Friday, November 2, 2018

When Homeschooling is Questioned

           As an adolescent homeschooling family, we often find ourselves reminding family and friends that our children are learning at home. Our family broke the mold for the entire clan. Out of all of mine and my husbands' cousins, we are the only ones to step out and actually homeschool. Funny enough, many of our friends frequently forget and acquaintances are curious and sometimes confused. This may also happen to veteran homeschoolers. 

Recently we fell into a situation where some friends felt that because we homeschool, we are free birds. Free as in, we could stop our schooling, and come volunteer for everything.  I'm sure some people truly do think every person that homeschools', gains an incredible amount of flexibility. When I tried to explain that my children are better with consistency and a schedule, and we don't volunteer for things before noon, you'd think I had committed a crime. Truly.  I knew right away that these people didn't understand (or wanted too) and had developed a mindset that my backing out of an event was deemed unreliable. 

As a homeschool Momma, or Dad, we generally take on this amazing responsibility with serious planning, consideration, and goals in mind. You are going into the homeschooling idea of being more.  Sure, you might enjoy a quick run out while the older kids continue their work, or you might be able plan those doctor appointments easier. There is flexibility. However, that flexibility is for you and your children. It isn't for the world. It isn't for others to assume you can get up at 5:30 in the morning to go sit somewhere for a few hours to be a support figure.  Your family will ALWAYS come first. You already have these little people to be a support figure for, so outside requests can and should be carefully thought over. 

After that incredibly frustrating discussion about putting my family first, a sweet friend reached out and reminded me that no matter how much I wanted to help in that venture, it was quite possible I was just put there for one reason. She sent me this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. and it spoke to me from the depths of my soul. I was gently reminded to follow my heart no matter what. 

“When you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
Martin Luther King Jr., to students in Philadelphia, in 1967.

From one homeschooling parent to another-  you have the right to stand down, to focus on your family above other obligations, volunteer positions, or outside engagements. I did. Sometimes it can be too much to juggle anyway.  Even if your heart is in the right place, we have to check our plates and do our absolute best not to fill them up like that Thanksgiving plate. ;)  It's okay to back away for a little bit or entirely. 

If there's one thing I've discovered, it is how incredibly supporting the homeschool community is. Even on social media, where we compare and contrast our homeschool lessons, experiments, stories, and all, there is a large gathering of this community that are purely inspiring.  We are not alone in this journey. This reformation of education is ours and I find myself quoting another Martin Luther.. 
"Here I Stand"

*Special Thanks to my friend Megan for sharing her quotes. I felt they should be shared for others as well. :)

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