This post was inspired by a post by Sheri and Matteroffaith.
Moving mid-stream from the government model of education to a family/individual-based one can be tough. It’s like moving to Europe because we can’t survive anymore in our minimum wage full time job. It’s a whole ‘nother world. And it can be scary if we don’t know our way around.
One of the first things I recommend for new homeschoolers is reading a wide variety of educational literature. And not just homeschooling. But all kinds of alternative and not-so-alternative books and magazines. Not because I think anyone should follow what the literature says, but to get a broader perspective.
One of the things that influenced me the most when I was thinking about my kids’ education was to discover that there were many different models of education. And funny – none of them seemed like the panacea that they touted them to be. Each time I found a “good” model, there were flaws.
Every single model has its flaws. Period.
When I discovered that, I realized, wow – there’s really no right answer, is there?
That allowed me to say to myself, “Ok, I’m going to search around for the things that work for us. Not what we’re “supposed” to do.” It gave me freedom to know that even the doctors and teachers and educational specialists didn’t really have an answer for me. The answer was already in me. I just had to find it. That’s what life, and education, is really all about.
Even though it might be hard to see, there are always many paths available to us. Often, in education, there is a vested interest to keep them from knowing the other options. Appearances are deceiving. Don’t get fooled by language that makes you fearful that if you don’t do what they say, you’re doomed.
Another thing I realized is that sometimes, the roadblocks that we come across are there for a reason. If at every single corner, I bump into a wall, it means I’m probably looking for the wrong thing. The universe is sending me a clear message that something’s not right. Maybe I’m too attached to the outcome. Maybe I don’t want to admit that I’m wrong. Maybe I am trying fulfill my own needs instead of taking into consideration the needs of the other members of my family. Maybe I’m just not ready to accept what achieving my goal will give me.
Taking a step back and saying, “hmm, is there something else I can work for that won’t be so hard to achieve?” gets me moving forward. It also boosts my confidence that I can handle change and movement. Maybe then a little later, when I’ve gone forward in that other direction, and I’ve given up the ghost on the original goal, it lands in my lap. Then I notice, that miraculously, all the stuff that had been keeping me from getting it in the first place is gone.
In other words, don’t ignore the message that’s being sent when something doesn’t work. I say embrace the fact that we’ve been told which way not to go. Also, keep in mind that it’s not always the goal that we’re being held back from. But it could be the method we are taking isn’t in alignment with our personal integrity. Perhaps the goal is good, but we’re trying to use a means that’s not congruent to who we are.
Part of what might help when something we try doesn’t work, is to stop thinking in fearful and helpless terms of “we’ll be lost if this doesn’t work.” Instead, be willing to have a plan B, and know that “if this doesn’t work, we’ll do something else instead.” There is *always* another way to go.
For example, if your high school transcript plan to get into college doesn’t work, see if there’s a way to use testing. If testing doesn’t work, see if there’s a way to use community college transcript. If that doesn’t work, focus on getting a job and continue learning about the related topic in another way, until you find another possible path. Maybe, college isn’t the best path? And the obsession with going that path is keeping you and the kids from seeing other opportunities? Or keeping you from seeing how the same thing you’ve always been doing could be done differently to be more effective and purposeful?
Most likely, that’s what you’d end up doing anyway. If one plan just doesn’t work, you’re going to have to take another direction. That’s how life is. So, instead of being afraid of that change of path, accept it as part of life and homeschooling. Pride yourself in being adaptable and resourceful. Doesn’t mean you have to like where life takes you. But that you know that no matter what happens, everything’s going to be OK. Cuz you don’t let your fear keep you from being able to see the other paths that are open to you.