I am NOT a water person. Let me rephrase that, I am not a lake water person. I’ve tried for years to be comfortable in water that is murky and smells of dead fish and dirt. Boat rides, sunburn, wind and waves are not something I long for when I think of time spent outdoors. I do love the water, but I love water that is familiar, clear and predictable.
With my recent Convention planning and my husband on the road for work, we have had relatively little time together, so we decided to dedicate a special weekend to doing something fun. On what activity did my family decide? Inner tubing on the lake, of course! I reluctantly agreed to videotape from the boat with one hand while I held on for dear life with the other. Afterall, my kiddos were the ones we planned to pull behind the boat, right? What unfolded for us that afternoon was a ton of fun even though I was initially terrified by the thought of boating into strange waters.
The beginning of a new school year can sometimes look and feel like murky lake water. You may feel as if you are wading into an ocean full of debris with no clear warning of pitfalls. Perhaps your child is beginning middle school for the first time or you are faced with the daunting task of creating a high school transcript. For some this is the first year to transition from public to home school, and for other families it’s the thought of changing curriculum or trying a new teaching style.
I wish I could count the number of times I was blessed to share a cup of coffee with the mother of a new high school student, discussing the ins and outs of high school requirements or college entrance while I offered encouragement. Each time I have the opportunity to share, I thank the Lord for the moms that sat with me during my first years of teaching high school students. The most important thing to remember is that the waters of change will never be clear and predictable…and that’s ok. Be confident in your choices.
There are several ways that you can embrace the uncertainty of a new direction and still make it enjoyable for all.
- Find a mentor. Finding someone that has walked in your shoes will allow you to watch for challenges and possibly avoid them all together. Your local home school group or co-op is a wonderful place to find encouragement and support. THSC’s director of leadership support, Ashley Lawson, works tirelessly to keep our list of local support groups current on our website. Search by zip code to find a group in your area.
- Make it a team effort. One of the biggest challenges in starting something new is getting “buy in” from your children. If the change is substantial, consider taking a poll of what they think will go well and what challenges you might encounter as a team. By discussing the perceived challenges before you begin, you will be better equipped to face struggles together when they arise. This is also a great way to avoid unrealistic expectations.
- Give yourself time. One of the greatest educational decisions you will make as a parent is the choice between public school or private education like home schooling. For those who jump in with both feet without any prior knowledge of home schooling, these are quite possibly the murkiest waters you will encounter. It takes courage and faith, both in yourself and in God’s direction, to keep you afloat. Whether you are new to home schooling or it’s simply a new year, do not be discouraged. It often takes time to acclimate to a new way or stage of learning. The THSC website has lots of information for families who are new to home schooling located in a section titled “Getting Started.”
- Plan with an open-mind. College isn’t for all students, but it is beneficial for many. Preparing your student to meet their educational goals requires planning and preparation. Many students find that a gap year, a break between graduation and college, provides a valuable time of growth and experience. Learning a trade, participating in an internship or apprenticeship, or simply moving into the workforce are all wonderful post high school options as well. For those needing guidance with record keeping, THSC members have access to a complimentary high school transcript template. For more information on High School and Beyond, see the THSC website.
As the new year gets started, don’t be deterred by things that are murky or uncertain. New challenges should be embraced and used to add creativity and excitement. Every home school family experiences feelings of apprehension at some point in their journey. Be confident in the freedom you have to explore and experience new things as you continue on your home school path.
Put on your goggles, hold your nose and jump in with both feet. Let us be your life jacket!
Interested in helping to keep home school rights afloat? Join THSC today!