The first thing that came to my mind was "Homeschooling is like Windsurfing."
Since she had never been windsurfing, she just looked at me and shook her head and suggested that I go take a nap or a walk. She didn't see the relationship between me dragging her granddaughter through the school day and windsurfing so I had to explain.
Way back when I was younger and lived someplace warmer, I learned to windsurf. One day, I had been out too far from shore and misjudged the wind. I fell off my board in open water and had to pull myself back onto the board. I was already tired from being out too long for a beginner. Picture little me, in open water balanced on a surfboard trying to pull my sail up out of the water (and not with as much skill and power as the lady in the picture who is demonstrating the correct way to pull a sail out of the water). It was hard. I teetered on the board and pulled with all my might against the weight of the water in my sail. I fell back into the water more than once. I felt like I would never get the sail back up where it belonged.
I would have given up if I could have, but I had no choice except to get my sail out of the water so that I could go home unless I wanted to roll it up and paddle back in defeat. That was how my day of schooling had been. Homeschooling is like windsurfing.
The more I thought about it, the more my simple attempt at a simile turned into a really good analogy.
You can read books and talk to experts and take classes on it, but you really don't know anything about until you try it.
To some people it looks like fun, and to others it looks terrifying.
Some days, you have the wind in your sail, and you seem to just fly, and everything is easy.
Some days, there isn't any wind or surf.
Some people spend a lot of money on equipment.
Some people can manage on a shoestring.
Someone always seems to make it look easier than what you are doing.
Someone always makes it look harder.
Some people give up, roll up their sail and paddle back to shore.
Sometimes, you feel like you are in over your head.
Sometimes everything works out perfectly anyway.
Homeschooling is like windsurfing. The longer you have been doing it, the easier it is to get back on your board and get your sail up out of the water. You know that your board doesn't have to be the newest, and your sail doesn't have to match your wetsuit, and the wind doesn't have to be perfect. You learn to trust your equipment and yourself.
I still don't have a simile.