How to be a fearless homeschool mama
Have you recently made the decision to homeschool, or have you been thinking about it but don't know where to start? Starting anything is always going to be difficult at first. That's because there are so many things to learn in one lifetime and if we apply ourselves into any one of them, they can take a lifetime to discover! If you're feeling anxious, it's a good sign! You know the depth of what you're getting into, and we all start off at the deep end where we wanted to just dip our toes in. This article is a map or guide into how to dive in with a good sense of where to go with all of your questions.
First, you'll want to find out your states homeschooling laws or the laws that apply to you. You will want to learn them well as oftentimes schools do not need to be informed about the finites of homeschool law in the same way that homeschool parents do. The laws often apply to the parents not the institution. Know it well so you can make any corrections and assume positive intent more often from the school, this also makes the process of pulling your child from school much easier as you will know what to expect. Ask questions in Facebook groups, you will always meet with someone better, faster, stronger than you in this subject and that is the superpower of homeschooling. Each of us capitalizes on each family knowing the laws because the way they remain as excellent as they are due to our diligence in following them as a community.
Each one of us as homeschool moms can make a community and often, we are in positions where we not only will participate in community, but we will make one ourselves. For example, I am in 2 co-ops and run 4 classes for every quarter/season of the year. That's 12 classes per year per co op, so 24 in total. That isn't counting what I do online. I am not attempting to boast, just to state that it takes getting uncomfortable to do things that have different results. I am in digital communities through the curriculum I purchase and my online presence and community through that (this blog). I also volunteer within my community with my son, separate of these things. It sounds like a lot- and some weeks it definitely is! Yet I feel blessed to give in this way and I love that I am able to grow with others by seeing their needs and if I can and am able, to add to the hands working. This lightens the load for all involved when you give in ways that you can.
I am an incredibly introverted person naturally and could spend all the time in the world with myself but that doesn't make it healthy. Or the best decision for my family. I had to figure out what works best for me and what are my limits. Which meant that I had to try and fail. Also, learning from my mistakes made me have to set uncomfortable boundaries with others or send a text with my own limitations that might be inconvenient for others. As a recovering people pleaser, I needed to come to terms with this and accept that I am going to be too much for many people. As Elsye Meyers said, "Someone asked me how I manage my system and I don't. I just don't. I do things scared. So, there you go."
That leads me to my next point. You need to believe in yourself and trust yourself. If you don't that will spill over into your kids and you will be the mom I was who was worrying why my 4 year old wasn't writing yet. The gauge gets way off because as a society we tend to polish the best and brightest of acedemia because the ways some children succeed are measurable- the ways that others succeed may not be so until later in life. It takes a trust of yourself to know that your work is not only important but it is the life force that flows through eternity- to be a mother is to join with this continuous thread. This also has another incredible reward, the more you develop the trust with yourself the more you will trust those around you and let them into your world in deeper ways. It is such a gift.
Have you ever heard of a flow state or a state of flow? This is when you enter a state of increased focus and finish difficult tasks quickly with no outward rewards promised. Experiencing this state for a creative endeavor is almost as integral to your success as a teacher long term as being with your kids and having fun is as a mother! Teaching of any kind is a creative pursuit and when you are planning on homeschooling your children this is a decision you make for the long term not just the time being. As much as we want to cater to our child's way of learning, as much as we want to empower them to succeed like no one else in this world, if we don't know how we as teachers learn we will be projecting our learning style onto our students. Not because of lack of empathy but because of lack of awareness of how we, ourselves, block access to content or struggle with explaining things.
The first step for me to find a flow state was to find how I learned and grow from that. When I really embraced my own learning style and used it as a way to have fun and be curious about my child's interests and their own learning style, that's when learning started happening from my teaching!