Deb Adamson: The ebb and flow of home school success

Deb Adamson

Zach and I have been riding a wave of home school success. After several grueling and frustrating near-inertia winter months, and what seemed like his deliberate 7-year-old resistance to even subtle guidance and direction, the tide has finally and thankfully turned.

What do I have to thank for this welcome change? Is it the realignment of the earth with other planets, my sharply keen and effectual parenting skills or just my 40-something hormones currently in remission? Possibly it’s him turning the more ripe and reasonable age of 8. Or could it be divine intervention? More likely it is simply the predictable cycle of productivity, self-awareness, developmental milestones and resulting growth and stability for us both.

So right now while I am cognizant, I need to brace myself for the next round of probable apathy and ultimate rough seas, right? Wrong. Unavoidably, like the moon’s effect on the earth’s tides, something insidious will undoubtedly and brutishly take hold, sending us both reeling in what feels like an intensely overpowering riptide. And me -- I’ll be blindsided as usual, left with a sinking encompassing feeling that all is lost.

I’m not sure why I establish such unrealistic home school expectations. Like all other things in life, ease and success ebb and flow. You’d think by now my refined wisdom would rule and I would anticipate the impulsive conflicts to our learning days -- but it doesn’t and I don’t. Instead I struggle with these temporary deviations thinking that as a pair, we are flawed. Ultimately I question whether Zach and I were even meant for this alternative lifestyle. After all, I had set course for a rosy sail envisioning only joyous bliss and blue skies.

But why not, I muse? We home school. What could be better? Our days are not locked in to any schedule other than the one we chart. What’s more enviable than freedom? Zach mostly chooses his path, works at his own pace and revels in oodles of extra time to play at his leisure.

But there isn’t a nirvana. Relationships with others won’t allow for it. Either in tandem or independently we sporadically lose steam, stall, question, resist and evolve. But then the inevitable occurs, and with relief we come through it all. And miraculously, just on the horizon, we are on the brink of another landmark of growth in understanding.

And so together we reset our course for a stretch of calm seas and, I must remind myself, it’s a return, an always-temporary excursion to home school paradise.

Deb Adamson, who lives in Connecticut, is a home school mom who writes about the joys, trials and adventures of days teaching and learning with her 8-year-old son. She can be reached at