“Motherhood is not meant to be done alone,” she said. As I read this in an Instagram post, it hit me like a punch. Though I do have Tony’s help and support always, the homeschool role in our family is largely my responsibility. Where we live, there is not a real homeschool mom group where I can ring up and say, “Hey, I am feeling low/unimaginative. Is anyone available to talk about new ideas for…(fill in blank here)?” Homeschool can feel isolating, and for some of us, if we need a teacher-mom pick-me-up, we don’t always have someone to call.
“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
– Christopher Robin in “Pooh’s Grand Adventure”
Feeling alone and unsupported happens. I spent the past few days lamenting my lack of homeschool-mom-friends like the beautiful ones on IG, with their planners and coffees and awesome kids. Yes, Social Media hits us all. So this morning I decided to look back in time to my own writing — advice I once gave others — for inspiration and found a post that I deeply needed to re-read TODAY. It includes an awesome Medium article by Lisa Renee which I would like to print onto pajamas and wear every night to bed.
“Let’s be awesome. Let’s rise above what used to feel like no choice.” – Goldyn Duffy
If my ‘Braver, Stronger, Smarter’ post helped me, it might help you too. So, below is the original post from 2018. I plan to search high and low for some homeschool moms and hopefully create a social group of some sort. In the meantime, Christopher Robin, Goldyn Duffy, and Lisa Renee: You were my BFF support today. Thank you, friends!
[ Re-Post: “Braver, Stronger, Smarter”]
Braver, Stronger, Smarter
[originally Published on Mar 24, 2018 at 8:43 AM by Lynne Rey ]
We have many reasons to continue our travel-school adventure, and it is important we remain aware that this is a choice. We constantly evaluate and assess our mental pro-con list, which rears up every spring when we ask ourselves, “Will we do this again next year?” Each school year is independent of the others, so there is no pressure to continue. Our commitment is to ourselves and our children only.
Academics. Of course, we worry and overthink. Are we doing enough math? Are they writing and thinking on-par with their peers? Is our science program challenging? I have to remind myself often that most every parent, everywhere, worries about their children’s education, so we are not alone.
Oliver pursuing his latest passion: the cube, while I bake our “Pi Day” apple-pear crumb pie.
Then we ask the big kahoona question, “are we doing the right thing for our kids?” …and five minutes later, they do something amazing, say something, write something that shows us without a doubt we are doing precisely the right thing. It happens like that over and over again.
We are raising self-aware, compassionate, intelligent human people. We are not scoffing at public school or competing with private school or rebuffing catholic school. We are traversing our own competent path and creating circumstances for curiosity while educating our children and ourselves at the same time.
“Training the mind to connect moments of presence together is like housebreaking a puppy. Treat it with love, celebrate the victories, go easy when it makes a mess in your house, and be persistent.” – Jess Gumkowski
I like to think of our educational path as one that quietly laces moments of presence together; connecting the dots between educational opportunities and living our lives mindfully present at the same time.
Love and patience are key. Art, science and math require open space and endless supplies. We make big messes. While the coordination and responsibility is vast, I have learned to handle it by staying focused on the big picture (and being organized helps). I have had to grow and change; to accept disheveled order, in order for our kids to thrive in their unstructured environs.
Family bond. We know our children’s strengths and weaknesses (and unfortunately, they know ours) We have a connection that is built on trust and history and travel and hard math. We are learning together in an endless universe of curiosity. If it interests us, we study it. If we can get tickets, we go there. We follow a hearty curriculum in core subjects and yet we also leave room for places we hadn’t imagined. Education should be flexible as learning is fluid, ever in motion. And it never stops. Not when you’re 18 or 51 or 75.
There are about 2.3 million home-educated students in the United States (as of spring 2016, NHERI). Parent-guided education (I consider myself “lead-learner”), whether at home or while traveling, is described as an age-old traditional education practice which was once cutting edge-alternative and is now skirting on mainstream in the U.S. Homeschooling in one way or another is considered the fastest growing mode of education in the United States, and is increasing rapidly around the world as well.
For us, boat-school takes place in the main salon, mostly. We have been fortunate to study in some pretty amazing places. It’s easy for us to be mobile, now that we have lifted the limitations of a 4-walled “schoolroom.”
I won’t lie; sometimes teaching my kids is so hard, I’m frustrated out of my mind. But we get through that day or lesson and then a little while later… they “get” not only what I was trying to convey, but then take the lesson to a whole new level. We discover something new together, unplanned. Having the luxury of time on our side makes all the difference.
The article below, written for Medium by homeschool parent Lisa Renee, is profoundly on-point. It is nice to find another writer-mom-teacher who has already been down a path similar to the one we are stumbling our way through. Once in a while, we wish for more direction, a mile-marker, anything to tell us we are going the right way, but the reality of it… is just not going to happen that way. Each homeschool is different. Each child, every family is different. So, regulating homeschoolers would cripple the ability to navigate unique paths for our children. It is the unique path which allows a child to soar in their learning; to grow, thrive and be who they are meant to be. So we (homeschool teacher-moms) must continue to share, inspire and support each other along the way. Lisa Renee’s sage advice to RELAX is a golden string that runs from her home-based teacher heart to mine.
Confidence, character, and heart. These things matter. Social aptitude in homeschooled kids is measured (see, again: NHERI.com) and on average they are typically above normal in areas of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research* includes studies of peer interaction, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem. Every homeschooled kid I have ever met is intelligent, curious and confident.
“Every moment is a choice. Every moment is filled with possibility. Every moment we have the ability to step into love. Every moment we are given a gift to be present, aware, awake, and awesome. Let’s be awesome. Let’s rise above what used to feel like no choice. Let’s rise up and show others that life can be light and fun. Let’s be us, the REAL US.” – Goldyn Duffy
*For more homeschool research and in-depth interpretation of the above named research, please, see: National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) www.nheri.org.
Goldyn Duffy and Jess Gumkowski are on a mission to create a better world. Please, please check them out at: yogitriathlete.com. Their meditation workshops are only the tip of the iceberg.
Lisa Renee writes for Medium and I am sure other places, as she is one of my new favorite writers to watch out for. Thank you Lisa, for sharing your story.