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Friday, July 11, 2008

Heart of the Matter Meme: What HASN'T Worked for Me

Homeschooling is a wonderful thing, but it has its own pitfalls. One of these, the one I find most frequently in my own family, is making comparisons with other homeschoolers.

Most of us are homeschooling to avoid peer dependency in our kids (among other things), yet we go right on with it ourselves! Why do we feel the need to homeschool just like Sally Homeschooler? Fear of inadequacy? Fear of failure? Fear of being, yet again, outside the "norm"? Well, this definitely hasn't worked for me: Overconcern with fitting some homeschool mold. Here are some examples:

Rearranging my house to have a "school room" - While this works for some families it was a disaster for us. We were totally on top of each other and the noise level in our school room was distracting to all of us. We are whole house people. I love to be able to get housework or personal work done while my kids get their school done. We are now back at the kitchen table - quite happily!

Adopting certain child-rearing philosophies that went against my nature and my children's - This was such a sad mistake, but hard to resist when many corners of the homeschool world tell us that if your kids don't do X or do Y, then you aren't discplining them well. Why did I listen to something that totally went against my nature? Perhaps it is the vulnerable state of a new homeschooler - everything is so new. We are leaving all of what seems "normal" behind and it makes one question many aspects of our lives. Then we hear these speakers and teachers with their amazing certainty and it is easy to think we've gotten our parenting wrong, too. Luckily, my husband and I have recently become acutely aware of the stress we've been introducing to our family and we are re-learning our discipline. It is quite amazing how hard it is to unlearn, though.

Thinking that if *I* wasn't teaching every subject, then I was somehow an inadequate homeschooler - Oh, this vigilancy about being just the "right" type of homeschooler. In fact, sometimes it is even implied that you aren't *really* a homeschooler if you are involved in any kind of outside classes, at least other than the most extra-extracurricular activities. This kept me for sometime from realzing that both my kids and I would greatly benefit from a co-op type of group. This particular group (Classical Conversations) has been such a help to me and a delight to my kids, I'm only sorry I let others dissuade me from being involved out of fear of not being a "real" homeschooler.

I encourage you to look beyond what your homeschooling circles are doing and teaching (friends, speakers, teachers, authors, etc) to what the Lord is calling YOU to do in your homeschool. Don't be afraid to step out and do something different if it is right for you or your family. That is why we are homeschooling!

This post is part of Heart of the Matter's Friday Meme: What Hasn't Worked For Me.

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Anonymous said...

That is so true about comparing ourselves to other homeschoolers. We are all different and have to realize our homeschools will look different too.

We also have no "school room" other than our dining room table, and it works great for us. Thanks for sharing!

Tracy said...

We have had both no room and school room. I like having the room for THE STUFF. But we DO school all over the house! LOL!
Thanks for sharing!

DebD said...

Wow I could have written that article! We're also "whole house" people. While we do now have a "school room" its not so much for schooling as storing! (and its where the computers are.

As to the discipline advice - I had similar experience but not with discipline but testing a child I suspected had LD (she did). At that time in the HS community anything associated with testing, labeling and (gasp) state help was verboten. By listen to that advice when I knew in my heart of hearts that something was up, I wasted several years.

Farm Fresh Jessica said...

Whole house people! I'm totally copping that phrase.

Good job on listening to your hearts and not others. I've had to make that tough call too and it seems like it's harder than it should be!

christy said...

Very well said. Homeschooling is not about school, it is about home and when we start making it about things other than leading our own children it all goes south.

Anne Kennedy said...

I meant to follow up with you about the Doug Wilson thing. I got completely distracted (I am so behind on Everything). I'd love to hear your thoughts. I go on Wilson binges and then Matt puts a kibosh on it because I get all freaked out. Its really helped us with our very little ones but I can see how it won't always be the best thing. Email me? or maybe I'll blog? Like I have time to blog.

Heidi @ Southpaugh Homeschool said...

This is SO true!!
Thanks for sharing your great thoughts!! :)