Dear Homeschooling Moms,
Every homeschooling family is different in their schooling methods, expectations, and purposes. Inspiration from other families can be a positive thing. You can discover some techniques or methods that you wouldn’t have found otherwise. You can gain some confidence that your chosen methods are appropriate if another family is further along than your’s and has used the same method successfully. You can be uplifted and encouraged to keep working toward your own goals by seeing other families working diligently toward their goals.
However, sometimes this inspiration turns to an internalized pressure. Even if the other mom doesn’t outright say that her method should be your method, women often say it to themselves. When the inspiration becomes a source of comparison, a source of feeling inadequate, then that should signal us to step back.
Step back into your own ways. Stop looking at what others are doing and use your own mind to decide what you want to do. Let that be sufficient. There are a lot of voices in the homeschool community saying what one must do to be successful. I know in my heart that the only things you must do are the things legally required of you in your state or country of residence and the things you find that build your children up.
If you don’t enjoy reading aloud, then don’t. It is better for a child to have a happy mother than one who trudges through chapter after chapter with annoyance in her voice.
If you don’t enjoy or have the time or the skill set to write your own unit studies, don’t do unit studies.
If you and/or your children don’t thrive in the unstructured environment of the currently popular “unschooling” method, then don’t “unschool.” Traditional homeschooling with a single packaged curriculum is sufficient.
If your children work well in workbooks, use workbooks. Don’t let someone convince you that “kids can’t learn using workbooks because it’s counter to their nature.”
If you don’t like cleaning up arts and crafts projects every day, save them for a rainy, lazy afternoon. Children don’t require free access to (very messy) paint and Play-Doh to learn creativity.
If your children don’t enjoy notebooking and nature studies, don’t do them. They are unlikely to grow into adults ignorant of their environment, so long as they have free play time outdoors.
Of course, if you do like “unschooling” and notebooking and messy crafts every day and developing your own unit studies… then do those things happily. I simply want to encourage you mothers who aren’t fans of fad homeschooling methods to keep to your own paths and not let outside pressures influence your decisions.
Also, remember that what is shared on social media is a small glimpse into a family’s life. It is easy to misconstrue an Instagram feed or YouTube channel — one sees a post of children painting scenery outdoors on a gorgeous autumn day and extrapolates that those children have that experience every day. That’s not realistic. Reframe what you see online through the lens of reality.
But even if those children do paint scenery outdoors and every day is perfectly gorgeous in their climate and they never whine or argue… those children aren’t your children and their lives are not your family’s lives.
So let go of the pressures and be the homeschooling mom you were designed to be.
With blessings for your homeschool year,
A Fellow Homeschooling Mom