budgets change. Because life happens.

So, let’s make a promise to ourselves. Just do today what is great (not perfect) and expedient for today. If that means Hamburger Helper for supper, do it. If that means the laundry stays in the dryer, so be it. If that means this kids get some reading and math in and watch Magic School Bus and Fetch! for the rest of school because you are not feeling well, alright then. Pajamas all day? Okay! Learning to compare prices at the grocery store and stick to a budget for math? Yep!

Bottom line…if it’s “one of those days” just remember that it won’t always be like this. Don’t compare with the friends in your co-op. They are not you. They don’t have your kids. They don’t live your life in your home. No…I won’t break into a chorus of “Let It Go”. 😉

“Perfect” is what fits. It’s the favorite pair of soft, old jeans. The fuzzy slippers you snuggle into in the morning. That cup of “just right” coffee that makes your brain say “Ahhhhhhhh….” with it’s warmth. Ask God what “perfect” should look like today. I suspect it will likely be different than what you had in mind!

finalhedgeNow. See this little fellow? A couple years ago he would have been banished from “my tree”, because “my tree” already had its colors, layout, and theme chosen. A purple hedgehog doesn’t say “Christmas”!

I’ve come a long way. Know how far? The kids set up and decorated the tree entirely by themselves. And I have not touched it since. Life is too short to focus on controlling every aspect so that it is safe, pleasing, wrinkle free, and convenient. We miss an awful lot of joy that way. I’m so grateful to be freed from who I was. Jesus is my perfection, and that’s where that issue begins and ends.

So, Merry Christmas little Hedgie, and Merry Christmas, lovely, less-than-perfect-but-so-much-happier homeschool friends!

For the Love of Learning (and Sanity),

Diane

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