The Day the Teacher Threw Us Out

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The black plastic recorder contrasted nicely with the sheet music in front of me. I was at a weekly homeschool group. We were doing our music lesson. Well, we were supposed to be doing our music lesson.

Come to think of it, I wasn't thinking about my recorder or the music. I was goofing off. So where the handful of other kids. I don't remember what had us so amped. I can't recall why we were giddy. I don't even remember being that abnormally off the wall. But we mindlessly brought our teacher--a sweet homeschool mom--to the end of her rope.

"That's it!" she finally bellowed. "If you're not interested in learning, just take your games outside."

The room fell silent. What were we supposed to do?

"Go," she commanded.

We went.

I placed my recorder on the railing of the back deck. The joy had left our game. We tried to play, but it was half-hearted. We had failed. We had broken the system. And, I learned that day, there comes a point where being a rebel isn't fun anymore.

I realized I needed to share this story after Susan blogged about her unmotivated son. I am definitely one of those bloggers who extols the benefits of homeschooling when it comes to the love of learning. I mean, I'm blogging for a company that guarantees you'll love homeschooling. Even so, there are times and there are subjects that simply require putting your nose to the grindstone. There are days when it may be better to just go outside and play. Effort isn't always equated with joy.

But when you see progress because of your effort?
When you begin to gain mastery?
When you use tools that resonate with you?
When you've got a system that works for you and your family?

Then--then--homeschooling is a joy. Not always. Not in everything. But in general. Overall you and your children will love learning together. And it could be that you need to find those resources that inspire your students. I had to switch math programs one year because the one I had was boring me to death. After we moved to a math program that was more in line with my personality, I again rocked in math.

When do you notice your students are unmotivated? What do you do when you feel like you're constantly reminding them to keep working? Have you ever kicked your kids out of class?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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