I have a friend who, after many months of contemplating homeschooling her children, has made up her mind to start after this school year is over. This is an open letter to her, and to anyone else out there who’s finally made the decision…or leaning heavily in that direction.
Dear S –,
Your family’s decision to take full control of your kids’ education has not been taken lightly, and it shouldn’t be. Several months of angst and questions and oscillation have consumed a lot of your time. You love your children with all your heart and you, like every other caring parent in the Universe, want the best for them.
I know the big questions you’ve been asking yourself: “What if this is the wrong thing for my kids, for my family…for me?” Believe me when I say doubt will probably surface whenever someone questions your decision or when you have a trying day (well, MOST DEFINITELY when you have a trying day). But don’t let those people deter you. Don’t let those less-than-stellar days make you think you’re doing it all wrong or you’ve really misjudged your ability to do this. The good days will far outnumber the bad (just like in Real Life). Plus, you have already decided it’s the best thing for you all, so let it rest! You, my friend, are awesome. And smart. And capable.
You’ve also been overwhelmed with the minutia and …ahem…”wealth” of information that’s out there with regards to curriculum and educational philosophy and learning styles and teaching methods etc., etc., ad infinitum. (Not to mention what Church School to choose. Wow….) It can be a lot to take in. But chill, my friend. Your kiddos will be learning no matter what it is you decide to do. And that’s the point, right? It’ll never be perfect, but whatever you do will be what they need right now.
Homeschooling probably feels like the most unfamiliar territory you have ever attempted to traverse. You, like me, were educated in a traditional school environment from kindergarten through university. We are products of traditional learning methods and tests and structure and authority and yes, sometimes tedium and boredom. Some may say “that’s life” but I don’t think it has to be. That mindset might be hard to overcome but I know you’re an achiever and you will instill that in your children. But still, let them lead you. If something is not working, change it. And if they want to jump on the mini-tramp while learning grammar, who am I to judge?
I wish you much happiness on this journey. The great part is you get to make it whatever you want it to be. The amount of freedom you and your kids will have – especially since you’ve been part of the traditional system for a while – will probably be overwhelming at first. But I hope you’ll soon see that it’s the best thing you’ve ever decided to do.
So, I leave you with the immortal words of Bob Dylan: “I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.” (Hint: you’re that hero!)
With much love,