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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Post-Portfolio Blues?

Ever have one of those days when you wonder what you are doing? And why?

Or one of those weeks?

One of those lives?

I've got the post-portfolio blues (I'm hummin' Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Honky-Tonk Blues").

We had our portfolio reviews on Monday. We've done easily a full year's worth of work. I was a amazed. Really.

But the year isn't over. And real learning isn't bookended by portfolio reviews.

So, why is my interior slug raising its slimy head? And peering at me with those beady eyes? And thinking maybe I should just let them read books, play outside, and play computer games while I finally wash the kitchen floor? And get out from under the laundry?

And focusing on next year? And totally perplexed as to what I am doing right now? Or should be doing right now?

I had plans. Yes. All written out, with little notes and references to resources.

But the questions abound in my little noggin. The doubts. The Am I Doing It Right? Doubts (blues).

Did I take the wrong path a few miles back?

How will I know if I did?

And wouldn't it be so much easier to put the little darlings in school?

You could call it burnout, I suppose. Or maybe schoolhouse fever? But somehow the very act of putting together those killer portfolios left me teetering on the edge of an abyss.

Our state doesn't expect me to prove that the children actually learned anything. I couldn't prove it if they wanted me to. I just have to show that they received "regular and thorough instruction." And that's the sticking point. I know that my children have been regularly and thoroughly instructed, often in creative and fun-filled ways. But how can I ever know that they actually learned anything? Do you see the paradox?

It's a little like buying shoes for a little one. You can see it's a good fit by squishing down the toe and squeezing across the instep and lifting the heel up and down. You can see it doesn't slip. That there's room to grow. But is it comfortable? Is it going to give your tender-footed daughter a blister after she wears it to church?

It looks good from the outside, but what if they are hobbled in some way by my efforts?

I see it when I see their empty gazes over something they did earlier in the year. I fear it when we study something (just as a little review, mind you) at the end of the year that we studied in depth at the beginning of the year's as if they've never heard of it before in their lives.

I can see that it's time for my yearly personal evaluation of where we're at. And where we're going. But in spite of my many prayers, I'm not sure I can answer those questions. I'm not sure there is an answer, except to continue that leap of faith. Into the abyss.

Leave me a comment so I know I'm not talking to myself...and that someone out there hears me banging my head against the wall.


  1. Ohhh! So I'm not the only one who wants to let the kids read books and do some 'real' work myself.

    This, too will pass, I'm sure. I'm going to take some days off next week. How about you?

    By the way, they're learning. Don't worry about it. (As if that's possible! LOL)

    Annie Kate

  2. Somehow it always feels better when you know that others are having the same problem.


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