Monday, February 24, 2014

My Inexpert Advice

When your children reach a certain age, it's not uncommon to be looked upon as an "expert" in homeschooling. I remember when my oldest was six and I clung to the expertise of homeschoolers with ten-year-olds. Obviously, they knew something I didn't know, because I struggled with homeschooling for a whole year and they had been doing this for four or more years!

With over sixteen years of experience and one homeschooled-to-college, I can assure you I am no "expert." I am a veteran of homeschooling, but I still view myself as learning how to do this. It would be nice to think that there is one simple way to home educate, but the truth is there are as many ways as there are homeschooled children. Not homeschooling parents, mind you. There are as many ways as there are homeschooled children.

Even if you are a fan of canned curriculum, you cannot possibly teach every child exactly the same. You grow in your experience homeschooling, the same as your children. At least, I hope you do. I've always had romantic notions that most homeschoolers love learning, which is why they want to teach their own. I love learning. I strive to improve myself and still puzzle over better ways to help my youngest enjoy learning. I shifted styles as my children grew and presented their unique personalities to me. I have tried to take things one year at a time instead of worrying about how it will all work out in the end. I learned to bend when things weren't working. I observed and listened, because listening is what I consider the most important part of successful homeschooling.

One of my favorite analogies is the tree in the wind. A tree that is unmoving is more prone to break or uproot when faced with a strong wind. A tree that is flexible and bends with the wind is more likely to survive, even if its shape is changed by the wind. I would rather be the flexible tree.


Paula Vince said...

I feel just the same as you and have reached about the same stage. I love your feelings expressed here. We homeschooling parents definitely never stop learning. As well as each of the kids being different, new books and curriculum keep being published and made. An interesting, varied journey.

Debbi Scott Edmonds said...

I'm with you there! I still feel like a newbie sometimes. lol Thankfully, I am a voracious learner. I have 3 children into college, and 2 boys ages 15 and 13 at home. I have one grandchild and another on the way. Yet, each day it seems my children teach me something new. ;)

jugglingpaynes said...

Thank you both. I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling this way!
Debbi - I don't know how you manage 3 in college. We can only afford the one tuition. My son is doing an internship locally.

Inner Elder said...

Your insight into "being an expert" shows your wisdom. With experience we realize how much there is yet to learn. That may be the greatest benefit of homeschooling - the lesson that learning is a life long adventure! Proud of you, Love, Mom

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