It has happened fairly regularly over the past several years. My I’m-not-doing-enough-and-failing-my-kids-and-what-the-heck-was-I-thinking-when-I-decided-to-homeschool freakout. Or my Other-kids-his-age-are-writing-their-name-and-I-haven’t-even-started-teaching-that-I’m-a-horrible-mom/teacher-and-my-kids-will-be-ruined-for-life freakout. Or my I’m-not-doing-enough-to-nurture-his-gifts freakout. The list could go on, but I think you get the point.
I know I’m not the only homeschooling parent to experience these freakouts. It is so easy to compare the learning that we’re doing or the knowledge that my kids do or do not know to those kids in the public school system. Which, yes, is silly because we intentionally chose to educate our kids differently for many reasons, one being the direction the American schools are going with pushing formal education earlier and earlier on our kids. But, it’s the standard of the majority. It’s the education system I grew up in. It’s what I’ve known. And so, when I’m spending my mornings reading Harry Potter aloud as my kids are playing with lego and magic cards, I sometimes feel I’m failing them and we’re not doing enough “academics.”
Thankfully, I’m starting to see the fruition of our pedagogy. Our oldest is 12 and with the exception of 1 year at a private one-room schoolhouse, he’s been homeschooled. We’ve been doing this homeschooling thing a few years. Lots of time for lots of doubts and freakouts. Lots of failed attempts at various types of learning. And now . . . we’re finding our groove and I’m reassured with who my son currently is and who he is becoming.
Here’s the light at the end of the homeschooling tunnel:
The light is a 12 year old that is mostly comfortable in his own skin.
The light is a pre-teen who can stand his ground over things he cares about.
The light is a child who can read, compute, write, speak elementary Japanese, explain some aspects of physics, have deep philosophical conversations about literature and history and politics and social justice.
The light is a child who chooses what he wants to study and what activities he wants to be in because it’s what he wants, not because his classmates tell him he should want it.
The light is an 11 year old boy choosing to play the flute and now the 12 year old begging to learn to play the lute.
The light is the comments from the adults around him who are amazed at the person he’s becoming and the person he is.
The light is the father-in-law humbly stating, “You know I haven’t been a homeschool fan and really thought you were making the wrong decision. I was wrong. Based on how he’s turning out, homeschooling was absolutely the right decision.”
I know I’ve still got lots of years ahead of me. I know that I still have the same self-doubt as I facilitate the learning of my littlest. But, I see the light.
All you homeschooling parents: It does work out. It will work out. And it is SO rewarding when you see it. So on your freakout days, trust those men and women who’ve gone before us and those of us who are just a few steps further down the road, there will be light.
Still difficult to see the light? Check out more sources for inspiration in this month's GHF Bloghop!