I don’t know if all homeschoolers worry, but I know I do. Something about taking the road less traveled makes it feel inherently risky, even though I know without a doubt that the well-worn path was not the right road for us. With homeschooling, there is no one else to blame if your children are uneducated or not successful. You can’t point your finger at the local school system or a “bad” teacher. It’s all you, and the choices you’ve made.
The internet and social media is both a blessing and a curse for homeschoolers: A blessing because you can reap the collective wisdom of many homeschoolers and know you are not alone; a curse because you can see all the things the “perfect” homeschoolers are doing and know you don’t measure up – not even on your best day.
I admire mothers who have children who have completed homeschooling and gone on to do well in high school and/or college and/or adult life. They can breathe a sigh of relief. Somehow, even if they made some missteps along the way, they did it right. They succeeded. When you are in the midst of the journey, there is no guarantee you will successfully reach the destination. It is just one step at a time, taken with prayer and hope.
Unlike a lot of homeschoolers, I don’t adhere to a formal curriculum. I’m eclectic, picking from here and there. I standardize test the kids in math and English so those subjects are more formal. With the others, I’m more unschoolish. I’m certainly not a true unschooler in that we follow a schedule and I make them do all the subjects, but they have a great deal more freedom in what they study for them. I let them follow their interests. The library is our best friend. We use iPad apps and watch YouTube videos. “School” probably takes 2 – 3 hours a day, four days a week. The rest of the time, they pursue their own interests. I want them to be invested in what they are learning, instead of learning for a test and then promptly forgetting the information. It works for us.
And yet, I worry. Which is why I can take comfort in this post from Karen Edmisten: Nine Worries About Unschoolish Ways that I Shouldn’t Have Worried About