We were waiting to meet the princesses. Ellie, at 5, was bouncing with excitement. Then she saw Aladdin working his way through the line. “Mommy, I don’t want to meet Aladdin.” She watched him slowly moving our way as she held my hand a little bit tighter the closer he came. I assured her he was very nice (I mean, look at that smile!). When he arrived to us at line, Ellie was still scared but started answering his questions quietly. When I told Aladdin that we had met him at Disney World a couple years ago, he told Ellie that she did look familiar and he remembered she was just a little bit smaller at the time (this guy knows how to work the part!). That helped a bit so she agreed to this picture. She was still not quite sure but she put her fear aside just for a moment. She was still afraid yet she was brave enough to move forward.
Most of us are brave and afraid in the same moment, all day long. -Brene Brown
I thought of Ellie and Aladdin when I stumbled back across this quote in my journal. Brene Brown was on the radio program, On Being. This quote stuck out to me because it describes my day to day life as a homeschooling mother.
I feel confident yet insecure most of the time. Have I made the right choice in homeschooling? Is it because of me that Matt still struggles with reading? Would Claire actually be grasping math better if she was in school? On the other hand, would Matt be teased for his struggles? Would his innocence and goofiness already be lost? Would Claire feel like a total failure because she doesn’t grasp certain math functions? Would her struggle with anxiety be worse? Would Ellie spend her days afraid without me there to hold her hand?
Looking at those questions, I know I have my answer. I am doing what is right for my family at this moment in time. Being brave and afraid at the same time is a good thing. I think it’s a healthy tension to live in. It does not allow life to become stagnant.
The homeschooling life is chaotic, loud, messy, at times frustrating, and at other times full of laughter. Good and bad, I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In what ways are you brave and afraid at the same time?
I’m really excited about this. One of my newly discovered favorite bloggers, Lisa Jo Baker, has a writing prompt every Friday. The rules are you write about the topic for 5 minutes. You minimally edit then post it. Real life writing. Without fear. My favorite. So, here I go:
A couple of years ago it was Veggie Tales. Next was Taylor Swift and One Direction. Today it’s Aerosmith. “Mommy, I want to listen to Walk This Way.” Seriously? She’s 5. As a grown up, I now actually listen to the meaning behind the words of the songs we listen to. Yikes! How did I not ever really listen to these words before my 5 year old sang them? One one hand, I’m a bit mortified, yet on the other, I can’t help but smile. She is so innocent and she loves belting out the song. She says that she loves Rock ‘n Roll as much as she does One Direction now. My youngest, my baby, is moving away from the Wheels on the Bus and moving towards Sweet Emotion. I would say my emotion is more bittersweet as I hold onto as much of life with my littles as possible. Tomorrow she’ll be leaving home and my husband and I will be trying to remember where the time has went and why it went so quickly. It will be time for a new song. Until then, we will live this song to the fullest. Right here. Right now.
*photo credit Hani Amir via Compfight
Oliver Hammond via Compfight
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind -Dr. Seuss
This is my favorite Dr. Seuss quote. It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson, I’m a little stubborn that way. I’m a people pleaser. I always have been. It’s only in the past 4-5 years that I’ve learned that you can’t always please everyone, and there are some people who you won’t ever please. The most important take away from this quote for me is to be who you are. It’s not easy but our soul requires it. So many of us spend so much time trying to be what other people want us to be (or what we think other people want from us) that we lose touch with ourselves. We forget who we really are and what passions and gifts we have.
I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Some seasons have been really slim in writing (especially with babies in the house) and some have been more active. I used to love writing stories as a kid but that was lost somewhere along the way. I lost my imagination. My daughter, at 13, is a fabulous writer of fan-fiction. I loved it when she told me that she never knows how a story will end until she’s writing it. That’s perfect! She’s a writer and she gets it. She has re- awoken the writer in me.
