Tag Archives: homeschool

Teaching an Old-er Dog New Tricks

cute-dog-27990076

I’m a recovering perfectionist. Yes I admit it, I have this internal need for things to be just right. Nothing less will do. And yes, you’ve guessed it, the standard I measure things by is my own. I love clean lines, finished edges, precise angles and uncluttered spaces. I love order and function. And if you know me at all you know that my life looks NOTHING like the precision I crave.

What my life actually looks like is functional but utilized. The desk is covered with bits of paper that I mean to address in an hour, but never get around to. The filing that sits beside the files and not in them. The laundry that is folded, but not put away. The dishwasher that is clean, but still full! The floor is covered with little bits of train tracks and miniature horses. There are about a dozen notebooks lying around my work space and throughout my home. Each one started but not completed. Each one intended to be finished from one end to the other before the next one was begun. There are drawings and charts and graphs scattered throughout.

Don’t get me wrong, the house is not a complete mess but rather very lived in if you will. You see there is another side to me that craves creativity and must create solutions, systems and discover new possibilities and that side of me could care less about order, neatness and precision. That side wants to take bunny trails in every direction. That side wants to pursue a possibility and capture its every nuance. That side can’t see what’s around me until it notices a moodiness and anxiety rising with me that prevents it from focusing on the latest train of thought. When I stop and notice those signals I realize that the perfectionist in me is feeling overwhelmed by the chaos the creative side of me has made. And so the dance continues.

I take time away from creating to reorganize my space, my life and my things. I determine I will stay on top of it this time. I promise my perfectionist self that I will not allow paper to pile up, but will file it immediately. I will not let laundry stay folded in the basket, I’ll put it away as I’m doing it. I promise my perfectionist self I will finally finish the profiles on all my social media accounts and I will plan out and prepare my blog. I do my best for a few days to stay on top of those tasks and then I notice a sadness and lack of energy and I realize I’ve been maintaining everything, but creating nothing. And the cycle begins again.

But I’m learning. I’m learning to identify those signals before they become so loud they drown out everything else. I’m learning not to let the perfectionist side of me dictate long to-do lists that prevent me from accomplishing them. I am learning to actually enjoy my children and not just plan their daily tasks (we home school). I’m also learning to not let the creative side of me get so engrossed in every bunny trail that nothing gets accomplished. In other words I’m learning to be a peace keeper between the two sides of me.

This old-er (not old) dog is learning some new tricks and giving both intense sides of who I am come out and play. I’m trying to give both sides equal billing and you know what, its kinda starting to work!

Am I the only one who feels like I’m at war within myself?

Advertisements

Parenting: It’s not a competitive sport!

If you ask any parent about their child you will hear descriptions that eventually reveal the uniqueness of each child, how they are different (in a good way) from any other child alive, special, precious, amazing. It’s how it should be. I have yet to meet a parent that tells me their child is run-of-the-mill, ordinary, just like every other kid ever born. So let me ask you then, if each of our children is different and gifted and precious in their OWN way, why do we feel the need to compare as parents how we parent?

Why do we say things like “I could never do that” (usually referring to our choice to homeschool), or “wow, that must keep you busy” (referring to any activity we choose to engage our children in). Why do parents ask other parents what they do for discipline, school, vaccination, bed-time routine, feeding, diapering, etc., and then immediately make a judgement statement or an excuse for why “we” don’t do it that way? Seriously? Seriously?!

If each child is unique, gifted, special, precious and full of potential than it stands to reason that the approach you take to feeding, training, teaching, disciplining them would be different. It stands to reason that each set of parents will have to make unique decisions on what is best for each of their children based on who those precious little people are. What fits for my daughter may not fit for my son. They are different people. And if they are different and require different approaches when they share so much in common (genetic ancestry, parents, home environment, etc.) then it seems to me that the approach I take for my children will not necessarily work for yours. I mean they have nothing else in common other than perhaps being born in the same generation, in the same general geographic location. Those are important factors yes, but not important enough to mean they should be raised the same, educated the same, fed the same, engaged in the same activities and presented the same options.

Recently a surprising large number of my friends and acquaintances have opted to homeschool their children. Can I tell you all a big secret? None of us who ended up homeschooling consulted each other, nor did we choose to homeschool our kids because that’s what the others were doing. Sure we talked about it, but when we talked about it I’d venture to say 98% of us had already decided to homeschool or were leaning very strongly in that direction as we were researching our options. There was never a conversation that went along the way of “okay, if you’re all doing it we’re going to do it too, its gonna be fun!” That conversation never happened. Ever.

And yes a large number of our friends have chosen to place their children in a variety of other educational environments. Some are in public schools, some in Catholic schools, some in other Christian schools and some others have opted for other private schools. Truthfully I don’t think any of them should pull their kids out of their schools and homeschool just because that’s what I choose to do. Nope, wrong motivation.

Please, can we as parents do our children (and ourselves) a huge favour and realize that the decisions we make should be based on what is best for OUR OWN unique children and not what the group is doing? Can we stop comparing what everyone else does and seeing how we stack up? Can we extend enough grace to other parents and assume that the decisions they are making are based on the uniquely gifted, talented individuals they have been blessed to parent? Can we just stop competing with each other or treating each others’ decisions as a judgement statement of our own parenting choices? Just because I’m doing something for my child does not mean I think you should be doing it for yours.

Okay, rant over. Time to go take my son to soccer now.