It happens all-too-often: I run into a homeschooling parent that thinks the way I once did, and I cringe for days afterward. Did I truly once rate my value as a parent and a facilitator of education by how “far ahead” my children were than others? Did I truly once worry so much about how we looked?
It seems that most homeschooling parents (speaking from authority here, as I was one once) are constantly worried about how others perceive them. So, they overcompensate. They make themselves feel secure by boasting about what amazing new things their 6-year-old is learning, like long division or the fibonacci sequence. This is a dangerous pattern, though, because what happens to your sense of worth when suddenly your child is no longer interested in advanced mathematics and wants to watch clouds instead? Pressure. Pressure on the parent, to keep her child engaged in advanced math (or whatever it was she bragged about) so that she can keep this trophy held high when others doubt her efforts. Pressure on the child, to be “advanced” enough keep the parent from looking like she’s not teaching enough. Misery is the end result. Trust me.
If you find yourself panicking, and getting caught up in a moment of worry and despair that your kids aren’t learning the same things at the same time as other children, or if you worry that they don’t have enough to show for their education, consider this: What are the things, deep down, that you truly value about yourself and your life? Look into your child’s eyes and consider: who is she really? What does he actually enjoy and value? If it’s long division, fine, but if not, quit pushing. In fact, don’t push at all, because if he truly loves it, you won’t have to push. He will pursue it whole-heartedly on his own. She will fall head over heels in love with her life and her passions and with herself.
Dare to live slowly and deliberately. Dare to allow your family to love what it loves, and not worry about impressing anyone.