I Get Lost In The Details (and Other Homeschooling Confessions

I had this realization, today.

When I think about homeschooling my kids, I get excited. I think big picture. I dream. I think in terms of the life we are creating.

It’s not until I (try) to think about the details of what we are doing that I start to feel overwhelmed.

We live in a world all about the details. Of time tables and schedules. And I can fake it with the best of them. But I’ve been panicking that the jig was up – I can’t fake it with my kids. The task is too big. The stakes are too high.

It’s funny. When I was working outside of the home, I thought of myself as a details person. I know for a fact that my resume states that I am “detailed oriented.”

Ohhhhh. If only that were true.

I’ve learned so much about myself this past year. Things like – surprise!- I am in fact, NOT detail oriented, I just learned how to fake it in the professional world. I know how to appear detail oriented (the secret is creating lots of lists!). In reality, I’m the big picture thinker. I know where we are going. I know without a doubt what I want, who I am, and the direction this bus is going. I know how I feel about where we are going. But how to drive the bus? How to fill the buss with gas? How to properly maintain the bus? GAH. Kill me now. My skin is literally starting to crawl just with this hypothetical illustration.

I am not the person you want driving you around. Neither in a real bus or a hypothetical one.

I’m the person you want to dream with. The one you want to challenge you to think outside the box. I’m the one who tells you to drive your bus across country when you bought it just to take the kids to soccer practice.

You pickin up what I’m layin down?

So here is the thing. Homeschooling. Motherhood. Adulthood. I get kind of down on myself that I struggle with certain things. I get embarrassed and feel like a failure that I can’t get up early; that I can’t stick to a schedule; that I get bogged down and overwhelmed in details and don’t know where to start; that it makes me anxious to have to “plan ahead.”

Some of those things you might relate to, others not. I will tell you, I’m jealous of all you who are super energetic in the morning and can get a lot done. I’m jealous of all you who are always on time and love to live by a schedule. That feels so mature. So capable. So ADULT. I….I….that’s just not me. It’s not an excuse, it’s just not how I’m hardwired. I make schedules with the best of em, but then I forget to look at them or I get caught up in a spur of the moment excursion or I just completely SPACE. And then I start to panic and feel bad about myself because Good Merciful Heavens, I’M HOMESCHOOLING MY KIDS.

What have I done? HOW am I going to do this?

Because everyone tells you that kids need structure and kids need consistency and didn’t you know that every child whose mother sleeps past 8 AM grows up to steal cars?

Like I said. I’ve been in a state of pure panic lately, because while I’m honestly so psyched to be on this homeschooling/unschooling journey with my family, I feel so – unequipped as a mom/adult/human.

But then, I had this realization.

(And, here is the thing, and hold me gently dear reader, I’m about to say what I mean and mean what I say.)

I know that there are all these “best practices.” I know that people will tell me what we (I) need to do. But at the end of the day, God gave me these kids for a reason. He has a destiny for these kiddos that includes the special kind of training that I can give them. It won’t be orderly (heaven help me). It won’t be schedule driven. I will makes messes and be a mess sometimes. But you know what? God knew that when he gave me these kids.

I really believe that my personality, though it may be unconventional for the job, is exactly what my kids need.  And though I will struggle with the sheer amount of details the job requires, I also believe that  if my kids really needed a type-a, regimented, get up a run 10 miles before dawn type mom, then God would have given them that mom.

But instead, they got me.

And I honestly, truly believe that is by design.

So, yes, I’ve been telling everyone who has asked that I have all my paperwork done to have Theo all official for homeschooling this year. And technically, that’s true. It’s just that the paperwork hasn’t quiiiiite made it into our local superintendent’s office yet. And no, we aren’t using a curriculum. Does that make you nervous? Not me. I love it. We are going to learn in a way that suits who WE are. Our schedule might make you want to cringe, but you know what? YOUR schedule makes me want to cry all the tears. ALL THE TEARS. I’m not saying I plan on being reckless or irresponsible, but even the idea that we have this ONE STANDARD of how we teach, what we teach, and what education looks like is just absolutely baloney. We are all so wildly and wonderfully unique. For us, homeschooling is offering us the opportunity to explore, develop, and grow those unique qualities.

At the end of the day, standards and schedules and curriculum are necessary for a corporate environment. I get it. I’m not bucking that reality. I’m just saying that reality is not our reality. We are choosing something else.

And though that might make you worried or nervous for us, I’m just plain excited.And I’m incredibly grateful we get that choice. Because the only way this is going to work is if I mother my kids out of the gifts and qualities that God hardwired into my brain. And the same brain that can quote you poems and debate literary criticism and see the world in a multi dimensional way, is the same brain that sleeps in late, can’t read a watch to save her life, and thinks schedules are a form of prison.

My kids have a future hand picked for them by God. I don’t even have the power to screw it up if I wanted to. But he didn’t just pick their future, he picked me.

I share this because I know school is starting for not just us, but probably for you, too.

It can be hard to be a part of systems that run counter to your personality. It can be hard to parent kiddos with personalities that don’t work within the standard systems. And all of that makes us tell ourselves stories about “what it all means.” We tell ourselves that there must be something wrong with us or them. We tell ourselves that we must fix the character flaw. We tell ourselves that you have to operate within the system to be successful.

Friends, this post might not resonate with you at all. But if you are still hanging with me, then I’d like to leave you with a quote by a man named Jim Rohn that says, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

Do you know what that means to me? It means that group wisdom will get you a group approved, censored, and generic outcome. It will get you an outcome that is ideal for a group, not an individual. I don’t believe my kids are destined for run of the mill futures. Sure, they can become teachers, mechanics, or stay at home parents if they want. But even within those conventional confines, I want them to bring what only THEY can bring to the table. I want more for them then to just become good test takers who can stick to a schedule and one day write “detail oriented” on a resume.

I believe we could have achieved this within traditional schooling methods, but honestly, I’m so relieved that we were forced/nudged/pushed into homeschooling. Because this just makes more sense for all of us.

I hated having to be up by 7:30 every morning, anyway. (wink)

And no, before you nay-sayers get all up in my business, this is NOT about respect. I get so sick of hearing that my kids have to fit into a neat and tidy box in order to learn “respect,” because that respect doesn’t go both ways. My kids will learn about everything – including how to be wonderful, respectful, hard working humans. Doing things in a way that honors who we aren’t doesn’t make us rude or disrespectful. It makes us authentic, with a side of renegade. It creates the kind of person that doesn’t just know stuff, but then takes that knowledge and goes out and changes the world. And anyone who says that we have to follow a set of arbitrary rules that just happen to be conventional wisdom right this minute in order to be mature and successful adults…well….well…

…they can just suck it.

2 thoughts on “I Get Lost In The Details (and Other Homeschooling Confessions

  1. Awesome!! I guess this follows with the phrase, “You do you.” I’m so glad you’ve got your vibe and are rolling with it! Embrace it.
    I totally commiserate with not being truly detail-oriented, not knowing where to start, etc. Me to a T. I guess that’s why I usually identify so strongly with your writing!

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