This last year of homeschooling has really increased my confidence as a not only a Mom, but a homeschool Mom. I have spent the last year battling with our choice to unschool and wondering if the things I do are really right for us when society tells us they are so wrong. Looking back to last September, I can see a change in my confidence.
I don't know what it is, maybe a mixture of things. Having a support group is also for Moms, not just the kids. And it has been a tremendous source of encouragement. Talking to other Moms and seeing that they all do different things different way. That we all slack off at times or do too much other times. We are constantly trying to find balance. And the way things are done is always changing.
One of my closest friends I met in that group, and although I have only known her a year, she has become a spiritual mother to me. When I first met her, I could not believe that a 40 year old woman would want to hang out with a 21 year old. But I quickly learned homeschoolers don't care. ;) She has been a source of encouragement for me being a young Mom. She always talks up how amazing it is to have children very young, as God made our bodies able to reproduce and he chose to give us our children. She is the one who has encouraged me to talk to my Husband and let God lead the way on children. (Such a major stress off of me.) She is my source of encouragement in reading my Bible and understanding what God tells us. She has taught me ways to continually remind my child that God is the highest of all Kings and that she is a princess of the Almighty God. Samantha clings to those words. (Suzette has been such an amazing Christian influence on Samantha because she understands the true meaning of Trusting God.) She has encouraged me in my marriage, when we have problems, to just pray and ask God what he wants me to do. Because God has a plan, even when others may discourage. She recently gave me a women's devotional that she thought would help in times of need, and she is right. Such an amazing gift from a thoughtful woman. She is always teaching me knew recipes and about health. Giving me tips on homeschooling. All these words of wisdom and sources she has given me throughout the last year have really built me up. I just hope that I have been the friend to her that she has been to me. And maybe one day I will have the experience and wisdom to lead somebody. Side Note: A big plus is that all her 6 children have been a true blessing to Samantha. She gets along with all of them, from ages 1 to 13. Yes, I know most people view the age thing as a little weird, but homeschoolers are different. They generally don't grow up as fast. But don't get me on that rant. Anyway, Samantha has found out so much about herself through playing with her friends and receiving encouragement from them, because they go through many of the same things.)
I believe the second thing that has caused such a change in me is experience. I am by no means a veteran homeschooler who has put 3 kids through highschool and 2 through middle. But we have known we wanted to homeschool since S was 2, and I have been putting my all into it ever since. Researching, trying different teaching methods, talking to other people, going to seminars and fairs. And I believe now that we have experienced homeschooling in a more official way, a less lonely way, we are more confident. We have experienced it in a way where we join groups, but not to many. A way where we get involved in our community and meet others. We have learned through many different styles. We are registered with the school. We have to do the paperwork and follow the "rules" like good Boys and Girls, but it has been so much more a Blessing than a pain. I feel like we know what we are doing. I don't have to constantly worry about how we do things, because I can see now that we are all truly different. My child has grown SO Much over the last year, academically, spiritually, and emotionally, and I have homeschool to thank for that. I no longer question myself day and night. I no longer am embarrassed to tell somebody, "She is a bit behind in memorizing her math facts. Her brain just isn't ready, and I won't force it until it is easy on her. But she is one heck of an artist!" You should see the looks I get when I compare the importance of art, her passion, to Math. And I say, "Yes, art is just as important as math, if not more important, because art is her passion." The wide eyes....Oh my. But that's okay. We all view education differently. I just know now that just because somebody views it differently than me does not make me wrong. It does not mean my child will fail. It means I am a Mom doing what I know is best for MY child, and nothing will change that. Not a stranger who tells me that I need to be more formal in my teaching. Not a friend who tells me my kid should go to school. Not even a fellow homeschooler who tells me that I MUST use the newest curriculum. No. I will follow HER lead. And keep my head held high as I try to change the world one person at a time.
Update: Preparing for my new position as Secretary on the Board. Should be an interedting new experience. I am meeting with last year's Secretary next week. And I have a board meeting in July. Then I will be settled into my new position! Samantha also has a yearbook signing party tomorrow. Yearbooks are in. Yay! She can't wait to see what all the fuss in about. Ha. Homeschool goes year round. But that's okay. I like it that way.