Axethrowing. Doesn’t it sound so intimidating? I would never have gone on my own, but a friend suggested it for Friday night fun. Sure! I’ll try it!
We walked down a dark alley to find the entrance to the building nestled in between some warehouses. Inside, the building was plain with wood tacked up against the walls. Only wire fence dividers separated the groups of people.
Before entering I had envisioned the room divided up much like batting cages, but this room had no barriers other than the wire fences on either sides of the targets. We were all exposed and vulnerable to the actions of those around us. It was a bit scary…at first.
The staff gave us a quick lesson in axethrowing. Saying something about taking a step and swinging the axe over your head. What?! Then, saying that you didn’t need to push the axe – just release and the axe’s momentum would take it into the wood target in front of you. And…that was it – we were picking up large axes and talking to each other about our “form” as we began the process of getting the axe to hit the target.
It was a little maddening, because I wanted to sling the axe. I wanted to hit a few things. (I had secretly hoped it would help me get out some piled up tension) But, the secret to axethrowing is being relaxed and controlled. It’s not about using a lot of manpower or exerting a lot of energy. Who knew?
So, how does this relate to homeschooling?
I bet a good number of you think or have thought that homeschooling is intimidating. You’ve probably seen the Instagram photos or heard someone talk about it. You’ve probably gotten a picture in your mind of how only smart, strong, and patient parents can attempt this feat.
Yet, something or someone gives you the courage to try. The courage to give it a shot. For many of you, COVID gave you enough confidence to walk down the dark alley and push open the door.
As you begin the journey of homeschooling, you get the sense that you’re stepping way out of your comfort zone. You had a picture of what it should look like, but you find that things are not as you thought they should be.
Just like the axethrowing facility, you find an environment that has some boundaries, but you may not feel like there are enough safety nets in place. There are targets, there are goals, but there are no coaches, no experts, no “batting cages.”
Many times the people surrounding you give you a basic “how to” and that is about all you get. You have to take the step and you have to “swing the axe” all on your own.
You probably begin feeling like you have to use tons of energy and do all the subjects and push your child to be the best at everything. You hear words like “unschooling,” but it doesn’t seem right that homeschooling can be relaxed AND controlled.
You push through the first few weeks or months working hard, and you may even see some progress. But as you go through the days of “picking up your axe,” you begin to realize what the “staff” was trying to tell you. It’s not about strength. It’s about steady progress, consistent follow through.
You begin to see your “axes” hit their targets. You begin to understand why people would walk down the “dark alley,” why they would continue to homeschool.
How are you at axethrowing?
Some of you have already made the plunge, and you need to know that homeschooling is not about strength – it is about steady and consistent progress. You’re trying too hard to swing the axe and hit the target, and it’s bounced back at you a couple of times. You need to relax and get back to your “why.”
Some of you are hesitant and uncertain, and you need to know that homeschooling is not only for the strong. It really does offer the joy and adventure that you long to have for your children. But, you need to walk the dark alley and brave the bare, open spaces of the unknown.
Some of you need to realize that you are hitting the target, you are making an impact, and you are right where you need to be. Enjoy the ride, but also share with those around you who are struggling with the process, the lifestyle, the “axe.”
I’m not sure I would have enjoyed axethrowing alone. I enjoyed being there with friends. I enjoyed cheering with them when they got a bullseye. When the axe kept hitting the ground, it was good to have people there to encourage me. I enjoyed laughing at the mistakes together and celebrating the accomplishments.
Don’t homeschool alone. Find a friend or two, or find a tribe or two. Axethrowing, homeschooling, both need the same thing.