Homeschool parents know about pressure.
We know about the pressure that comes from public schools when we take our kids out. The “Ohh..” accompanied with the stare that says, “How in the world are you going to manage that?!” Or maybe the questions: “How do you know what to teach them? Won’t they be socialized.”
Maybe the pressure came from friends. “Oh, you know Jane, she’s always trying some alternative. I just don’t have the patience to do that and I think it’s good for kids to be exposed to things.”
Maybe the pressure comes from your spouse. “Are our kids going to be dumb? Are you teaching them enough? How are they going to manage in the real world? Are you just on the phone all day?”
But perhaps the most pressure comes from within. Just perhaps, I say. Because though at times we feel joyous and confident in this beautiful journey we are on, there are most likely also the days where we begin to let those pressures, doubts and insecurities creep into our mind. Just maybe we start to believe the naysayers.
We might start to even look at certain evidence (a messy room, sloppy handwriting, a flunked test) as some sort of proof that “Yep…I’m in over my head.”
Listen up moms and dads:
We are not going out like that.
We need to talk about this.
We need to share the realities of this lifestyle and encourage one another.
I am tired of watching mom after mom throw the towel in because she feels that she just can’t do it. That somehow her effort is not enough, or that she just can’t be like Suzie Homemaker and Harriet Homeschooler.
The organized individual may criticize you (or you may compare yourself to them) for your lack of routine or ability to stay on a schedule. They may reason with you (or you may worry), “How will your child be successful in the real world if they cannot perfect routines and habits?” Your attempt to create routines and habits may simply be feeble attempts in their eyes. But have courage. There are many adults – billions actually – that struggle with this same subject and yet are successful adults in the “real world“. In fact, as part of my “Meet Me Monday” Facebook theme this last week, I asked the ladies what their homeschool strength and weaknesses were. Do you know what almost every single (if not, then every) mom wrote? Consistency/staying on schedule. And yet these women have been homeschooling – successfully homeschooling, and getting into college – their children, sometimes for more than ten years.
You are not alone. And you are just fine.
The creative individual may criticize you (or cause you to feel) that your lack of imagination will affect your child’s ability to create. Or the intelligent individual may cause you to feel that you aren’t educated enough. Your lack of schooling or a degree might prevent you from imparting knowledge to your children. But have courage. There are many “book smart” or left brain adults with creative, intuitive, right brained children. And there are many adults with limited schooling that have homeschooled their children. Do you know how to read? Do you know how to follow a lesson guide? Congratulations. That’s all you need and an incredible world of learning has opened to you.
The above examples are just a few things that may contribute to our feeling “not good enough”.
You are enough. And come on..
Let’s be real.
Just like the hoop-lah about Victoria Secret models vs. what a real woman’s body looks like, don’t you think that what we see on the internet in regards to homeschooling may be “photoshopped” (so to speak) too?
Even I get sucked into this thinking. I was just this morning lying on my bed thinking of a few “super homeschoolers” that I admire and wondering, “How in the world do they do it all? When do they have time for all that? How do they homeschool, blog, cook, craft, join co-ops, spend time with the hubby, attend worship, and work out, all in one day?” (Now if you have the secret, please share it with us!)
My guess is that they don’t. My guess is that something gives. My guess is that there’s a few messy rooms, some delivered pizzas, and a few unfinished projects in there somewhere.
Or perhaps what we need to realize is that they really aren’t getting all those things done in one day. Perhaps they simplify, or rotate chores and rotate activities. They know it can’t all be done. They work with reality.
Take Sarah from Dedicated Homeschooler. Her family copes with Bipolar Disorder. For any of you that know a bit about Bipolar Disorder, their internal clock works a bit differently. Often they are up at night and sleep in. Sarah admitted that she has been wanting to write a post on homeschool scheduling, but not having that “perfect” schedule has held her back from doing so. She admits that often they do not get started until around noon. But see, considering her circumstance, that just sounds downright reasonable. (Write your post Sarah! You will encourage so many who can relate.)
