The following is a guest post written by Sheila Petruccelli of Sure as the World.
Usually it sneaks up on me.
It starts as an infrequent whisper and quickly progresses to an insistent echo in my head. It undercuts my plans and has me second-guessing just about everything. It casts a shadow over the good days and magnifies the bad ones.
It follows me from morning to night and even haunts my dreams.
It’s doubt: a nebulous and invasive feeling of uncertainty that makes me feel as though I’m standing in quicksand.
It happens about once every homeschooling year, and it absolutely slays me.
One would think I would be immune to these doubt-filled thoughts. I have always homeschooled my boys and wholeheartedly support homeschooling both in concept and in practice.
I have seen quantifiable results in our yearly test scores, not to mention expanded emotional and spiritual capacities that astound me.
My boys are learning, growing and thriving in ways that make me proud.
And yet …
But still …
The doubt creeps in. Having been down the doubt road several times now, I have developed some ways to confront my uncertainty.
1.Talk it out.
The talking in my head has been happening for some time: back and forth, around and around.
Saying the words aloud changes them. They lose some of their power, and I can begin to sort through the incessent chatter. Talking about my feelings of doubt with my husband, my best homeschooling friend and other sympathetic listeners helps tremendously.
2. Get a consultation.
I love my homeschooling consultant. She has homeschooled two boys through high school and still has her daughter at home. She has been there — and is still there.
When she says “I understand,” I know she really does. Her advice helps me to see these periods of questioning as normal and temporary.
3. Write it out.
Normally, I’m not a journal writer, but during these times of uncertainty, I really benefit from putting pen to paper. Writing about my fears, my hopes, my plans, my goals, and yes, most definitely, my doubts allows me to quiet my mind and listen to my heart.
4.Make a few minor adjustments.
The key words here are “few” and “minor!”
When things are feeling shaky, my instinct is to clear the slate completely and start something new — because then I will get it right.
“Waldorf not working? Let’s try Classical.”
“Rhythm and routine a bust? Let’s try unschooling!”
I wish I could say I’m being dramatic for effect here, but these radical changes have sounded very appealing at 2 o’clock in the morning.
This is the final step and the most gratifying.
I go back through all the work we have done since August. I read through all my lesson plans that I have diligently kept in a binder for just these types of occasions.
I read through old blog posts that chronicle the day-to-day aspects of our homeschooling journey.
I revisit our book lists, music lessons, handwork projects. I flip through the calendar and take note of all the plays, performances and puppet shows we have attended.
After doing this objective and thorough assessment, I am left with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. I don’t find perfection, but progression: evidence that homeschooling is a lifestyle to be embraced, not a problem to be solved.
On the other side of doubt, I am able to see our days as full, but not busy.
Yes, there is time spent in the schoolroom at the desks.
But there is also time spent in the kitchen preparing food, outside playing, on the couch reading and by ourselves just being quiet.
Silencing those voices of doubt allows me see our days holistically, with a renewed sense of appreciation for what it is we are trying to do here every day.
We are learning.
We are growing.
We are thriving — without a doubt!
How do you deal with doubt in your homeschool?