Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day Anxiety

Should a homeschool mom have first day of school anxiety. As a second year homeschool parent I can say that I definitely have anxiety and it drives me crazy. The need to create 'school' plans and have some sort of routine established is deeply engrained. The fear that I will miss some key piece of information or that my children won't be able to pass a standardized test let alone get into a good college haunts me. (2nd grade and Kinder)  It is on my back, this was my decision, if my children fail I have failed.

Fear of failure. It has been my friend for so long you would think I would be comfortable telling my friend to kindly f^%$off.  The fear of getting it 'right' the first time. The fear that my best isn't good enough. The fear that all my work will be in vain and a wasted effort. The fear that even if I do my very best it will not be enough. Where in the world does this fear of failure come from? I don't have a definitive answer, but a large part of me feels like school helped create this fear.

I was good at school. I really never had a problem getting good grades and I really never had to work at it very hard. This isn't to say I am some sort of genius, just good at following directions.  I am a first child in a family with an alcoholic and a perfectionist co-dependent. I am good at picking up signs and figuring out how to keep people happy. I know how to make nice and fly under the radar, but not too far as to be a disappointment. School helped make this easy by providing the recipe for 'success' in the eyes of my parents and the general community. Get good grades, be a 'good' kid and there you go, success.

I went on to attain a masters degree in education. As a teacher I found myself overwhelmed by the number of students who didn't follow the prescription for 'success' and really didn't give two shakes about what I thought they should know or how important is was to get good grades. I was thrown off and took their disregard for an 'education' as my personal failure to reach them.  If I would work harder or present the material better I am sure these students would say 'wow, you are right, this Geometry is amazing and I can't wait to learn more and thank you for being such a great teacher'.  After two years of 'failure' as a teacher I said forget it and started looking for a new career path. One that involved helping to 'fix' the kids who were struggling so much in my classroom, there must be a way to help them find the motivation for wanting to 'learn'.

Flash forward to my second year teaching my own children. My son who is a bright capable boy with very little enthusiasm for 'school' but a lot of enthusiasm for video games, Legos, tree climbing, sword fighting, wrestling, bike riding, logic puzzles, building and taking apart stuff, and ect...  Here I go launching into my 'school year' with 'this is what the schedule looks like'... I sit down to have him read to me and he immediately goes into silent mode. What is wrong with you! Don't you realize how hard this is for me! Don't you know I am doing this for you! Is this what it is going to be like for the next 10 months! Aughhhh.... I hate school.

So, why why why  I ask myself am I doing 'school', when I know that they don't need it to be successful. When everything in me says follow your heart, learn by doing and following the passions and enthusiasms of the young.  Fail! Fail! and Fail some more!!! Learn to take risks and learn through the greatest teacher of them all FAILURE!!!!  For a successful school kid and traditionally trained teacher this is terrifying, exhilarating, and almost beyond my vision.   But, it isn't beyond my vision.  In my fear and anxiety I feel my heart calling out to trust myself, trust my intuition as an educator, as a lover of children, as a lover of the natural world, as a lover of innovation and all the possibilities that lie undetected because we are afraid to pick up the rocks and see what might be lying underneath.

So yes, a homeschool parent can have anxiety.  But anxiety can be a powerful teacher when you start to look at it's roots and dissect the growth pattern. I look forward to this year of school and the challenge of facing my fear of failure. I look forward to my children teaching me how to live more authentically and to following my heart and theirs. I look forward to peeling back the layers of 'success' to find the hidden gems of my being and sharing those passions and visions with my children.  My hope for this year is more exploration and less 'production'.

Going to India (3/14/17)

Well the travel adventure has started. I am getting ready to depart for a yoga pilgrimage to India with a group from my favorite yoga studio...