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Homeschooling in 2021? Finding your strength in the unknown.

When it comes to homeschooling, this is the epicenter of 'unsolicited parenting advice'. The crossroads between 'tell me all about it' Rd and 'I had no idea' St. This is a calling and a high one at that. Make no mistakes about it, homeschooling is a lifestyle not a part of your life. Just as if your kids are in school each day, and your morning routine is washing, brushing, dressing, getting all of the books and homework together, breakfast, chores, and more! Your homeschool will also need to have a rhythm and possibly, depending on the needs of your family, a routine. The biggest obstacle to mine and many other homeschoolers journey is the woman (or man) in the mirror.

When my son was 3, I was met with a lot of "Oh he is so smart I know he's going to do well in school!" Even when I knew from his birth that homeschooling was the right fit for us. I was vocal about this. When he was 5, I was met with a wrinkled nose and a scoff, "Homeschooling? You're uh, you're still going to do that thing?" These statements from friends or family really sow doubt. Those words expose the doubt that so many other parents have- I told myself for years I couldn't do it so I don't know if anyone else can. This causes many new homeschooling parents to doubt their own potential and the greatness they could provide their local homeschool community. These 'would be' homeschoolers don't know that they can do it because so many others that they love want to share their 'opinions' on what is best for another persons family. This is a gentle reminder that if someone is 'speaking their truths' to you repeatedly, without respect to boundaries already outlined multiple times, its really none of your business.

What matters most is what is best for you and what is best for your family. You know that. In your heart you know it and no one will be able to remove or shake the knowing that is inherent in the parent and in the parental bond with their child. Whether adopted or biological, this is a feeling that a parent grapples with and a responsibility that no parent takes lightly.

In my journey, from meeting unschoolers to structured homeschoolers with many tutors who come at structured times in and out of the house, they all do not take homeschooling on as if it is a flippant task that is incredibly easy. Each parent does their part to ensure the kids are receiving the absolute best from all teachers. Each homeschool family does their part to ensure community is thriving. Online, in person, and parental.

Now here's where we're going to get a bit more psychological. There's loved ones telling you that you can't possibly homeschool, and often we find ourselves repeating what is familiar. Not what we want or what we see ourselves doing- what is familiar. If it's familiar for your needs to be dismissed, or for your loved ones to doubt you, it wont be long before you are all over yourself pushing backward saying "There's no way I can do this." From the different styles of education, to the many different options on teaching, it all seems too much. There's this voice in your head telling you, "perhaps you won't be able to play a mother anymore, you'll be a teacher all day, right?" It can be not only overwhelming but daunting and honestly- familiar. In the worst way, in the beginning. It takes courage to navigate the unknown. Those early cartographers mapping out the seas we did not yet know were hailed as brave, especially if by some unknown stroke of luck they came back alive. Seaworthy ships were not made to stay in the harbor, it will break them down and waste years of production and craftsmanship. We all must eventually learn to drop anchor and put in roots, that is true. That is a re-occurring theme in life, I personally have found. Yet it is also re-occurring to pull up the anchor, navigate, pivot, and find new waters with plenty of abundance to help your family thrive.

It is not the easy route by any means but it is the route that is filled with reward. For yourself and for your immediate family. However, and hear me clearly, this is not the uncomplicated, easy st you've been hoping for. Neither is working with teachers in a school either. The truth is education and teaching is a calling. It is not meant to be easy- especially when you first start out. By first start out I mean first starting your homeschool year or first starting your homeschool journey. The challenges do not simply vanish, they change and get more dynamic with your growing child. It will challenge all you held close about education, it will push you to your limits of patience and cause you to scrape the last amounts of understanding and connection from deep wells you didn't even know existed inside of you. You'll be on the edge of your kitchen stool or chair, lesson planning while play happens around you. All the while it may feel like you're 'missing out' or you're 'not showing up in the ways you used to'. Because you will be missing out on old things, and you wont be the same person after all of this. You will have more than ample opportunities to play, laugh, dance, and completely be silly if you have a schedule or rhythm that is structured to the child's interests.

Being a parent is such a high calling in and of itself and if you're anything like me this journey goes well above and beyond "keeping them alive". The bare minimum doesn't suffice for most of the families I have met who are pulled to homeschool. We want emotional intelligence, real soul fulfilling connection, and honestly- a child who doesn't scoff at doing the dishes. All of these things require care, attention, explaining, overexplaining, a hands off approach while also providing security, and above all else- TIME. There's a growing community of parents who spell L-O-V-E with the letters T-I-M-E. This is not a idle approach to parenting my friends. To just go ahead and add homeschooling into the mix is kind of like:

It seems like there's too much to do already, right? Well, some days I will say abso-freakin'-loutely. It will feel like it's mind boggling and there is such a thing as 'homeschool burnout'. Just as there are days when there is burnout from getting the kids ready and on the bus. Days when you haven't even clocked in for work yet when you possibly were or are contemplating homeschooling. This is a not so secret secret on homeschooling; its hard for everyone but its also easy for everyone. The very nature of providing an education catered solely for your child and their temperaments, their needs, their interests, means that there is nothing out there for you to purchase. Yet on the same thought, there are thousands (that's....that's not an exaggeration) of materials for you to buy, read, read again, highlight, and use as materials that build what you think is best for your child. There's curriculums that cover only academics leaving you to fill in the 'gaps' with whatever creative endeavor you see fit. There's curriculums filled with creative activities if academics are what you excel at and making a mess not so much. There's small individual lessons you can purchase. There's unit studies you can get, each one with their own theme for the unit. Their all themed too. Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, and more. Just enough to overwhelm a sister out here, so if you're looking for help and feel really new at this I know the feeling! Send me an email or a message anytime. I'd love to chat and connect.

#howweplayandlearn #learnthroughaction #experientallearining #homeschool #backtoschool #homeschoolers #homeschooling #homeschoolfamily

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