Two bloggers mentioned yesterday that this homeschool thing has them feeling concerned about their abilities and the future of their children's lives.
You've taken on a big responsibility by homeschooling. You've bucked social trends. You've stepped into a field that some people study for years to do professionally. And every little hiccup or bump in the road raises the flag of doubt; I'm reminded of this funny moment in a movie* where the protagonist sings to herself, "What am I doing? Why am I doing it?"
The more I think about, though, I think a field is a beautiful analogy.
Farmer or Gardener?
Some teachers need to get specialized training to be allowed to teach. Others, depending on the subject or the school, don't. Some farmers grow up farming, learning from their parents. Others get a degree in agricultural. Does that mean you can't garden?
Of course not!
You, like me, may not be good at gardening, failing to water plants and consider the impact of direct sunlight on this or that plant. And if you're the kind of person who will fail to "water" your child's education, you may not get great results. But that's not you. By starting this homeschool gig the way you have, you're invested. You're the kind of educational gardener who starts seedlings in window boxes before spring.
That's you. You got this.
The Pretty Meadow
You weren't so sure about homeschooling initially. It sounded awesome, but was it really all that? Really? Then you looked into it a bit more and you discovered a gorgeous meadow full of flowers and buzzing bees and soft grass and fresh air and all that is right and good in the world.
So you walked into the field with your children. This was going to be perfect!
But now, suddenly, you've realized it's not perfect. It's a tad messy with dirt and mud. There are a few rocks that stub toes and holes that turn ankles. The bees flock to your tuna sandwich. What happened to your idyllic meadow?
It's still there. But now you're seeing more of it. It's not all butterflies and rainbows -- though those are still there -- there's also fire ants and rain.
Just like in "regular" school.
You succeeded there. You got this.
Still Not Convinced?
Some days are rough. I get that. I can remember all the tears and gnashing of teeth I did in high school and college based on what my professional, certified, licensed teachers assigned. I also remember the wailing I did when I got my papers back from my dad, red ink like splattered blood on the white page. There are days no matter the school situation.
But you're not alone. You could chat with a Sonlight Advisor. Or swing by the forums for input from your fellow homeschoolers. And if you're struggling with a particular subject, it could be you need to tweak it or switch to something else (like what I did when my math program broke down on me). One blogger recently suggested that a simple schedule shift helped her homeschool experience tremendously. If you'd like to connect with more awesome bloggers, check out the Other Posts of Note.
This homeschool thing? You got this.
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad
* Obligatory disclaimer: I am not recommending you watch that film.