And that’s what we need in our life: reasonableness.
Selena from Look! We’re Learning admits that she is a perfectionist. (A lot of us know all about this, don’t we?) She states that due to this she often sets goals or expectations and then fails to meet them. This presents a dilemma so many of us can have, and that which can be disheartening. Because in reality Selena is amazing and her accomplishments speak for themselves. She is a full-time mother, blogger, homeschooler, and volunteer in a bible ministry. So despite whatever goals she doesn’t reach, there are obviously things she is doing – things she may be overlooking herself – that are helping her to accomplish some very important (and exciting!) things in life.
So, in an effort to be reasonable, I’m going to address the real.
Note: Because I am a student of the bible, there is mention of biblical principles, God, and scripture in this post. However, there is no reason why someone with a secular viewpoint cannot benefit and relate to this post and information within. Also, I do not write about religious doctrine.
I asked a few ladies for their homeschool confessions and I’d like to share those with you today.
I would also like to link to a few posts from homeschool bloggers that really encouraged me.
So let’s get these homeschool confessions started.
*Some names have been changed to protect the individuals in these stories.
Jane feels like a phony. She has a beautiful schoolroom – bright, colorful, and organized. Every time someone comes to her home they compliment her on her schoolroom and they all say the same thing: “Wow. You are so organized.” Organized, yes, but when it comes to follow through and consistency she knows she struggles. So compliments she receives – the many compliments she receives – only make her feel even more despondent.
She has the most beautiful schedules and lists on her walls. It is truly a sensory experience in her home. But she knows very well that many times those lists go unchecked, and those schedules are merely an outline that keeps the “noise and fuzziness” in her brain tamed.
Though she loves fashion and makeup, most days she spends in her yoga pants with messy hair. She is overwhelmed with complicated recipes and makes the same simple recipes over and over again. She has a million and one creative ideas in her head, but though her spirit is strong her “flesh is weak”.
You see, Jane has ADHD. While she is said to be intelligent she has a hard time with focus and discipline, which sometimes makes her feel very “dumb”. But focus and discipline is exactly what her husband has.
He doesn’t understand her ADHD and it is frustrating for him. So he often highlights her forgetfulness and lack of follow through to the point where she sometimes forget to keep it real and begins to view herself in a critical manner.
Because here’s the real:
This woman is capable. She is kind. She is spiritual. She is loving.
She, and she alone, has provided consistent spiritual instruction for her children, which is truly at the center of her mission in teaching her children. The accomplishments that they make as a family is proof that she is “making sure of the more important things” like we read at Phillipians 1:10.
Academically, the children were just fine. In fact, when she looked back on her last homeschool year, she realized that her children had advanced in areas she didn’t expect. She realized that although she always wanted to try unschooling, but was nervous too, a lot of child-directed learning happened.
She realized that even though her and her too little scatterbrains still hadn’t perfected their morning routines, some of those habits really stuck, and that they would continue to work on those routines and habits. She reminded herself that her thinking, and others’ thinking was imperfect, and that (as a student of the bible) she would have to consult God’s thinking on the matter. As Micah 6:8 brings out, what more is God requiring of us than “…walking in modesty with your God.”
What is modesty?
Google’s definition says: “…the quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities.”
Estimation of one’s abilities = KNOWING YOUR LIMITATIONS
That is the real.Every #homeschool family has different strengths and limitations. And that's keeping it real. Click To Tweet
Here it is folks. If you are a spiritual person then remember this: God expects you to be modest. He expects you to admit and understand that you have limitations.
You have strengths and you have weaknesses. Use those.
Your weaknesses do not mean you are not doing a good job. They mean you are human. They mean you may have to find an alternative way of doing something. They mean that you may need to take reasonable measures to work on them. Work on them; not eliminate them. No human can eliminate all their weaknesses or imperfections.
Jane realized that she definitely had strengths and weaknesses she needed to work with. She recognized that she may have had to re-evaluate her methods and schedule. She realized that further simplifying was needed to accommodate her family’s special needs. She realized that this was most likely something she’d have to work on the rest of her life.
