We all start out terrified.
Sarah, what if I forget to teach him how to tell time!?!
She was staring at me with a look of sheer panic. The oh-my-god-PLEASE-tell-me-it’s-all-going-to-be-ok look of panic.
Her seven-year-old son had been struggling at the local public school. Recently, she and her husband had decided to pull him and start homeschooling. Understandably, this was a nerve-wracking time for her. She was now in the initial stages of figuring out how best to educate him. She was afraid of forgetting something; of making mistakes.
And do you know what my response was? What words of wisdom I had to impart? What supportive reassurance I had for this brand new homeschooling mama?
Yours truly responded: “Oh, he’ll be fine. I mean come on, most clocks are digital now, right? How often will he REALLY need to ACTUALLY tell time anyway?”
Silence. I mean, absolute silence. She just stared at me, mouth open, eyes wide.
Yeah, so. Maybe I should have gone for something a little more, oh I don’t know, REASSURING.
But to be fair…
I did follow up with a heartfelt, if not slightly long-winded pep talk about how she totally had what it took to homeschool her son.
See? I knew how to be supportive after all!
I reminded her that there were plenty of us homeschooling parents around to support her. You know, the ones who don’t teach their children how to tell time.
Sorry, was that too much?
I just couldn’t help it.
Honestly, I don’t remember all of the details I shared with her that day. But here’s what I do remember:
I remember hugging her and telling her it was all going to be OK.
I assured her that this didn’t have to be a “forever decision”. She was allowed to change her mind if she decided this wasn’t working, and to resume traditional schooling in the future.
I told her that she was brave and completely capable.
I reminded her that…
THE ABSOLUTE MOST IMPORTANT THING, more important than reading, writing, and telling time, WAS HER RELATIONSHIP WITH HER CHILD.
And then I hugged her again. Because I am a hugger. And every meaningful conversation must end with a hug. I believe this is an unwritten rule, actually.
Anyway, back to the point which is.
I believed and still believe, in all of this.
This is all going to be OK for YOU.
You are allowed to change your mind if this isn’t working.
And I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the MOST IMPORTANT thing is the RELATIONSHIP between YOU and your CHILD.
You CAN do this.
But what if I wake up in a panic-induced cold sweat at 3am?
This will likely happen.
What if I have friends and family who are unsupportive?
Then you lean on the loved ones who ARE supportive.
I’m afraid I might lose myself.
But then you will find other aspects of yourself that are just as true and creative and spectacular as the lost parts. And you will lose yourself and find yourself again and again. What if this is actually something to be embraced?
Imagine if you discover new curiosities and passions. Perhaps you will find yourself exposed to new opportunities and adventures. Because these are very real and exciting possibilities that are available to you, my dear.
Will you take the leap of faith necessary to see where this homeschooling journey might lead?
But what if I make mistakes?
You will. You’ll make plenty of mistakes. Repeatedly. Over and over and over again. Because this is life after all. And these mistakes will either cause you to shut down and feel like a failure or open you up to an entirely new world of possibilities.
So if you want my opinion, (and honestly, you can take or leave it; how will I ever know?)
I say TRY.
Change your mind down the road if necessary. Make mistakes. Ask for help. Feel afraid.
But go for it.
Do it so you never have to ask yourself “what if” but instead you can say “Wow, now that was a wild ride!”
Good luck. I’m here to support you every step of the way.