Pressure to "keep up" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 07-24-2014, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pressure to "keep up"

My views as a home educator lean towards unschooling. My DD is eight and DS just turned four. My DD is a slow reader but is progressing daily. We do reading activities, games, workbooks and visit the library frequently, for her choice of books. I just have this feeling of failure because we don't "keep on a strict schedule" and I don't know if I'm doing a good job. I have read several chapter books with her and she does do well reading with my help, but she is not an independent reader. I feel pressure from friends and family. I can see her progress, but they just want to criticize me for my choice of keeping her home. My father is the only one who is supportive, besides my husband.
DD is very mature in her communication and consideration of people and the planet. So I know I've done a good job expressing myself to her about those topics. I am constantly being told things like "she's like talking to an adult" and "wow, she's only eight." She is also an amazing artist, seriously. She can draw anything. She has taken a few art classes and she loves dance and anything to do with theater. She has a natural talent for these things.
I just get concerned with my ability to properly educate my children, even though I feel strongly about homeschooling being the only choice for us. I could take complete advantage and work during the day while my children are in school. I don't feel like children are happiest when stuck to a desk in artificial light for 7-8 hours, being made to behave and punished if they have a bad day, with little outside/active time.
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#2 of 4 Old 07-24-2014, 10:00 PM
 
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Goodness! Re-read what you wrote. It's a beautiful testament to the value and success of your unschooling.

She does well reading with help. You can see that she is progressing. She is mature, knowledgeable and considerate, both interpersonally and ecologically. She impresses people with her poise and communication skills. She's creative, talented and confident with interests and skills in the visual and performing arts. And she's happy, and you know that homeschooling is right for your family.

What could possibly be wrong here?!!

It's not that I don't understand the doubts and the demoralizing effects the naysayers can have. It's just that I think the antidote to all that negativity is right in front of you: it's your own children and the things you are observing in them. You write beautifully about the good you see in all this. You could try doing so a bit more systematically. Keep a blog or journal. Add photos. Write about the interesting things you do, the insightful comments your kids make, the progress you see, the flashes of brilliance, the "aha!" moments, the sparks of interest, the connections they've made, the little challenges that have been overcome. If you're like me just the act of observing and documenting will quell most of your doubts. And for the doubts and feelings of anxiety that swell up occasionally after you see a friend's schoolchild's third grade spelling list posted on their fridge, what I call PUPD or Periodic Unschoolers' Panic Disorder, sit down in the calm of a late evening with a cup of herbal tea and go back and re-read what you've written in the past. Look at the lovely pictures. Remind yourself how much has been done and learned since last winter or last year. It'll be a sure cure for your PUPD.

miranda

Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
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#3 of 4 Old 07-28-2014, 02:17 PM
 
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momma2Merrell- It sounds like you are doing a great job.
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#4 of 4 Old 07-30-2014, 11:14 AM
 
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I can completely understand why you feel the way you do because mainstream education does not value you and your daughter's successes. Sounds like you have an amazingly talented daughter with an artistic gift and that you are a supportive mom allowing her to follow her passions and gently helping with her struggles. I am heading the direction you are and I know I will have major attacks of doubt. Thank you for sharing and hopefully it will get easier to feel good about what you are doing!

Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
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