Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy
This month, we’re beginning our sixth year of homeschooling.
We’re more or less ready to begin: we have our plan in place, our curriculum ordered, our daily rhythm mostly mapped out. We’re all ready to hit the ground running, kids and parents.
That’s because the big decisions are already made.
I’m serene about our school plans now, but a few months ago I was a mess, thinking so hard about all our mix and match options for the coming year you could practically see my angsty thoughts swirling above my head.
We’re fortunate to have a good number of viable options for our children’s education. I love exploring the possibilities for what their school experience could look like, thinking through different curricula, extracurriculars, structures, and schedules.
I enjoy dreaming about the possibilities: should we travel, or block schedule, or maybe look into that new classical school down the road? Should we do more German or switch to French or change math programs? Maybe we’ll try independent study for our older kids. Maybe we’ll let them choose their own curricula this year.
I love the possibilities homeschooling offers. But choosing between them stresses me out.
Because eventually, after considering all those possibilities, a choice has to be made. We have to commit to a course of action for the next year; we have to choose just one option that is best for our family as a whole, and for each of our four kids, individually.
And I’m terrified we’ll pick the wrong one.
When it’s big-picture planning time for our homeschool, suddenly something simple like choosing a curriculum becomes a springboard to an existential crisis. “Which foreign language?” becomes “What am I even doing with my life?” or worse, “I am messing up my kids’ education for all eternity!!”
(I didn’t say it was wise to freak out like this, or something I’m proud of. I’m just saying it happens.)
It’s August. My yearly existential homeschooling crisis is safely behind me, and I have the perspective to see it’s a little crazy, if completely predictable. For me.
I haven’t learned how to avoid it altogether, but I have learned how to deal.
My coping strategies aren’t fancy or brilliant. It comes down to two things:
1. Remind myself why we’re doing this in the first place.
We chose to homeschool for good reasons.
When I remember what they are, it reassures me we’re on the right path, and helps clarify those specific decisions regarding things like curriculum and schedules.
2. My job is to make the best decisions I can, with the information I have right now.
I don’t need to be a fortune teller, predict exactly how my kids/our schedule/our jobs/and everything else will change in the coming year.
I just need to decide for right now. And to remember that we’re taking this school journey one year at a time.
Am I the only one who does an annual big-picture freak out? I’d love to hear about your own existential crises in the comments.
This post is part of our Hardest Part of my Homeschool Year series.