All first time parents have some fears regarding pregnancy, birth, adoption, and/or raising their new family member(s). The news and popular pregnancy and parenting books list a plethora of imaginable complications to contribute to these concerns. Health scares, wrong medications, over parenting, under parenting, sleeping, teething, etc. The list of possible pitfalls in parenting is never ending; yet, most of us blessed with children in our home would tell you that even the worst day with our children is better than life lived without them.
Preparing to homeschool, I have encountered lots of stories and testimonies illustrating many of the challenges and drawbacks encountered by new homeschooling parents. The initial steps of reviewing legal state requirements, identifying children’s learning styles, and selecting or creating educational materials and curriculum certainly has the potential to become overwhelming. Yet, as with most first time parents who overcome initial challenges, homeschooling families are often grateful for the time that they spent homeschooling, even when they choose not to continue homeschooling in future years.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received when I was pregnant with my oldest was to go ahead and dream about all the wonderful things we would do together as a family once the little one was born. Allowing myself to imagine precious moments I would soon spend with my very own little girl made swollen ankles, late night cravings, and a constant need for the bathroom bearable. I spent lots of time envisioning my little girl dancing around the living room in a pink tutu, chasing fireflies, making cookies, and even coming home with her own family at future Christmases. The parent offering this advice recognized that I was getting bombarded with the realities of parenthood and wanted to make sure that in dealing with all of the harsh realities of new parenting, I didn’t miss out on the joy of having a new baby. Even if all of the daydreams didn’t merge into reality, they comforted me during difficult times and were quickly replaced with real life wonderful memories that I will forever treasure.
I plan to employ this same technique as a method for dealing with the initial aches and pains of being a new homeschooler. I know there will be days I’ll wish I could put the little ones on the big yellow bus and crawl back under the sheets or head off to work, but in doing so I would miss out on so many of the joys homeschooling can bring. I recognize that with any undertaking that is worth doing there will be trouble spots and challenges along the way. Daring to dream gives me glimpses of the moments that make the sacrifices and commitments inherent to parenting and homeschooling worthwhile.
What dreams do you have when you imagine the upcoming years homeschooling your children?