"Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy!" ~ Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus
There are good reasons why I'm not a fan of home improvement projects. Allowing strangers into our personal space is one of them. We're an introverted bunch here, and privacy is a must for our peace of mind. Our house is very small with many large windows. It's one of the things that made us fall in love with our home. But a small house with many windows becomes a zoo exhibit when it's surrounded by work crews peeling off layers of roof. Which brings me to the other issue I have with home improvement: the mess.
There is no way to prevent a mess when you are doing major work on your home, even if you do it yourself. Our house is set back from the road and surrounded by plants. There are now ruts in the lawn where the roofers pulled their truck closer to the house. My ferns were smothered under half a roof worth of shingles, which was horrifying to my gardener's heart. Unfortunately, renovations can't always be avoided. Our roof was leaking, we had no choice. At least we had the promise of only a few days of work. The stories I have heard from friends who redid their kitchens or baths has me thinking I should really learn plumbing and tiling if I ever want mine done.
That chaos that comes from renovating is similar to the chaos we see in our lives as homeschoolers. The mess can't be avoided. It is part of the learning process. Our children explore their world with all of their senses, especially when they are little. The younger the child, the bigger the mess. My floor was an obstacle course of LEGO blocks, wooden trains, and Barbie accessories when my kids were small. I hated that I had no control over it. When I got overwhelmed, I would sweep it into a pile and tell them to pick out their stuff and put it away. I looked to ideas like the Flylady system to help me declutter and clean. Flylady did give me methods to get more organized, but that just meant I was able to put away one set of toys before the next activity filled the floor and couch. Clutter was the tide, and eventually I had to decide if I was going to float with it or drown.
It's hard to see an end in sight when you are in the midst of it all, but just like home renovations, there will come a time when your homeschooling project will be finished. The messes will be less as they get older, or more contained as their focus and organizational skills improve. You realize suddenly that the only toys you are tripping over are the ones the cats were playing with.
I spent yesterday mowing the grass, raking the lawn, and clipping back the overgrown bushes. My ferns will return next spring, and hopefully other perennials I lost will return as well. My yard will recover by next year and our house looks that much better with a new roof over it. My children are also maturing. I don't get the same amount of debris, other than books and art projects scattered here and there. The mess is slowly diminishing as my children begin to blossom into young adults.