School starts up here in less than two weeks and I have yet to register my kids. I am strongly considering homeschooling all of them this year.
I am giving myself a few more days to decide. Then I’ll have to sign papers either way to make it official.
But before I can commit to bringing my children home, I would have to give myself permission for a few things:
1. Permission for learning gaps
People ask me, “How are you going to teach your children everything?” My response is, “I’m not.” Everyone has gaps in their learning. You do. I do. Harvard grads do. No one was taught everything and no one remembers everything they were taught either. I must remember that all schooling has gaps and that’s okay. I must give myself permission to not feel responsible to cover every subject or every lesson. The key for me is to teach my children how to learn so when they recognize a gap in their knowledge that they want to fill, they know how to fill it themselves.
2. Permission for bad days
Mothering has bad days. Marriage has bad days. Church has bad days. Anything of real worth has bad days. Heck, sometimes it’s bad weeks or bad years. I must give myself permission to have bad days (or weeks) in homeschooling as well. Somedays I will wonder what I was thinking. I may be tired or discouraged or short tempered. I may not know what to do next. This doesn’t mean I should quit. These feelings just mean we’re normal, and we are doing something meaningful and worthwhile.
3. Permission for quiet time
One thing I learned last year from homeschooling Elle is that I need some down time every day — time when I am off and she can’t ask me any questions. If feels selfish needing ‘me time’, but the older I get the more I believe in self care. I’m an introvert and my energy comes from being alone. If I don’t get time alone, I have no energy. It’s pretty simple really. So I must give myself permission to reserve this quiet time each day with no guilt attached.
4. Permission to be different
It can be difficult to homeschool when most people you know go to public school. You are out of the loop. You can feel isolated because you don’t have the same problems, activities, schedules, complaints, or joys as your neighbors or family. The ladies you know talk about teachers, class parties, volunteering and field trips, and you just smile and nod because you have nothing really to contribute to the conversation. I have to give myself permission to be different and more importantly, to be comfortable and secure with being different. Especially in a new area, I have to be okay with being an outsider, the weird mom, or that lady in the neighborhood that homeschools.
5. Permission to lose control
This may be the hardest one for me yet. But if I’m going to homeschool, I have to give myself permission to lose control of a clean house, an orderly day, and a predictable schedule. I have to give myself permission to let the kids explore and follow their interests wherever it takes us. If we try to replicate the public school at home with a standardized curriculum, we might as well go to school. But if I’m going to let my kids manage (to some degree) their own schedules, curriculum, projects, time, and interests, I have to be able to give up some control. I believe children learn self-knowledge, self-regulation, and self-esteem when moms give up some of their hold.
We’ll see what I end up doing next week. We’ll see if I give myself permission in reality or just in word. I’m as anxious as you are to see what I am going to do.