You might have seen that the publisher here at TheHomeSchoolMom memed a couple of my sentences: I am Homeschool Mom. Watch Me Change Stuff.
She did that when I designated October 1 as Curriculum’s Not Working Day, a holiday honoring new homeschooling parents who are struggling with getting their kids “through” their new curriculum at this time of year. The piece was about homeschoolers’ freedom to make changes and do what works, rather than sticking with an arbitrary curriculum. I encouraged parents to think more about how their children learn and to think more about the differences between school and homeschooling.
Then they can "change stuff" about their homeschooling to reflect these realities.
I got so many positive comments on Facebook, including one that called parents’ ability to “change stuff” the secret sauce of homeschooling. Indeed.
Among them, I got a comment on Facebook that stopped me in my tracks. A friend of mine, Heather Jeffrey, a long-term homeschooler, made a quick comment by just rewriting the meme, striking out the last word:
I am Homeschool Mom. Watch Me Change Stuff.
In fact, she wrote it with emphasis on the Me. I am Homeschool Mom. Watch ME Change.
Just wow. Beyond secret sauce. Here, my friends, we have the Secret.
If you’re going to homeschool and want to stick with it, openness to change in your Self is imperative.
If you do stick with homeschooling, change in your Self is nearly certain.
Because you’ve just fallen off the main road, Sister. You have now made the choice for your kids to join the big 3.4% who homeschool. (2012 Report from National Center for Education Statistics)
You are swimming out of the mainstream.
This means some of your presumptions and comfort zones are going to be challenged. This means you won’t get to just go with the status quo without questioning it – because you’ve already shown yourself you won’t. There is no easy way now to just figure, “If it works for everybody else, it will work for us,” because most everybody else is already doing something else.
When you’re pregnant, a baby causes microchimeric changes in your brain and body that last for your lifetime. The baby’s cells literally pass through the placenta and migrate to your brain and other organs.
When you adopt or foster a baby or child, the love, the responsibility, and the child change you.
When you homeschool – the choice, the process, and the children change you.
If you let them.
What will change in your Self? All kinds of things, possibly including...
- Your understanding of how learning happens
- Your thoughts on discipline
- Your thoughts on teachers, lessons, homework, and practice
- Your opinions on the role of curricula and resources
- Your understanding of virtues such as patience and consistency
- Your relationship to time
- Your goals for your children’s education
- Your understanding of the purposes of education, in general
- Your need to be alone
- Your need for support, community, and fellowship
- Your tolerance for chaos, mess, and spontaneity (more/less!)
- Your views on paid & unpaid work and volunteerism
- Your opinions on topics such as credentials, experts, and accreditation
- Your expectations for how your home should be kept, decorated, lived in
- Your own academic knowledge
- Your political views and religious beliefs (whether you start out liberal or start out conservative)
- Your priorities
- Your acceptance of your children as they are, right now, today (pg. 8 of pdf)
In fact, if some of these things don't change, you probably won't be able to homeschool productively or happily. As you change stuff to make homeschooling work better (schedules, homeschooling style and approach, curriculum, guidance), listen to what your kids and your experiences with them are telling you.
If you dig in your heels and vow not to change, you'll miss huge opportunities for personal growth.
Don't homeschool your kids but miss learning from them.
I am homeschool mom. Watch me change.
If you let it, having a baby will change you. If you let them, having children will change you. If you let it, homeschooling will change you more.