In those first days since we decided to homeschool , it was obvious that a giant weight had been lifted off of my oldest's shoulders. Learning she was gifted helped her understand that there was nothing wrong with her. She even told me - now I know I am not stupid. Still, it was the actual pulling her out of school that gave her back to us. I could feel the energy in our house shifting already. We all felt a surge of freedom and independence despite the fact that we had no clue what we were doing or what this homeschooling thing really was anyway. Finally after all of her years in school, she would be able to pursue her own interests and explore the world at her own pace.
I can remember a day in that first week where we went to the beach in the middle of the day while all the schooled kids were still in school.. We just sat there together and enjoyed the quietness. and marveled at the fact that we could do that- go to the beach in the middle of the day. We could do whatever we wanted. It was so cool. I felt a bit like a rebel- to which my daughter reminded me that she was the one who was the rebel. Sigh....
Once the novelty of being a rebel wears off though- and it will- stay calm. You may have moments where you feel completely freaked out and unsure if you are ruining your child's life and have made a huge mistake. It is completely normal for those of us who are suddenly, unexpectedly homeschooling to feel a range of emotions. Lots of parents share with me how utterly overwhelmed and unsure they are of themselves. In the beginning it can feel like your entire foundation has been pulled out from under you. and that you have no one to turn to.
Rest assured you are on the right path!! It's not like we knew we would do this from the time our kids were born after all. Homeschooling for us was a choice of last resort and we are thrust into this new territory without the clarity of a homeschooling philosophy or a community of support..
I have two words of advice for this first phase of homeschooling : read books and join an in person group. The internet can be a dangerous black hole and if we are not careful we can find ourselves spinning out of control. Get offline- read and talk to actual live people who understand because they once were new to this way of living too.
We have to give ourselves the time and space to figure out what education really means to us and I promise this is not going to happen overnight. Most of us have a very schooly mindset and spacious living is so much more than that. I believe learning is way more than just sitting around the table working through curriculum and filling out worksheets. If we want to do this differently- and we do right? ....or we would have just kept our kids in school- we have to dig deep and ask the hard questions not just follow along with the status quo because it feels safe and certain. .
In order to break free and learn to think differently- we have to give ourselves time . We have to have powerful conversations with ourselves and others so that we really understand our philosophy of education and learning.. In doing this, we are laying the foundation for homeschooling and spacious living.
One of the first books I read when I started this journey was Quinn Cummings "The Year of Learning Dangerously". In this often hilarious read, Quinn talks about her first days of homeschooling and reveals that in order to get through this she needed to find her tribe. She decided to visit a bunch of homeschool conferences such as the Fundamental Christian and Radical Unschoolers Conferences and see where she fits. This is a must read for anyone who wants a behinds the scenes view to the life of a homeschooler and is starting to explore just where they belong .
Living a Spacious Life is meant to be done in community with like minded others. It is normal at the beginning to go through a period of mania- desperately trying to find the answers to all your questions and to make sure that you are doing things so you won't mess up your kid.. Find other parents who have walked this path ahead of you and know that there is peace and calm on the other side. Check on Yahoo Groups, Facebook, and Meet Up. Join Our Group Here at a Spacious Life. You are not alone.