I have to be honest and tell you, I really try to avoid answering this question. But it has landed in my inbox so many times in the past few months, that I realize that I need to address it. I am very much an over-thinker though, and in the world of blogging that makes answering hard questions difficult. I am always worried about offending or hurting someone, or giving the wrong impression, or being criticized for our choices, and I end up saying nothing at all to avoid saying the wrong thing. I’m going to stop though, stop worrying, that is. I’m going to begin writing regularly on homeschooling. Hold me to it, okay? Maybe not every week, but hopefully at least every other. I have a list of topics that I plan to address, all I have to do is find the quiet moments to do so (ha!) I’m going to do my best!
Originally, when our first two children were small, I said that as much as I would like to homeschool, there was no way that I could. I am highly distractable (was diagnosed ADHD after extensive testing in college that began after I made an appointment to address anxiety issues) and felt that I wouldn’t be able to focus enough on the homeschooling unless I was able to first have my environment perfectly ordered. Guess how often my environment is perfectly ordered? Never!
But, my firstborn, after spending a year and some months in Montessori school followed by his kindergarten year in public school, was just too stressed by the school environment. He chewed holes in his clothing: each day when I picked him up, his collar and sleeves would be gnawed and wet. I was called to the principal’s office on multiple occasions because he didn’t fit the mold. By the end of that year, we were both exhausted with it all. I started homeschooling him his first grade year. He’ll begin high school at home this fall. So I guess I’ve been doing what I said that I could never do for nearly eight years! And while I am far from being a perfect homeschooling mom (I avoid blogs of those who seem to fit that description, because they tend to fill me with self doubt and I become discouraged), I have seven happy children and they seem to be learning, a lot, despite my inadequacies. Homeschooling is hard, and the past couple of years have been very difficult for me as I’ve transitioned to being a mom of both babies and teens. But, if I can do this (and evidently I am), so can you.
Over the years as our family has grown, the scope of learning differences in our home has grown too. My firstborn isn’t the only one who doesn’t fit the mold. And the more I learn, the more I realize that that is normal! While I don’t plan to write in detail about my children and their learning habits and differences, because that just wouldn’t be fair to them, I think that I can share enough that you might be able to take home some tips and at the very least some encouragement.
All any one of us can do is our best and there are days when your best isn’t going to be that great. But, if you are convicted of the fact that you are meant to home educate your children, you have to relax a little and trust the process, accepting that there isn’t a perfect one-size fits all formula for how this works, and how it should look in your home.
I’m really looking forward to writing about how that looks in our family, and discussing it with you all in the coming months. Obviously, I’m not an expert, but if we just look at this as a conversation amongst friends who want to encourage each other, I think this will be really good!
p.s. I know that not everyone is called to homeschool. Trust me when I tell you that I am not the judgmental type regarding how you choose to educate your children (or really anything for that matter). Feel free to ignore my homeschooling posts if you wish, though some of the principals that I plan to discuss will most likely apply to any family.