It's easy to talk about homeschooling triumphs, when our children excel and soar. Because there is the evidence that what we're doing it right. Just look at how smart they are!
And so we talk about it. A lot.
But it's much more difficult to be open when important skills just don't "click" as quickly as we'd like.
A deep silence often surrounds our struggles.
Silence in part because as parents it is not our story to tell – it's our child's story. We respect their privacy by not speaking publicly about their struggles.
And silence because sharing our truth feels raw and vulnerable.
It's hard to be honest when we feel we have fallen short.
Because what if we're doing it wrong? What if there was a better way and we turned away?
It turns out that when you break all the rules and forge your own path there is a persistent whisper in your mind asking, "Are you certain?"
The worries are constant.
And in our struggle we feel alone.
No one else is falling short. If they were, we reason, they would talk about it. (Except, like us, they don't.)
It's like cleaning up before company comes. We artificially raised the bar so that everyone thinks that everyone else is doing okay, and only we are failing.
Through our silence we build a false story as everyone dances around the simple truth that struggle is universal.
Let's shatter that silence.
Because everyone struggles along the way. Everyone.
I have long been outspoken about the idea that at home there are "no cracks to fall through". And so we make room for trust and hard work and we remind ourselves that there is no schedule we must honor except the internal schedule of each child.
And how different they are from each other! In every way. When they walked or talked or slept through the night; when they learned their multiplication tables or how to read.
I have to remind myself often: each child is different. And there is no "right" pace except their own.
And so when something big does click – something that we've been waiting for and working on and worrying about – well, it's just that much sweeter.
We've all felt it. That moment of exhale when we realize for the first time that we were holding our breath.
Homeschooling parents, you share your path with many. Your worries, your struggles, your consuming hope-meets-fear-meets-prayer that you've done it right.
Not every child is "gifted" in every subject or even at grade level in all things. Working with at your child's ideal pace is part of the freedom of schooling at home. We have the freedom to focus where our kids excel, all the while slowly chipping away at the areas where the struggle.
It's normal. It's childhood. It's learning.
And it's not a race.
Here's to trusting in the journey and marveling at all our children are capable of. And here's to every homeschooler's (and every parent's for that matter) sisyphean task of putting down that fear, day after day after day and falling backwards into trust once more.
Homeschooling parents, you've got this.
And you are not alone.