It seems that in so many areas of my life, I am flying without a net. What I mean by that is being in situations where you make a choice to go against the traditional route of society, often times resulting in no one to blame your failure on but yourself. Some of those flying-without-a-net areas were chosen for me, and some of them I chose myself.
Educating my children at home is one of those areas. While homeschooling is much more accepted these days, it is still an arena in which the success or failure of the children rests heavily on the shoulders of the parents. And then there is the conversation about what success or failure really is…but that is a topic for another day.
When my oldest was 4/5 and getting ready to enter her educational journey, I could tell that she would have a little difficulty with learning if we chose a traditional education path. She is an artist who gathers her information more from her senses than from linear, academic thought. She is a really smart girl, but I had a hunch that she might struggle in a traditional setting where the main way to source information is visually. I knew that I wanted to give her as much a head start as I could. I didn’t intend to homeschool past the earliest of grades, but just long enough to make sure that she knew the basic math skills and knew how to read.
The first couple of years I spent as much time researching homeschooling as I did actually educating my daughter. I interviewed everyone I knew that home schooled, and spent much time researching on the internet. I answered some of the big questions of homeschooling (like socialization and salt/light), realized that I really loved teaching, and developed my philosophy around home education. By the end of those first years, I was committed to home education, not only for the entirety of my daughter’s educational journey, but also for each of the kids that I would continue to have.
Along the way, I have collected scores of curriculum opinions, have tried many varieties of schedules, worked on various methods of chores, started and ended many subjects, had many character discussions with my kids, learned a ton about learning styles and methods, had many stellar moments, and had many collosal failures.
I have gone through the journey of helping my eldest graduate from high school, take SAT tests, and get accepted into colleges. And presently I am continuing to educate my three remaining kids, as well as lend as much support as needed to my college daughter.
Flying without a net isn’t the most comfortable position to take. There is risk, there is the fear of failure, and there is loneliness. However, if it works, there is also great satisfaction and growth.
“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller
“Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” — David Lloyd George (Prime Minister of England 1916 – 1922)