THE REAL THING

Hello Doubts! By RSB

September is already here and I just want to scream “I AM NOT READY!”

Some old feelings are coming back for a visit usually around this time of the year.  From feeling inadequate, not prepared, not smart enough, not organized, not this or that the annual doubt fest is here.  My mind wonders if I am going to mess up my kid this year.

“Is he going to excel in what I chosen to teach him?”

“How many debates will we have about school stuff?”  I have a teenager, so yes it will happens, I am not in denial here.

Those are just a few questions among so many in my head at this time of the year (I could write a full chapter filled with them).

From the outside, parents that are starting their journey in this wonderful world of homeschooling, think that I am a pro at this job.  I don’t feel that way.  Actually, I spoke with enough moms to know that a lot of us don’t feel like pros.  We might know more about the different curriculums that are out there as well as what work for our own child but that feeling of inadequacy is present in our day to day busy life (we just shove it in the back of our mind after a while).

My honest truth here is that if I was alone in this kind of journey, I would not be able to make it.  I am not kidding, this way of thinking can stop you right in your track.  Even if the movement of you becoming your child teacher is getting bigger every year, it is not an easy road to be on.  Being part of a homeschool group is what keeps me sane.  Knowing that moms and dads around me are on that journey too, makes me want to keep going when I am ready to just be done.

I need to stop for just a second here to explain something about my own adventure in the world of homeschool group.  I am French Canadian who married a guy from the USA and moved on his side of the border (see how short that is, fall in love and here we go).  The school system was different from what I knew and it wasn’t my idea of success for my child and for that reason, among others of course, that made us (because if your spouse doesn’t have your back, it is going to be an even harder thing to do) decided to homeschool.  When I started looking into all that crazyness of what was involved in this weird world, finding that homeschool group was a relief! I called, had a long and great conversation with a nice lady and next thing I knew, the journey had begun.

That group offered co-op classes.  The type that you have once a week, with parents as teachers.  Now this is the important part for me.  I seriously can close my eyes and go back in time.  I was happy to have found a group but I was still pretty much scared about that choice that we had made.  While moms where hanging out, the kids were in a class doing whatever they had signed up for, Spanish lesson, yearbook and so on.  If you look back 9 years ago, you would see me sitting by my child classroom door waiting for it to be over and make sure that things were going ok. That homechool group did offer mom’s night out and other things beside co-op classes but to be honest, I didn’t feel comfortable doing that.  Maybe I was shy, or just wanted to stay home.  Getting out of my comfort zone to go do those other things with just moms wasn’t my happy place.

For the people who know me now, I bet that they are having a hard time picturing what I am sharing about myself because, I am an ARCH director who is all over the place saying “Hi” and “How are you?” and giving plenty of hugs to who wants to have them.  But that was me, and being part of a group that meet weekly (even if I wasn’t fully embracing it) was a good choice for my family.  From observing what was going on, to have people reaching to me at that weekly co-op, was what I needed to slowly feel comfortable in that crazy homeschool world.  I was able to create friendships with women that were taking the time to reach me on a personal level on those days, as well as seeking advice or just listen to them share their journey.  This brought me to realize that our journey was all so similar.  The hugs, I got them too when I felt overwhelmed with those feelings of inadequacy as well as words of encouragements.

Now back to our story.  I honestly didn’t think that I would share that much about my personal journey but it is out there, so now you know.

Back to those feelings that are showing up once a year on how I can mess up my child.  As I learned, from sharing with those ladies that are in the same boat as I am, it is ok to feel that way.  Eventually those feelings do move on and you are back on track with your day to day schoolwork among other things.  But the “move on” part can happen faster when you have friends that are there with you understanding what is going on in your head because they have been there, and they are building you up and not putting you down because homeschooling is not a foreign concept to them.