Fear is easy. Fear of rejection and not measuring up. Living authentically to who you are is the difficult part. So, I say to you, BE WHO YOU ARE, those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Thank you Dr. Seuss.
Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.
Coanri/Rita via Compfight *photo credit
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
Homeschooling is based on trust. Trusting that your kids will learn what they need to know on their own timetable. They will read when they are ready. They are prepared for Algebra when they can wrap their minds around it. Being flexible with our expectations is a wonderful gift to offer our kids.
Most of us don’t realize that the government is more interested in making compliant global workers than caring what our kids’ gifts and challenges are. People who claim that school is the right answer are the ones that, more than likely, did well in school. Compliant and adaptable. I know this because I was both. I was well-liked by my teachers and I did fairly well in school. I adapted to the environment. I was very good at studying for a test then promptly forgetting it all. That may be the government’s idea of education but it’s definitely not real learning. My goal as a homeschooling parent is to instill in my kids a passion for learning that extends past their first 18 years. I’m not saying that all schooled kids don’t have passions. There are many parents who instill those values. As a general rule though, parents count on the schools to educate their children- my argument is the schools do not help kids value life-long learning that will help them adapt to this ever changing economy and world.
So many kids can’t wait for school to be done so they can live their life. These kids have lost the joy of learning. I see gifted kids in all the honors classes who do remarkably well in school and probably will be very successful in life. These kids know how to play the education game. I bet if you asked them if they really loved learning they would look at you with a blank stare. This is just the game they are winning right now. They have learned that being successful means they win and school is something to simply be managed. What if the kid on the science track in high school really wants to be a poet? Or, the kid who does terrible in school and is seen as below average ends up missing the chance to blossom later in life? Look at the college dropouts, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. They got tired of playing the education game that didn’t really utilize their gifts or passions and they both changed the world forever.
Education and true learning are not the same thing. Education is spending 12-15 years of your young life being told what to think and what to learn based on a bias set of adults setting the rules. Real learning is following your interests based on your gifts and abilities. I think math is important- we all need math to function most days. Saying that everyone needs 4 years of math in high school is unnecessary. I did well in most of my schooling except math. I barely passed Geometry- it’s not my gift (don’t even ask about Economics-ugh). I can function just fine with the math I do know. My husband, the engineer, needs to know much more complicated math than I do. He enjoys the challenge of math- that’s how he’s wired. I loved all my language arts and speech classes, language is where my gift is.
My daughter is much like me. At 13, she struggles with math. We have had many, many tears shed and have tried countless math programs. As soon as I stopped worrying about keeping her at grade level the fighting has stopped. She’s just not developmentally ready for Algebra. So, we plug away at a lower level and there is much more peace. She writes fan fiction on line and has quite a following. She stays up late at night to just finish one more chapter. Her creativity and writing flourish because this is how she is wired. This is what lights her up. She’s not sure writing is her passion or not but she’s enjoying having the freedom to explore it. She has learned more spelling and grammar over the last 6 months with her writing than she had in her previous 3 years of homeschooling. That is true learning, my friends.
Homeschooling is trusting your kids and yourself. It’s not always easy when you’ve been programmed to trust the experts and not your instincts. Your family will not look like any other family out there. Your curriculum, if you choose to use it, can be tweaked to fit your family- always. Don’t be a slave to a system- homeschooling or not. Be yourself and enjoy your kids. Encourage them to follow their dreams and change the world. That’s a gift we all have to offer.
photo Jimmie via Compfight
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
The world as seen through five-year-old eyes…
Oh, that I would have the same eyes. The eyes to see what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable– everyday.
Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.
-William Butler Yeats
Jose Carlos Norte via Compfight
I was just introduced to the awesome TED talk called the bullied and beautiful… by Shane Koyczan. One of the best spent 12 minutes of my life (actually, more- I’ve watched it 4 times already).
“…and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror, look a little closer, stare a little longer, because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit…”
Thank you, Shane, for your powerful words and your beautiful heart.