Confidence in homeschooling comes and goes like the tide, I think. Some days I know it is exactly what I should be doing. I know that my children are learning much more than they would possibly learn at school, and though my attention is divided between three different aged children they still receive a fair amount of one on one attention.
Then there’s other days when I wonder again whether this is the right thing to do or not. I know my children have times of feeling isolated from other children, and frustration at times that they don’t know the culture of the school children around. I have doubts though that school would help that or if it would just deepen the isolation. I was isolated at school. My husband was isolated at school. We were both different – too bookish, with too large of vocabularies, and on my part at least too much respect for authority. Would my children fit in at school? Would they be happy? What if social skills are lacking because of homeschooling? Yet what is meant by social skills anyway. I am drawn back to this cartoon about introverts.
There’s weird pressure if your kids aren’t totally normal. There’s always family, friends and even strangers willing to second guess your parenting, and others wanting to diagnosis the child. There’s always other arguments that it is society expectations out of whack and other people saying parents these days are just to obsessed with their special little snowflake being different. I hear about sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, giftedness and twice exceptionalness, and I wonder whether it makes sense to take a child through the process of diagnosis or whether we simply keep responding here and now with what works for the children at the moment. But at what point does what works at the moment become keeping the child too cocooned and ill prepared for the world at large? And I understand that all the different labels can help a parent find resources for helping with the challenges of children similiar to theirs and the comfort also that comes from understanding what is going on.
When I have moments questioning the homeschooling, I look at how my children have grown. Things that were too hard for them (academic, social, physical, etc) become less hard. They are growing. They’re growing, and they still have time. And they try so hard!
I think also about the wonderful fun we’ve had over the years, learning about ancient Egypt, triangular numbers, ratios and so much more. I think about the times when the kids say “wow, this is fun” and the times when the kids argue with me because they think that math is better done a different way than I do.
Even the things that drive me nuts homeschooling are often the reminders that the kids are better off at home. They struggle with sticking to tasks but they also have more responsibility to stick to tasks in the face of distraction than many kids their age probably would, with their siblings working on something different. And yes, in school they might learn they have to just keep quiet and do the work, (and that’s a skill we’re working on at home too) but then they might have missed so many of the things they discovered in those moments when they’re trying to procrastinate on doing what I asked. So many of the neat math projects we do arise through the children’s little experiments.
I want to set my children up to succeed in the world. I know I need to work harder on teaching certain things – like that whining is not acceptable, but I also need to recognize that I’m doing a good job on things. (And that yes, it is okay for me to say that.)
How do you deal with the times you feel inscure about homeschooling or about your parenting in general?