She also realized that her children would no doubt know what they needed to know in order to become adults, despite always working on this. She realized that a lot of public school was “busywork” and “fluff” and often taught skills rarely – let me repeat that – rarely used in the “real world”.
She also realized that there were millions of adults with ADHD that were successful. There were plenty of scatterbrained billionaires, scatterbrained teachers, god-fearing scatterbrains, and scatterbrained homeschoolers making waves in their industry.
She also realized that the many individuals in her life that complimented her were not giving her blind, baseless accolades. They were complimenting her on the real evidence they saw in her. No, they weren’t doing this with a microscope to her imperfections or a spirit of mercilessness, but with a real admiration and appreciation for her unique strengths. They saw what God saw. What he really saw.
There was no reason at all that she couldn’t be successful in this venture even with her limitations and weaknesses.
That was reality.
And so it is with you.
Can you be real?
The following women have. Check out their own personal homeschool confessions in these posts.
(I love these posts because they highlight struggles of all kinds, not just the aforementioned few.)
Erica Arndt from Confessions of a Homeschooler: How Do I Do It All?
Jamie from The Unlikely Homeschool: The Ugly Truth About a Blog
Ticia from Adventures in Mommydom: I Can’t Homeschool Because I Need My Space
Caitlin from My Little Poppies: Today I Threatened To Send Him Back
Sara from Embracing Destiny: Confessions of a Homeschooler – Real Life Homeschooling
Michelle from Homeschool Your Boys: Confessions of a Strong-Willed Mom
Melanie from Psycho With 6: 6 Reasons I’ll Never Be the Perfect Homeschooler
Misty from Joy in the Journey: Confessions of an Imperfect Mom
Amy from Walking By The Way: Mrs. Peter’s Birthday Cake: The True Story
Tina from Los Gringos Locos 6: Not The Ideal Housewife or Mom
Kaylene from This Outnumbered Mama admits: “I keep a list in mind of TV shows that I can count as “school”. Super Why covers reading and spelling. Sid the Science Kid and Magic School Bus are often all we need for science. Even Daniel Tiger helps with the dreaded “socialization” when we can’t leave the house!” (I thought we all did this?…Lol!)
And perhaps my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE OF THEM ALL…You must watch this Periscope recording of Julie Bogart, owner and creator of BraveWriter, as she “dishes” on 55 things she did NOT do as a homeschooler. I LOVE THIS. It’s a shot of inspiration, courage, and serenity for us all.
I hope you have been encouraged by this post.
I hope that you realize that part of “keeping it real” is knowing that you have weaknesses and strengths, and that your weaknesses do not mean you cannot homeschool successfully, but your strengths will contribute to a joyous school and educational journey.
I hope you realize that “keeping it real” means that what you see on the internet is simply what people want you to see. Not that anyone is being phony, but we simply want to maintain dignity and respect in this business, and how encouraging would it really be if all we did was air our mistakes? Lol.
I hope you realize – above all things – that you are never alone. And that is why we have such a wonderful homeschooling community. To share, encourage, and relate to one another.
I am so proud to be part of the iHomeschool Network which publishes books and linkups on real subjects that affect homeschoolers. Check out the following blog hops from iHomeschool Network for more on “keeping it real”:
What Mommy Learned in Homeschool This Year (You mean, we don’t have it all figured out?)
The Imperfect Homeschool (Because they all are imperfect!)
And, my friends, I hope you know that I wish you the very, very best.
A note on mistakes:
Hailey from Hailey’s Vintage Finds & Deals shared this message with me just today regarding mistakes: “There are those of opinion that think mistakes are bad. They are afraid of trying anything new for the fear of messing up…Don’t be afraid to mess up. Mistakes are our friends. If you aren’t making them, you aren’t learning anything and probably not doing anything. Messing things up is a perfectly acceptable part of learning.”
That’s what reflection is for. We learn from our mistakes. And that’s real.
This post is linked up with: