This post is for those of you who are just beginning your homeschool journey. From one newbie to another… Those of you who are veterans in this area… just nod your head and laugh to yourself as you envision what I still have to learn… 🙂
When I first began my parenting and homeschool journey several years ago, I spent a lot of time reading books, articles, blogs, forums and probing the mind of every mom and homeschooler I came across. I wanted to “do it right from the beginning”. Somehow, I thought that if I studied hard enough that I would “pass” and that like a college class…. when it came time to “officially” begin homeschooling that I would be unbelievably confident, trained and ready to tackle any parenting challenge.
So here I am… We are starting Kindergarten with Noah this fall….
In my ninja voice I am saying to myself: “All my training has prepared me for this moment…”
The big question is: Am I prepared? Am I ready? Am I confident? Am I enough?
The answer is: No and Yes…
I am prepared to take this risk and get messy in the process!
I am ready for 12+ years of challenges, adventure and growth
I feel confident that I will make mistakes along the way
I feel confident in the power of prayer
I feel confident in my love for my children
This one is hard for me…. but I now know that despite my MANY imperfections…. that
I am enough. I am more than enough 🙂
If I could go back in time 5 years and give myself some advice about parenting and homeschooling I would say…
- Pray more and read less
- Trust yourself above “the experts”
- Love more and “teach” less
- Stop planning and start living
Pray more and read less
There are so many wonderful resources out there. Being a knowledge seeker, I sometimes feel like I cannot miss out on anything. Do I really need to read every positive discipline/natural/Charlotte Mason/ attachment/homeschool/ Classical Ed/homespun/self sufficiency/ Waldorf book on the market? Am I reading every single one out of the FEAR that I am missing something in “my plan” or lacking within?
I am not advocating ignorance, and I believe that there are some amazing teachers out there. But at some point, so much information (and sometimes misinformation) can cloud our judgment and keep us from our own best teacher: our intuition.
I would say that after you read that “life rocking, earth shattering” self help book that you first meditate on it, pray about and try to live it fully before jumping right into another “program”. Otherwise you will spend a lot of time reading about plans and making plans and not a lot of living them out in your day to day life.
Which comes to my next piece of advice…
Trust yourself above “the experts”
A mother who trusts her own gut and is prayerful about her children’s challenges is worth much more than a stack of parenting books or an expert opinion. As a mom I have spent a lot of time consulting experts only to find the only solution I needed for my children was found after some time on my knees. I have received answers about diet, sensory issues, transition songs and even how to react when Noah used his own poop as a car on his new toy parking garage.
Love more and “teach” less
When I first started this journey, I thought that in order to be “successful” that I needed to constantly be looking for “teaching moments”. This approach left me feeling exhausted and frustrated if the teaching opportunities were missed or didn’t go as lovely as I envisioned them in my plan. I felt that our “moments” were sterile and shallow.
Instead, I decided to focus on loving my children more and being genuinely interested in them and what they were doing. I found that this change in viewing our time together opened up deep and magical moments of connection and became true moments of learning together.
Stop planning and start living
I am all for being prepared! I have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly calendars ready to go by each fall. Despite this planning obsession I still spent far too much time throughout the year reading blogs, adding projects and tweaking our plan. My goal this year is to accept that our plan for the year is….. wonderful…. just right for our family….far from perfect (and that’s okay)….ENOUGH.
I would tell myself (5 years ago… and today) to trust the plan and step away from the books, binders and computer and be fully present in the unfolding of what you are creating with your family.
Love and best wishes in your planning and living,