It is a pleasure to read posts from those of you considering homeschooling! I am just writing to tell you that you've located a wonderful, diverse group. Some of the people here are very new to this; some are more experienced. It's just a great place to do your research and ask local people questions or even to just vent about where you're at in the process!
I just want to applaud any of you who are thinking about this option for, at least, being a sensitive parent. Something has brought you here. Much like our symptoms tell us something is going on in our bodies, our children have "symptoms" that make us question the public/private schooling path.
These "symptoms" may include: - social challenges with peers - problems with teachers & admin - a desire to be more connected to your child in-general (a feeling that their childhood is fleeting from you and you don't feel emotionally connected to them anymore) - concern that their gifts/talents are not being maximized - concern for their safety (!) - concern for the belief systems they are/aren't learning - etc., etc., etc.
I just want to say that YOU are VERY SMART to consider these things seriously, no matter what conclusion this drives you to. It is OKAY to consider life "outside the Matrix" and to wonder if you and your family might enjoy a different route . . . we applaud you for thinking about these things and for taking your child's childhood experience seriously. This, alone, puts you in an elite league of parents. You are not afraid TO CONSIDER . . . you have options and you intuitively know that.
First, I want to say that homeschooling IS NOT "above" anyone. There are many weird myths about homeschoolers and one of them is that you have to be an expert to do it. Not true. You only need to have lots of love for your child and, believe me, you will find experts when the time comes for that. Physics is way over my head; but, if my kids show an interest . . . I'll be searching the world over for resources and people they can talk to. That's my only job. IF they need to register in a public school for physics class and they're dead-set on doing that, I'll support them 100%. This is a customizable path with a million possible tangents . . . and you and your child get to choose the journey, the curriculum. It's a big world!
Second, I want to say that this process happens gradually for most of us. It is VERY NORMAL to be very unnerved and stressed-out at first. It is VERY NORMAL to think, at first, that "formal learning" must happen EVERY DAY . . . and to put that burden on your shoulders as parent. We forget that there are so many ways to learn . . . and sometimes children need to heal before they can learn. Perhaps what your child needs is just time to rest and regain their esteem, depending on what they've been through. Some of us parents forget the pains of childhood and HOW DEEPLY they feel . . . their hearts are much closer to the surface! It's okay if you guys need time to just nest, hibernate, and love eachother. It's totally commendable to take time to reconnect with eachother . . . and to feel like a connected, in-touch family! That is the most beautiful possibility of family life that is all to underrealized in our culture. Children desperately need to be important . . . even if they try to "seem calloused" . . . this is what they've had to learn to survive where they've been. It's not real, though. Time will wear that callous away, friend.
Third, I want to assure you that time is on your side. Childhood, to them, goes by slowly. They are learning whether we realize it or not. When you show them that it is good to stop and heal, that it is okay to do things "differently", that they will receive love from you when they cry out for help, they are learning. Those are life lessons.
Fourth, be easy on yourself. Give yourself time to think, research, read some good books, talk with people, and don't worry too much about all the negative stuff you're going to hear from the people "stuck in the Matrix." Much of the negative feedback you get may be out of their defensiveness (over the choices they made), fear (of being unique), jealousy or insecurity (because there is a myth that homeschooling parents become elite and this may change their relationship to you), and/or general judgmentalness (everyone has an opinion). Everything is going to be okay; but, you may feel very intense at first . . . try to be good to yourself. Obviously, you are just trying to do the best thing for your family. What else is really important?
I've no hidden agenda, except to say welcome and best wishes.
Would you like to read a couple of neat quotes? I'll offer them just in case:
"Men would shudder, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival - yet THAT was what they did to their children."
"He thought of all the living species that train their young in the art of survival . . . the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly - yet man, whose tool of survival is the mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devotes the child's education to the purpose of destroying his brain, of convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think . . . it is like a series of shocks to freeze his motor, to undercut the power of his consciousness . . . "
Hi Lyndi! Only in-between our out-of-state moves (sometimes for a month or so) and we moved over 20 times before I was 18. I guess moving that much did open my eyes to the fact that there are lots of OKAY differences. . . In short, I mainly went through the system with a mix of good and bad experiences. Do you ever feel like homeschooling your children is even liberating as a parent and an adult? I laugh more in my life now than I ever have before . . . childhood is hilarious, huh?! The things kids come up with! Sometimes I shake my head at my narrow thinking and I think that true genius comes from people who are big, free thinkers. But that sure may not land them a job in a corporation . . . unless they're the owner at the top, that is.
Want to be sure to mention that the meanderings in the first post are my own ramblings and not representative, necessarily, of this group! We're on 1000 different, "right" paths that each of us have found separately . . . and yet, we support each other and the kids benefit from the diversity.
You'll come across all sorts of "right" ways . . . and, in the end, public school may end up being the best thing for your family! I think, in truth, we're all just advocates of people doing what's right for them! So, if you hear lots of pro-homeschooling stuff on this website it's 'cuz you're on a homeschooling website where many families are TOTALLY IN LOVE with this path . . . if you'd like to have a bit of that local connectedness . . . well, ya know we're "out there" and here!
Happiness! Thanks for giving me a space to voice. A freedom I am grateful for . . . thank you for your openness.
I'm not sure what caused you to write this, but let it be known I'm toasting you!! The path to homeschooling is different for everyone, sometimes freely chosen, sometimes forced upon you as was our case. When I think of all the time and energy I put into trying to get a "school" program to accept my son and being turned down, I cringe. Putting my son through that was stupid in hindsight, but just like our children, you learn as you go.
Being forced into homeschooling was the best thing that ever happened to my son and I.
Shari Mom to 4yo Noah, 12yo Aleacia Foster Mom to 10mo Jacob
Shari, thanks for that second and for sharing . . . I don't know about you, but I've recently felt more and more compelled to just reassure anyone who's exploring this because it is so hectic at first . . . and it's tempting to quit because of that, or not give the exploration a fair chance.
It seems to me that most people exploring homeschooling are totally capable of homeschooling if they were to give it time . . . and they'd find that anxiety temporary just as it is when beginning anything new that is important to them. It's a change of direction, but it's a change that brings most families closer. And our culture doesn't always encourage tight family bonding; so, it can feel strange at first. But if you're craving that childhood-long closeness with your kids, I've definitely witnessed it happen when people take this route.
I wrote, in another thread, about being extremely AMAZED by a peer I met whilst I was in high school. I met her at an extracurricular activity . . . she was homeschooled, TONS MORE MATURE THAN I, had a memory as sharp as a tack, knew something about everything and was totally passionate about life, and she was so confident that she never had to worry about "trying" to make friends because she was MAGNETIC due to her kindness towards everyone. She wasn't at all marred like we were . . . it was baffling. Even as a 16-yr-old, I recognized that homeschooling was special and an amazing launchpad when done right.
Still, I misunderstood a lot of things. I believed the myths that are common about homeschoolers. I assumed that she must have perfect, expert parents with PhDs, etc. All the typical myths. And although I remembered her and that exposure to homeschooling, I disqualified myself as "not knowledgable enough" . . . even with two college degrees, I thought that it would be necessary to have some education background and that made me ineligible. These are all myths that this past year dismantled, thank goodness. All it really takes in love, attentiveness, and resourcefulness to help them get the answers they're looking for. It was absolutely liberating to realize that!