Today is a tough day for me mentally. I'm three days out from a homeschool review mandated by my state. My home school teaching method is generally lovely 335 days out of the year. The month before my home school review is generally a time of inner ugliness and panic on my part.
My husband and I have different viewpoints on elementary education than many Americans. He taught college Art. I went to Law School. We're weirdo intellectuals who read Russian poets for fun. On good days, I'm completely confident that we've got the teachers of young mind thing totally covered.
Then along comes my yearly homeschool review and I start feeling anxiety. Did I mention that my Mom is a Professor of Education? So her irritated voice gets in my head and I start to second guess everything I do on a daily basis for school. I think "Oh, one of my kid's pencil grip is still substandard."
I spent a lot of time online today reading new bloggers before attending my DC blogger conference this weekend. There are a lot of insightful, funny women who write blogs!
I was reminded that at Smith College, my alma mater, was founded by a rich single woman, Sophia Smith, in 1871 to make "good wives and mothers." Back then a college education wasn't open to women. My college likes to sort of brush off the "good wives and mothers" thing as a sort of quaint reminder of how far things have changed in the last 150 years. But on the days like today when I get that paralyzing self-doubt of "Am I doing enough for my kids?" it helps me to think "Wait! I was trained by the best!"
This homeschool review is a reminder of how much I use my college education on a daily basis. I taught Plato's Cave Metaphor to elementary school students this year. I first heard about that as a Gov 100 student at age 18.
I am someone who both uses and appreciates her Liberal Arts Education.
I don't like being a leader. Home schooling is not always fun project to talk about with strangers.
Reading strangers blogs on the internet reminded me that we are all individuals who are searching to serve the same amazing God in different ways. I'm encouraged to start thinking about teaching elementary school not this isolated process, but as a larger part of seeking to be an "excellent wife."
My husband and I met in a bar and had our first date at Starbucks. We're talkers, and dreamers and philosophers. We get these ideas into our heads and we like to make them happen.
Fourteen years later, we do concrete things to make our ideas real. We homeschool. We also farm, write, invent things, draw and happen to have 3 times the national average of children living inside our home.
I don't like to do home school reviews. Most likely, I will never learn to like them. However, for love of my kids, and my husband, and myself, I'll happily do a lot harder things than get official sanction from the state for our innovative Elementary School curriculum.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!