An old friend called me the other day. She wanted to reconnect, get an update on our lives and, the real reason, talk about homeschooling. She and her husband are on the verge of pulling their 7yo son from a school that doesn't seem to be challenging him or allowing him to really delve deep into the things that interest him. And know what? She is scared. Of course she is, we all were when we started! She is totally over-thinking every little choice and situation and question that she will encounter--just like all of us do/have done on this journey. She is worried about community reactions, teacher reactions, friend reactions and (the big one) family reactions. I listened to her and tried to calmly reassure her that every single solitary worry that she has is completely normal, natural and, for the most part, totally unnecessary*. Yes, there will be tough reactions and even tougher questions. There will be people who are for it and people who think she is crazy. There will be people who can see the good and people who think she is ruining her son's life. And none of that, NONE of it, matters. Why? Because she will be out having an adventure with her son. THAT is the only part that matters. A while ago, I blogged about taking the first steps towards becoming the person/parent you want to be by simply taking that first step. Don't worry about how big the overall change is, just take the first step. If you can see how being home with your child every day loving, laughing and learning together would be good for him, don't even stop to think about what the community, friends or relatives think...just do it. Do it one step worth and then if that feels good, do it two steps worth and then three. If it works for you, keep doing it, one day at a time. If something doesn't feel right about it, change direction (slightly) and try again. Repeat.
There will be days when you wish they would just go to school and leave you alone. There will be days when you are sick and can't take a sick-day (when can moms EVER get a sick day???). There will be days when he doesn't want to do what you want and there will be days when you don't want to do what he wants. It is all part of the journey and you will work it out. In between working out the bumps, you will go to the beach, do a bird walk, play board games, watch cool videos, jump on the bed, take up an instrument, learn a word in a foreign language....
So we talked for nearly two hours--we talked about curriculum, homeschool conventions, legalities, groups, emotions, what to say when people question you, daily life, and everything else that was crossing her mind. And in the end, when she said she felt like she was just standing on the edge of something scary I told her, "Don't over think it, my friend, don't over think it. Take your son's hand in yours, wrap your soul tightly around him, close your eyes and jump. You won't regret it."
I'm excited to see where this journey takes them.
*I need to stress that I, along with everyone who has ever begun homeschooling, had all these fears too! I am in NO WAY talking down to her or trying to brush off her concerns--they are all legitimate concerns that take time to fade into the background of daily life. My point is simply that they WILL fade into the background of daily life...or rather, daily life will become so full that it will leave little time to think about those concerns!