Pioneering the Way

Do you remember when you first learned about the idea of homeschooling your children? Did it seem naturally right for you, or did you have to think about it a while, find out more information, discuss it with a few people, read a book or two and warm up to the idea first? For the majority of parents the decision probably came only after a lengthy exploration. For many it came even harder, with long nights of wondering if it was the right thing to do, heartfelt discussions with family and friends, hours of poring over books and magazines.

Why is something so obviously good for parents and children approached so cautiously and carefully? Why are we so afraid of trusting our own feelings, our own ideas, without validation from others, and often from experts?

Somehow, somewhere along the line, our basic human right to confidence in ourselves and acceptance of ourselves was jeopardized. Most of us rely on experts for everything from growing our food to filing our taxes, so it’s no wonder so many parents are anxious about homeschooling, because they have no confidence left in themselves. But making mistakes is how humans learn. Not knowing something is no reason for anxiety, it is simply a new opportunity to be seized!

Homeschooling parents come to understand and accept that there’s a sense of a shared journey, travelers’ tales on the road, instead of a leader shouting back directions to those behind. ‘This is what we do’ has a different attitude about it than ‘This is what everyone should do.’ Support groups for homeschoolers have long heralded the approach to share ideas instead of rules, encouragement instead of dictates.

Homeschoolers have always been viewed as pioneers in education and family issues, and we’ve always liked this analogy. The pioneers had to be brave, courageous and confident souls, working together, supporting each other, blazing new trails, building foundations for those who would come later. Because those courageous homeschool pioneers forged ahead, parents now have a wealth of support, and part of the adventure comes in supporting those just starting their journey. Support your local homeschool group, so they can continue to support new homeschooling families!

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