This is wonderful, and I was an avid reader early on of homeschooling books and blogs as we entered the realm as "accidental homeschoolers" after the first day of fifth grade when our son trudged in the door and said it was going to be the longest year of his life, then shuffled down the hall so morosely I almost wanted to cry right then.
As time marched on, I began to internalize all the reasons homeschooling was the best choice for us, and reading the words of wisdom from moms who traveled this path before us helped me to better articulate why were taking this unusual step. While these blogs named things for me, pointed out benefits to me, and helped resource me, in time I began to realize that what was happening in our home mattered more than what anyone else had to say.
Homeschooling moms and dads, have you sat down and really thought hard about why you are homeschooling? As the high school years approach, or you are knee deep in post-high school planning, are you getting so caught up in the "what we need to do" that you need to remind yourself of your "why"?
Simon Sinek is an author, speaker, and I would add a quite inspirational thinker...though we seldom tend to think of those in the business world as "inspirational thinkers". The more I listen to him and read his thoughts, the more I see someone with a sense of emotional intelligence and awareness that surpasses most in the business world today. He wrote the top selling book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. In it he points out that when we start with "what" we are doing, we do not inspire nor are we inspired, but when we start with "why" we are doing it, we actually discover that motivation wells up automatically.
I read this book several years ago, perhaps just as we started homeschooling, yet I never connected the idea of starting with "why", or even being a leader, to my homeschooling role. You know what? Today, as we have graduated one and have four more to go, I truly see the gift in understanding and regularly returning to my "why" for homeschooling. I also understand that helping my kids understand their own personal "why" is important for them as they seek out lives of meaning and future careers.
Additionally, I know that my daily explanations of "why" we are studying certain subjects has helped them "buy in" to what we are doing. This is an important one to think about: how often do you explain to your kids why they need to study certain things? Do you help them connect their daily immersion in topics now with their future? Do you help them find the benefit in their learning so they can see it matters and isn't just to "check a box" and call it done?
I could use this blog post to share all the reasons why our family decided to homeschool. Many of those reasons would have you nodding your head in agreement. But I wonder what you might say was unique to your family, what your special "why" is. I am curious if all those terrific reasons you had for electing to opt out of public education get lost on the final run toward the high school finish line and panic sets in about what everyone else is doing, or thinks you ought to be doing.
So, I am not going to waste my words here sharing my "why". I am simply going to remind you that you definitely had your own "whys", which are just as valid now as you approach graduation and
post-high school choices as they were in elementary school. Your "why", and your child's "why" matters! It is your guiding statement!!!
As you work through what post-high school life looks like for your teen, return to your "why". Each time you feel like you are somehow inferior because others are taking a different path, return to your "why". When spring comes along and next steps are being shared, and your child's might appear to others as "less brag worthy", return to your "why".
"Why" leads to the greatest satisfaction. It leads to success. It leads to where someone's sweet spot is. Just because your child's peers are attending great colleges, doesn't mean they have the slightest sense of their own "why". Hopefully, they will find it in school, and yours may find more affirmation of their own "why" in trade school or on their first job as they work toward their future.
So stop for a moment after reading this, and jot down your "why" on a Post It note. Leave it where you can see it regularly. Then...realize you are doing just fine, because your "why" is clear and it is about a lot more than "what" you are doing.