“You need a rut to run in.”
When I read that years ago in a book about home education, I bristled. A rut? People get stuck in ruts and never change, never take risks, never explore new possibilities. Ruts feel like tedium. Monotony. Boredom. Ruts seem unimaginative and unattractive. Everything in me yearned to break out of any rut I might run the risk of tumbling into—my random-abstract personality craved variety and spontaneity for myself and my kids.
I wanted us to experience a life of adventure, flexible enough to enjoy exploring the world of science and art and literature in novel ways, so to speak. I had an overall vision and plenty of books to support my ideas, but I didn’t want to feel constrained and I didn’t want the kids to feel that way, either. I wanted my kids to grow up with a sense of curiosity, adventure, and freedom. No ruts for us, no way.
But the longer I home educated, the more I came to realize that a rut—formed by established routines and habits—would simplify life. If we had a rut to run in, we wouldn’t have to reinvent every single day. If we established a routine, the kids could wake up and know what to expect. They could get straight to work on sequential, daily subjects like math, handwriting, or spelling. Well-conceived, a routine could provide a sense of peace, order and regularity—a steadying framework. After too many inefficient, unpredictable mornings, they began to crave a rut to run in. And as much as I resisted—as much as I hated to admit it—so did I…