Saturday, January 15, 2011

No, we're not picture perfect!

This post has been on my heart for a few days/weeks/undetermined frame of time. I love sharing the fun we have on our homeschool journey, but that's not to say we don't have struggles, too. We have difficult, unproductive days where nothing seems to go right, and I lay in bed at night wondering, "IS homeschooling the right path for us?"
I have doubts I can do it, I fight fears we won't eventually be able to meet their needs. I wonder if I'm dooming them forever! (Okay, that last one is an exaggeration, but the rest is real.)
Guess what? You don't have to be perfect to homeschool! No one mom is everything and not even every family's path is going to look the same or include all the same landmarks as someone else's. For the same reasons I feel secure that I can and will do my best as their mother, I have faith I can continue to fulfill my role as teacher, too.
When my husband and I were weighing our decision to homeschool, there were times in that process where I was convinced against homeschooling. Often times the books or blogs I would read that were trying to convey pro-homeschool points actually did the opposite and gave me more reason not to homeschool. So, I know all too well the skepticism some people hold in regard to homeschooling, because a hop, skip and a jump ago, I shared the same. When people painted a picture of homeschooling being the perfect, absolute, outstanding, flawless option for education, it raised more alarms for me than anything else--I wanted to know exactly what I was getting into, I wanted the cons along with the pros--I knew full well the seeming benefits of homeschooling, but I wanted to hear more of the cons! (Or at least hear that homeschoolers could acknowledge there were cons, because if you aren't aware of the drawbacks, you can't work to fill in gaps to potentially make up for them.) Nothing is perfect, but the truth is, while no road or mom is perfect or can offer it all, we ARE pretty good at finding the resources, programs and people who can fill in where our weaknesses may be.
I had asked for the real cons a year and a half ago, and my friend Candice who was homeschooling her 4 girls at the time, gave me some honest, welcome advice that went over some of the real drawbacks. I thrived on it, it was empowering, and it was the first time I felt like homeschooling was an honest, viable option for us. You don't have to have it SO together that handling their education on top of everything else is a statement of how super-mom you are (read my column last April I discussed live on the show Take Five Grand Rapids, The Illusion of Super-Mom.)
So, while there may be many picture moments during our homeschool journey, that doesn't mean our entire lives are picture perfect. I have flaws I'm struggling to overcome, I have areas I'm not particularly gifted in. My kids have screaming fits and meltdowns just like any child, they have areas they are not particularly gifted in. My marriage takes work just like everyone else's. We can all strive to reach goals and better ourselves as we go along, but to reach perfection in every area isn't possible on this earth, for any human or any avenue for education, whether a public system, homeschool, private or charter school. All any family can do is pick the road that best suits their needs and start walking.

“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” -Abraham Lincoln (homeschooler) ;)

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