Today I was invited, along with the kids, to speak to a group of moms from a local Attachment Parenting group about homeschooling. As someone who believes in the principles of Attachment Parenting, such as gentle birth, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, responsiveness, etc., it is always refreshing to enjoy the company of like-minded mamas.
It isn't surprising that APers would be attracted to the idea of homeschooling. The child-centered, trusting, nurturing environment that APers strive for often leads naturally into a desire for individualized, child-centered learning.
I enjoyed chatting with these moms about different homeschooling approaches, homeschooling reporting requirements, and homeschooling networks. But it was this provocative question that really made me stop and think:
What are the drawbacks to homeschooling?
Great question and one that I will have to think harder about, but my response about homeschooling's downside is that I think it is common for homeschooling parents, particularly ever-vigilant ones like APers, to have moments--hours even--of self-doubt. Parenting is tough work, and when you spend all day, every day with your kids it can be even tougher. But it can also be incredibly rewarding and effective if we learn to cut ourselves some slack. We can still be great parents and homeschoolers even if we sometimes get exhausted, impatient, angry, frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed.
I think more parents in general, and Attachment Parents in particular, would choose to homeschool their kids if they could see that it doesn't take perfection to parent or homeschool successfully. It takes trust in your imperfect self that you are perfectly positioned to help your children learn, and grow, and reach their full potential. You've been doing this job beautifully, thoughtfully, responsibly since your parenting journey began. You've been cultivating a warm, caring, interesting, and dynamic space for your children to learn and grow. And you can continue this important work even as your children age and their learning needs change... even when you sometimes feel exhausted, impatient, angry, frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed.
You don't have to be perfect to be perfectly suited to helping your children learn.