Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Real Life vs. Other Families' Homeschool Blogs

I am not completely happy about where we are academically at the moment. Honestly I think we are behind. Behind whom? Well, us! We could have been much further along the course I so carefully charted in Summer. So, who or what is responsible for this delay.

There are some external factors. Due to work related issues I missed 2 learning weeks in November and a chunk of December. But as inconvenient as that was, it isn't the real issue here. The real issue, I realized after much thought, lies with me. My lack of confidence in myself. I'd constantly pore over blogs of other homeschooling families to see what they were doing, learning, teaching. I am a researcher by nature.  Give me a project and I happily spend hours immersed in research. I'd read those blogs and constantly think to myself: 'they've been doing this for x number of years, I must learn from them.'

or: 'what they are doing must be better than what I was planning, let's not teach this or that until I've seen what someone else has been doing.'

And so we slipped behind where I think we could have been. Not because my kids couldn't handle the work, but because I was too afraid to not do a good enough job. Hours were spent reading educational sites and blogs to the detriment of the NOW for US!

Once I realized that it was as though a veil had been lifted. The here and now and us is far more important than the added map, graph, or other learning tool from other sites. I also learned that, at times, other homeschooling parents are quite possibly as much unsure of what they are doing, as I am. Our first year of homeschooling was with the guidance of Missy's old school. After all, this was to be a temporary situation and we intended to rejoin the school.  I used their curriculum (with the exception of science which we supplemented). We asked the classmates all the time to see what they were doing to make sure we were if not ahead at least at par. The curriculum was finished way ahead of time and we spent the remaining months reviewing.  Until a few days ago I hadn't realized how unsure I was of what I was doing. Looking back now it is apparent that what I had set out to do is just fine. There will always be someone doing something much better than I could. There will always be someone far more creative. But that's like trying to follow the Joneses. There will always be someone....

Well, guess what, there is me and there is us and that's good enough for me.

So, one of my New Year's resolutions is to stop spending so much time reading about what everybody else is doing in their homeschool and just get seriously busy 'doing' ours.

10 comments:

Amber Dusick said...

That is great advice. I've learned my lesson in that similar way with crafty blogs I follow. I wind up being so overwhelmed I don't do anything. It is absolutely best to back away from the computer and focus on what is important! I sometimes wonder how different my life would look if the internet disappeared. Would I even have the guts to homeschool or would I be more productive? Hmmmm. Might be an experiment in there somewhere.

Kay Heritage said...

I often would get discouraged when looking at other super HS families. But then I realize how different we are individually and as a family; thank God for that! Focusing on the big picture helps me: to help my children to be godly, respected, hard-working young adults! And anything else added to that would be a bonus. :) Keep going!

Eva said...

Marlis, I don't have my own computer and I can only use my husband's at certain times in the evenings. I have a fairly detailed schedule that limits computer time. I once read that spending too much time online is like gossiping. When looking at what other families are doing I quite often also feel inadequate or behind or discouraged. Then I remember a quote my grandmother once gave me: "Das Ziel nicht vergessen, den Weg nicht verlassen, den Mut nicht verlieren." (Hermann Gmeiner) All the best to YOUR homeschool journey!

Arby said...

I think the public face of homeschool is a mask. I’ve learned that homeschoolers that I have met in person and who come across as very well organized have problems behind the scenes, sometimes significant problems, which they don’t show in public. My homeschool isn’t anything like your homeschool because my homeschool reflects my personality, my children’s needs, and my wife’s ideas. It probably wouldn’t work for a great many people, but it works for us. I don't waste any more time and energy wondering if I am doing it right. I'm too busy doing it.

Arby said...

And honestly, have you read my blog? Does my life look like anything you’d want to emulate?

Marlis said...

Amber, I think having the internet and blogs has helped me a lot. It helped me gain the confidence that I can homeschool. Not that we had much of a choice but it showed me how many people do hs and hat I can do. But if you spend too much time looking at other blogs it becomes a detriment. Not only does it eat into your time but it can also start to erode your confidence.

Marlis said...

Kay, words of wisdom. Thanks so much. That's the ticket isn't it? The fact that we are all so different as families and that our children are so different too.

Marlis said...

Eva, I've been contemplating imposing a PC curfew on myself LOL. 'Das Ziel nicht vergessen', thank you for reminding me of this saying. It is very fitting for life in general, isn't it?

For you non-German speaking friends here it means:

Forget not your goal, nor stray from your path, maintain a stout heart.

Marlis said...

Arby, you did make me smile again:) You are right, everyone's personality is reflected in their homeschool. At times, alas I am not sure I like the reflection. But thankfully, things have improved since I've accepted our little school and spent an increased amount of time just doing.
It's the same thing with subscribing to magazines like Better Homes and Gardens. I keep dreaming that some day I'll have a pretty, neat, and organized home with a little flowering branch in the perfect vase on a dining table with 4 matching chairs that aren't in various stages of decrepitude. Hey, a girl can dream, right???

heathershaven said...

I too have poured over so many homeschool sites and blogs and want to do this and this and that. I want to add something, then I think well I like that even better. Why can't I do both?
Just like everyone said we are all different, so no 2 homeschool families will be alike. But we can still learn and get ideas from others.