Life is Like a Sonatina ~ Reflections on My Homeschool Journey




If you're not familiar with  sonatinas, they are technically  "small sonatas". Mozart was one of the first composers to write sonatas, which are basically pieces for solo instruments written in a specific form.

In the piano world, sonatinas are great "training pieces". They help a player perfect their technical skills.

Some pianists I have talked with dislike playing sonatinas, and other enjoy them immensely. 

Maybe some folks enjoy the journey of refinement, while others are frustrated by that same process. It's all in the attitude. 

Learning sonatinas is almost a rite of passage for good pianists - they are necessary to learn before you tackle even more difficult repertoire.

As my daughter is preparing her first piano sonatina for a sonatina festival this weekend, I've been watching her practice diligently for several months. This process has at times been rewarding, frustrating, and exhilarating for her.   

In the end it's all been worth it, and she's learned so much along the way.

Our lives as homeschooling moms are a lot like this process.  

{Actually, doing anything worthwhile is a lot like learning a sonatina.}

Let me explain.

The Unknown - a.k.a. "The Challenge" 

When Anna's piano teacher assigned her sonatina she was excited and nervous at the same time. This was the hardest piece she had ever been given, yet she was motivated to start practicing because she knew how amazing the results would be.

She also loves a good challenge.

Beginning to homeschool (at least for me) was like this. I was so ready to jump into this wonderful world, but very full of fear at the same time.  

It was THE MOST DIFFICULT task I had ever undertaken in my life. 

It literally turned my life upside down.

But you know what? 

Sometimes you need that rude awakening before you make any progress.

I had to confront many of my own fears and selfish desires when I began homeschooling. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

 The first weeks of practicing a sonatina are slow going.

If you are a pianist you know the drill: hands separately with the metronome.

That metronome can be such an annoyance, but it's invaluable for learning the many scale passages in a sonatina. 


Lots of things in life are slow going, and they aren't glamorous, either. Sitting at a piano practicing for an hour each day is tough when you are twelve. 

As a homeschool mom I've often felt that my days are long and tedious, but I KNOW that I am building strong children, and ultimately - a stronger family. 

It would be very easy to take the common path and put my children in  school, but then we would all be missing  the enormous blessings of homeschool.

When feelings of doubt arise, God always puts an event - sometimes the most simple of things - in my path to let me know I am doing the RIGHT THING. 

Perhaps you could say homeschooling is like sitting at the proverbial piano bench, and I'm getting much better about sitting there to practice my craft. 

The Peak and Falling Apart

Once Anna had her sonatina learned well, it started to fall apart.

That hardly makes sense, right?

This is very common, actually. I assured her that once you have a piece learned SO WELL it falls apart, but then in the next instant it comes back together.

It's a process, and you learn a lot about yourself and the music when it happens.

Again, this is a lot like life. We work and work only to have something fall apart, but we learn more in the falling apart stage than we did in any other stage of the process. 

Homeschooling is a lot of high and low moments. One day you are thrilled because everything is clicking when you teach your third grader that difficult math concept. The next day it seems they've forgotten everything they've learned. 

One week you feel like you are a homeschool expert, and inevitably the next week you are reminded that you are NO SUCH THING! 

Many times, we just want to wave that white flag and QUIT. 

The important thing is we HANG IN THERE. We don't give up on our children or out source it to someone else "who can teach them so much better than I could." Our children are learning about commitment as they watch our commitment to them. 

The Performance

Anna will perform in a sonatina festival this weekend. 

Dozens of children will perform for a full auditorium in front judges - listening to their peers play while they are also being judged.

Sounds stressful, doesn't it? 

Maybe, but it's also the time when all of that hard work PAYS OFF.  

As a homeschooling mom, I'm seeing a lot of these moments lately and it brings me so much joy. I'm not talking about academics, either. 

There are moments when I watch my children and am so proud of them. Maybe it is the care my oldest takes as she is packing boxes and making bracelets for Operation Christmas Child or volunteering with little ones in any way she can. It could be the way my son reletlessly dives into his current interest with reckless abandon.

Lately I've noticed my children move more slowly than children in school. This is a GOOD THING. They have time to play, cultivate interests, and pursue the things of their hearts. They are comfortable in their own skin and don't mind being different.

Homeschooling moms hear me: Your efforts make an ETERNAL IMPACT on your children. Sometimes you need to take a step back to see the fruits of your labor. Don't doubt for a second that every sacrifice you make is worth it... because once you see the rewards of homeschooling those sacrifices will look more like privileges. 


It's only fitting that you hear the result of Anna's efforts over the past few months. 

She's learned a lot from this sonatina.

As she gets older she is getting more camera shy, but she wanted me to record this piece and share it with my readers.

You see, she and I talked about this post and you know what she said to me? 

"Mom, you're right. Living our lives is a lot like learning a sonatina. That's really cool." 

I've learned so very much by seizing the opportunity to homeschool my children.  

It hasn't always been easy, popular, or convenient. I don't think the truly wonderful things in life are, do you? 


 What are some of the biggest rewards and blessings you've seen in your homeschool? Let's share our successes and hearts today!