Monday, October 15, 2018

Homeschool Hesitations: Hurdles, Hardships & Help

As a homeschool parent, do you ever find yourself hesitating to share your own experiences?  This is the third installment of the Homeschool Hesitations series and time to dig into the hard stuff.  Parenting is hard and being around your children more than you are not - while so very rewarding - can also create unique hurdles. How do you find time for yourself? What if you are an introvert and your kids suck your energy out every day? How do you find time to clean? How do you do structure when you're not that great at it and you don't always HAVE to? What if my child is struggling? Will everyone blame me and the homeschooling?

Why We Hesitate:

When we make choices we always want to feel like we made the best ones.  Rent or buy.  New or used.  Breastfeed or Supplement.  When it comes to how we educate our children, we absolutely want what is best for our kids AND we want others to consider us wise and good parents.  That works just fine as long as our children excel and flourish, thus 'proving' our choice in homeschooling is right for them.  Isn't that how it works in our heads?  Unfortunately, the outward proof we are looking for is likely not possible for another 20 or 30 years.  When we hesitate to share our struggles, it is often out of fear that we will lose the imaginary argument we have going with anyone who might judge or disagree with us - this is true for so many topics.  Or is it just me that does that?

The Benefit of Sharing:

Making a choice to go down a different path is always going to spark questions and criticism.  ALWAYS.  The gift of age helps us to care a lot less about what Sally or Jennifer think and more about what God and those closest to us think.  Still, somehow I get to thinking I have to keep my homeschooling 'stuff' to myself because in one way or another it isn't relevant or welcome in mixed company.  That IS self-preserving, I guess, but it IS NOT productive to mental health or the health of my relationships.  How can we be friends if we aren't able to talk about circumstances unique to each other?

I love organic learning - the kind that just naturally grows in the right environment!  I know that learning is rarely precise, but it can be such a beautiful thing.  Still, there are textbooks full of learning disabilities that our children might suffer from sooner or later.  What then?  There are so many scenarios where we need help and support.  Sometimes the BEST person to ask is a seasoned school teacher or a parent of a child who has survived a similar struggle.  Instead of worrying about any conflict or judgement, we should consolidate our resources any chance we get! And have you every thought about that public school parent whose child is also struggling in their own situation?  The out of the classroom perspective you bring just might be the answer they need right now.

With conflict being such a difficult thing for me to cope with, I managed to forget all of the good that can come from sharing our struggles with people in vastly different life circumstances than ours.  No, not everyone will respond with understanding or concern, but that's okay.  Good comes from all types of scenarios down the road.

We want to have and be the friend who will sit with us when we hurt and rejoice when we win.  So what if we can't identify with the circumstance.   I desperately want that, if we're being honest.  It has to start with me, right now.  And that is a really hard step to take sometimes because of awkwardness or defensiveness or you name it.  But we - as a society and certainly as a parent who educates their children at home - can co-exist with joy and fulfillment.  Let's stop hesitating to pursue healthier relationships.  Stop hesitating to ask for and offer help - no matter how different someone is from you.

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