Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Adventure Begins

As I stand at the precipice of my potential undoing, I feel an enormous amount of trepidation. From what I have read, very few people start their homeschooling endeavor with confidence. It amazes me how many of us are so sure about our decision, but so insecure about our ability to effectively follow through. Because isn't that what the fear really is - feeling inadequate?

I, of course, have had a few people ask me if I need to be certified or meet special criteria to homeschool my child. It amuses me to be asked that, but I certainly understand their concern. I feel it too. There are so many curriculum options for homeschoolers that the research alone tears at the fragile fibers of my resolve. Where do I begin? how do I know what program is right for my family? What do I do about my weak areas, like math? Would a teaching certification give me more direction or confidence? Would a state-mandated test or criteria help me prove/understand my own worth as an educator?

Overcoming these insecurities is challenging, but I find myself watching my son charging head first in to each day and that makes me stronger. I did not need a certificate to have a child. Parents have to figure their own shit out along the way. My boy is smart, confident, and curious. That proves that I have been doing okay so far. And, I had no curriculum to guide me for the past 6 years, so I think I have established my worth as an educator. Is teaching a child to talk easier than teaching them to spell? Is social studies education more important than teaching compassion? It may get more challenging as he gets older, but I don't think 1st grade math is going to uncover my teaching inadequacies. Of course, I am not above asking for help if it does. (I would be above admitting that 1st grade math might be too much, though, so I would ask for help on the down-low. )

I am often surprised and encouraged at all of the parents who support my decision to homeschool. I get more "Good for you's" and "I don't blame ya's" at this point than the "Are you a nutjob's" or "you couldn't possibly be smart enough to school a goldfish's." And, it makes me sad that our public school system has jaded so many other parents who don't have the resources to take matters in to their own hands. Someone told me that homeschooling isn't for everybody. Maybe so, but it is within all parents to fight for their children's potential and provide the best for them. Therefore, I may be daunted by the responsibility of homeschooling, but I am more terrified of the result if I don't. I know that I can do this. I just have to do it in my own way, embrace the support of others, and ignore the asshat nay-sayers who are content with stifling their children's potential.