Don’t Be Lemons

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This year will be our 11th year of homeschooling. One would think I’d have all my ducks in a row by now, but my ducks tend to be freethinking, hyperactive ducks. Every year has been a new adventure and I’m thinking that my 11th year won’t be an exception. Ironically, as the mother of one beautiful, teenage boy, it is also the second to the last year of homeschooling, though I’m thinking of ways he can live with me forever. I am that momma.

My attentions have been turning towards what this new year will look like. At least, I don’t begin a new school year with grandiose ideas, every year, like I once did. I’ve come to accept certain realties, such as, if it can happen, it probably will. “It” being the unexpected, and my expectations are negotiable.

I do have a few truths to pass along as most of us hunker down for a new year.

  • No matter how long you homeschool, there will ALWAYS be someone who disapproves. It used to irritate me more. Now I realize that that “someone” just doesn’t know any better. Over the years, I have created somewhat of a sympathetic face when confronted with a “nonbeliever”….can you imagine not being able to think outside the box? It’s quite sad and they deserve our concern.
  • Don’t be lemons! This phrase came about after I was giving my teenage nieces an inspirational “speech” about being themselves. I said, “Don’t be lemmings,” referring to the little creatures who are apt to hurl themselves off cliffs while following the crowd. One of my nieces misunderstood what I was saying. She thought I said, “Don’t be lemons!” The other girls soon took up the war cry and began to say, “Don’t be lemons! Be lemonade!” Personally, I think “Don’t be lemons!” is a pretty good war cry. While I urge you not to be a lemming and follow the other lemmings off the cliff, I also encourage you to begin this year’s journey with all the hopefulness of lemonade. Lemons are pretty, but tend to make one’s face pucker up. Let’s make an effort to learn from our bad days, see the glass half full, and stick in there when it gets hard.
  • And speaking of hard….because you know it’s going to get there…don’t be afraid to lay something aside for a while and then pick it back up again. Just because something didn’t work last year, doesn’t mean it will never work. Some of our kiddos just need a little more time to marinate; I have one that has needed a bit more time. When he was younger, I despaired that he would never be an independent learner. He is dyslexic and a bit hyperactive. Would you believe that he’s figuring it out? And it means more to him because he’s been able to do it at his own speed.
  • My last truth has to be the most important one; at least, it has been to me. We can’t be afraid to be ourselves. We have to do what is right for our families and our kiddos, and for OURSELVES. Some of us will never be as structured as we would like to be (raises hand high). And while I can’t seem to embrace a planner for every occasion and every minute of my day scheduled for me, I do seem to thrive on impromptu walks around the block and afternoon read-alouds. I also believe that one can never have too many books or art supplies. We have chased rabbit trails into outer space, along the Great Wall of China, and through the nervous system of the human body. Whatever you do well…do that. If you don’t think you are good at much of anything, you are probably mistaken. Just do you. And don’t worry about what the homeschool crowd (including me) has to say about it.

There are a few things that I am certain about as we begin our new school year, and the second to the last year of our homeschooling journey: that composition books always make the best planners; that we enjoy a good set of sparkly gel pens at my house; that by October, I will be ready for our winter break; and that I might actually be getting good at this.

It’s about time.


Rebekah Teague is the homeschooling mama to one busy and beautiful boy. She is married to The Muffin who is a pastor and a really great guy. In her spare time she can be found with a book and a cup of tea. She blogs at There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining

1 Comment to “ Don’t Be Lemons”

  1. Barb says :Reply

    I homeschooled for a decade and this time of the year I always think of all of you! May God go with you into this new year and may you find the path He has for you, even if it doesn’t look much like anybody else’s. May your kids not be lemmings and may you keep a smile on your face and not become a lemon. Your daily walk with your children to educate them and give them a love of learning will produce much fruit in the end.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).