Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why Do I Still Deal With Peer Pressure as a Grown Woman?

You read that right. Why in the world and I still dealing with peer pressure and the need to get approval over homeschooling? Here is how the start of the trouble builds and escalates:

1. Go to a gathering where friends and comrades gather. All different sorts of educational means are represented (public and private education, cyber school, unschool, homeschool, vocational/technical).
2. Someone asks how school went today.
3. I can not find any one way to express to all the various styles of learning exactly how it all went down.
4. I feel weird.

I don't like uncomfortable feelings. They make me uncomfortable. I want to say that I don't like to be made to have these feelings, but no one is making me feel this way but myself.
What I fight is the tendency to make our school and learning sound different than what it really is just so the questioner doesn't think we didn't do anything all day. In fact, when I would say we had an easy day today, the listener would reply with, "So you didn't have school today?" Uggg.

If you are a homeschooler of any time, I am sure you are getting a small vibe of what I am saying. To some, I feel the need to make our day of learning sound like it was HARD, and a STRUGGLE, and filled with TESTS, and lists of things to MEMORIZE. That we were at the uncomfortable kitchen chairs ALL day, suffering, in tight clothes and cluster headaches from dealing with the stress and anguish. A tension headache from repressing cries and moans. For some sick reason I have a moment I want to sound like learning was hard. I feel guilt that is was easy. And I say easy meaning we met our goal, and I used tools to fit that child's needs and design.
Sometimes we have candles burning, sometimes music playing. Sometimes we are in jammies with our favorite blankets sitting over the heat vent. Quite often we have snacks and a cup of tea on the table. We read interesting books about the historical subject we are learning about. We adapt everything we can to fit the child and his purpose, rather than force the mind into an area where design was not intended. And that makes learning easy.
If you have been reading my blog, you know I am not saying everyday is easy. You have read where I struggled and my kids struggled. The basis for that struggling was a.) my heart and its issues, or b.) the tools I was using was not what this child needed. Once I get either or both of those things settled, then the learning usually is easy.
The standard most of us are using for our children is not a superior education. Did you gasp? In reality, I admit there are people who can teach math and science better. English is up for grabs for a better teacher too. I like history, so I claim that one. I rock in Bible. If top education had been the goal, we would never win an argument FOR homeschooling. There are highly qualified teachers in specific areas with fantastic learning tools. But my goal was for highest character, a tightly woven family unit, strength and confidence in their purpose and serving their Creator. While we do have great benefits with quality education, even at my little table, it wasn't my intended purpose. I wasn't even wanting to settle for good sons. I wanted godly sons. Sons with valor, purpose, integrity and strength. I wanted present day knights who served their Lord with an allegiance reminiscent of the Middle Ages.
What I am baffled about is the constant struggle in my heart to feel shy about this advantage. Golly, I have sacrificed for this priviledge, I have earned the right to be bold. I need to feel less apologetic about having a great day in school, and having that great day consistently. I need to not feel apologetic that the way we have chosen is less painful and has greater benefits that the roads some of my friends have chosen.
There is a political issue this year about not being afraid to say America is the best country in the world. Seems hard for some to admit that. In the same aspect, we shouldn't be afraid or intimidated to say that homeschooling IS the best way to educate our children. We KNOW it is...and if you haven't been homeschooling long enough to see the results yet, I give testimony to the fact that this was the BEST decision we made as a family.
I still have to train my heart and mind to not fall into a zone where I am comparing our day with other families and learning options. The ratio of good to bad days will always favor good days in our home.
Suffering and struggle does not mean that learning has happened. It simply means there was suffering and struggling.
Today we will have a full day of school with all subjects taught. No one will cry or have a bad attitude. There will be somethings that are not as easy for each child, but suffering? We don't do that here. I have learned to admit I made a mistake with curriculum or that I was a bad teacher and instructor that day. I try not to waste time on time wasters, and there are LOTS of them out there disguised as school work.
I bet on Sunday someone is going to ask me how school went this week. I wonder if they are looking for a companion in suffering, or of they are wanting a shining beacon of hope. I think I may be able to say "Wonderful" and not feel bad about it.


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