"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unschooling, Stumbling, and Renewing Confidence

We are homeschooling our children. Since they are 2 and 3, that both means everything and nothing at this point. Everyting because even now that decision is an overarching theme in our lives each day. Nothing because they are so young and because of how we intend to proceed. We believe in a rather unschooling approach until the children are at least 7. We want them to enjoy being a child, get dirty and messy, and discover their own questions about their world. Right now we are just guides, just the people who either answer the questions or help them find the answer when we honestly and unashamedly say, "I don't know. But let's find out together."

It has been going well. We have been blessed with some really amazing children. They are bright, funny, and inquisitive. We are kept very busy each day answering their questions, reading to them, playing games, doing crafts, well wherever the day takes us.

Sadly, I fell victim for the first time to self doubt. First of many, I am very sure. That unwanted thought, that horrible urge attacked me at my heart. You know the one.

I have to do more. What if they fall behind??????

I think it is an ever present joy stealing thought that lurks in the mind of most homeschoolers at one time or another. We doubt ourselves. We truly want the best for our kids. What if endless worksheets and flashcards are what is best? What if we really do need to be stuffing them with incredible amounts of information??? What if I am wrong??? And the big one, what if I fail them????

Heady stuff those thoughts. Thoughts like those have the ability to bring even the most adamantly relaxed homeschooler to their knees and beg for mercy. I think it just goes with the territory.

So for 3 days I began to make plans. I search for preschool objectives and goals. I researched the best and most fun ways to achieve them. I made lists and outlines. I ran myself a bit ragged. Finally when the dust, papers, facts, and questions settled around me I realized something wonderful. My children are already on target with all those goals. They are doing fine. No, they are flourishing and it is beautiful.

So we are back to long days of snuggling and reading. Days filled with Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. Paintings done on paper and each other are common in our home. My littles and I are intrepid adventurers exploring and discovering the world around us. It is perfect. It is also what we intended to do from the beginning. I love having my confidence back. It feels really good.

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