this post is part of a series that chronicles my experience into the world of being sterling’s 1st (& mind you, apprehensive & fearful) teacher. my hope is that this series will be both helpful & encouraging.
ironic confession: although i studied elementary education (for a time) in college with the hopes of one day being a first grade teacher, i never, ever wanted to homeschool my own children.
the task seemed too daunting, too overwhelming. i never presumed that i could be a child’s all-in-all… mommy, friend, teacher… (gasp) principal! it all seemed like too much. too much to ask of one person!
lest i fail to mention there are several subject areas in which i fail miserably! more specifically, anything whatsoever to do with memorization – think math, science, music! – is so far out of my natural giftings that the idea of even teaching single digit addition was overwhelming, near debilitating!
i’m not exaggerating.
even as i type this i feel the anxiety growing in me & i’ve already begun the process of teaching simple math concepts!
you see, i graduated with a liberal arts degree for a reason. it’s the field i feel most comfortable in, what i enjoy.
in my mind, anything math was always for the birds engineers… architects. 😉
the hypothetical idea of homeschooling first reared its scary head when we were preparing to move overseas. at which point it became abundantly clear to me that more than likely i would have to homeschool. read: no other choice.
so i swallowed hard & comforted myself that we were at least a good 5 years away before i was going to have to cross that bridge, as we had no children at the time.
over the course of time i witnessed various friends begin the homeschool process, several of whom seemed like super moms to me. it seemed so natural for them. so i began asking questions. and they were patient with me & graciously answered all of my anxiety laced “concerns.”
eventually i did become a “mommy” & so in the course of time i realized the need to seriously consider how homeschooling would play out in our family.
when sterling was 4 i “happen” to be vacationing when i ran into a bunch of moms & kiddos who “happen” to be on their way to a homeschool conference. it was then that i began dogging people for how to’s, for answers to all my big, this-feels-like-it’s-gonna-eat-me-alive-questions.
i happened to run into a well-seasoned homeschool advisor , who upon encountering my obnoxious desperation simply responded, “it sounds like you’re doing a good job. just remember, you can’t mess them up.”
i was aghast.
really? REALLY??? that’s all you have to say to me? i’m desperate here lady! and besides, if i can’t mess them up why are all of these other homeschooling moms here? to get help!!!
i need help!
i have no idea what i’m doing!
so here’s the help i want to extend to you:
-homeschooling typically begins slow, preschool is usually an hour or hour and a half a day, 4 or 5 days a week
-yes, i concur with your assessment: the world of choosing curriculum is overwhelming… you’re not crazy… & even better, you won’t go crazy! thankfully, there are tips for navigating the seemingly impossible end of options
-there are ways to know if your child is ready to begin homeschooling… outside of your own self-assessment – ultimately helping you make the right choice for you & your child
-there is some trial & error re-trying when it comes to figuring out what works best for your child, your life. thankfully, the early years at home provide a safe environment for your skills to be honed.
and the all-time best advice i ever received, a healthy dose of reality:
-we all have holes.
i hope that frees you up!
it means we have all areas of expertise & areas that require us to work outside our gifting, skill set & comfort zone. we all have holes & as we teach our children we just might pass along these holes… but that shouldn’t paralyze us. in fact, it frees us to not be perfect. it frees us from the fear of having to always have all the answers, now! it frees us to seek outside help, be it resources, professional educators, intervention. it frees us from depending too greatly on ourselves instead of dependence on God.
and the craziest of crazies is this: i love homeschooling NOW. it took me a while, but at this point, i personally wouldn’t prefer sterling going to a traditional school setting, even if it was an option.
disclaimer: however, with all that said, i still reserve the right to change my educational preferences. because here’s the thing: what i ultimately want for my sprouts, & i trust you want for yours, is what is the best – for them. and so, if next year or in a few years it becomes obvious that what i’m able to offer them to meet all of their educational needs – including their need for success, healthy challenges & friendship – isn’t enough, i need to be more committed to them, than to my ideals.