Tuesday 3 September 2013

(Not-)Back-to-School Season: Avoiding homeschooler panic

It's that time again. Or has been for a while, depending on where you live. Summer is, for all intents and purposes, over, and kids are back in school.

Meanwhile, some of us homeschoolers are facing a bit of not-back-to-school panic. (Or maybe it's just me. I don't know.)

See, while some parents are filling backpacks with the necessary supplies, other parents are writing out detailed homeschooling plans, purchasing stacks of curricula, and signing their children up for every extracurricular activity that piques their interest. They're taking pictures of their magazine-worthy homeschooling spaces and their Pinterest-perfect not-back-to-school celebrations. And they're sharing it all with the rest of us.

Us mere mortals.

And as confident as I am in the way we have chosen to approach our home education, I still find myself starting to panic. Wait, do I need a curriculum for my preschooler? Maybe I should enroll the boy in some formal music lessons. Piano? Voice? Guitar? Okay, all three, that'll cover all the bases. And Latin, yes, that seems to be a must. I'll have to bake cupcakes tonight and do a first-day party tomorrow, and I really ought to go buy a chalkboard so they can all pose next to it with their relevant grade-year written in fancy lettering, which I can't actually do but that's beside the point, really. Probably the baby needs some sort of directed learning as well...

Maybe you feel the same way. Can I just be the one to tell you (and me)? It's okay.

It's okay if you don't teach Latin to your five year old. Or your fifteen year old.

It's okay if you don't have an advanced math program selected.

It's okay if you don't have a curriculum at all.

It's okay if you do.

It's okay if you don't have a picture-perfect homeschooling room (or any homeschooling room, for that matter).

It's okay if your kids can't juggle while hula hooping and balancing on a soccer ball in a perfectly-choreographed routine set to music they composed and recorded themselves.

It's okay to guard your family time by limiting the number of activities your kids participate in. After all, you can't do everything at once.

It's okay.

That insecurity you're feeling? I'm willing to bet a lot of the other homeschooling parents are feeling it too.

Sometimes it feels like there's an awful lot of one-upmanship going on, but I gotta tell you, it's usually just in our heads. We do it to ourselves. Another homeschooling parent mentions a new curriculum acquisition and suddenly we're feeling judged, we're feeling pressured, we're feeling inadequate. That other homeschooling parent? They're just sharing their new curriculum acquisition. Chances are, quite apart from feeling superior, they're still feeling insecure about that new lesson you mentioned enrolling your kids in last week. The one you mentioned not because you wanted to show off, but just because it was new and interesting and you wanted to share about it with your friend.

Share away. And let others share too. They're not trying to compete with you, just sharing part of their lives with you.

It's okay.

Alright. Let's (not) get back to school!

Want to share what you are (or aren't!) doing as part of your homeschooling plans for this year? Share away in the comments and let us celebrate with you!

1 comment:

  1. We're pretty relaxed around here. We tend to come up with a loose plan and then wing it day to day as far as specifics. I find that rather than doing a lot of planning beforehand, I tend to keep notes after the fact of what we actually did. Here's a post I wrote about planning this school year for 2nd grade and kindergarten. (Well, we go year round, but move up a "grade" in July.) http://mommainprogress.blogspot.com/2013/07/how-we-schedule-our-homeschool-year.html