A recipe for homeschooling
We had a recent discussion about how to "get it all done" as a wife, mother and teacher of your own children in an online forum. My instinctive response has always been, "You can't. Prioritize, do what you can and learn to let the rest go. Most of our difficulties and stress are self-imposed because we feel like we should be doing something that we aren't equipped to do."

This week, I made an as-of-yet-unnamed casserole dish that seemed to emphasize my basic philosophy in this regard. As my husband stood over the stove picking at it while I tried to get the plates ready, I ran over how I had made it so that I would remember it in future. It is unusual for my picky eater of a husband to take so much notice of a dish. I did not expect dinner to become an analogy for life, but here it is:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Dice most of a pound of bacon and most of an onion.
Fry until the bacon is cooked.
Shred most of a block of Mozzarella cheese.
Combine with 9 eggs (most of a dozen?)
Add whatever seasoning you have and sounds good. I just dumped in salt and pepper, but didn't measure.
Add bacon mixture to egg mixture and stir.
Cover the bottom of a greased casserole dish with tater tots.
Pour mixture over and try to spread evenly.
Cook until done. I set the time for 25 minutes and then kept checking because I had no idea how long it should take.
Mostly, this dish cleared out the left overs in my refrigerator, as you probably noticed. I had a sort of recipe that I had printed off the internet, but there were so many modifications that you could hardly call it the same thing. I had a plan, just like I have a curriculum for my homeschooling. But I did not have all the resources to carry out that plan. The Principle Approach is an intensive study for the whole family and can be quite time consuming. That is a resource I do not have while raising young children. I have been forced to modify what and how I teach to suit my family.

I fall short in many areas. I don't always have everything I "need" to complete a unit as planned. I make many substitutions. There are parts of the plan I do not understand and I am not the type to try to teach something I don't have some familiarity with. I have goals set out, but I am not sure when those goals will be realized. I may set the timer on a topic at a week or two weeks, but I keep checking the "oven" to see if it is done. When it is, we wrap it up and move on. I don't stop simply because the plan says to move on after a week and I don't stretch it out to a week if my daughter demonstrates comprehension in half the time.

I don't know how this will turn out in the end, but I am certain that decreasing the stress of unrealistic goals and expectations will go a long way toward helping my children recognize the core of what I am trying to teach them.

And sometimes the substitutions we have made have turned into a far more valuable experience than the plan set before me.

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