Warning: For those contemplating homeschooling, be aware, there are side effects you may be exposed to. Proceed with caution. You HAVE been warned!
Now with that little warning out of the way…
I often say that quitting my cushy job in the insurance field was the best thing I ever did for myself, but that is short of the truth. Homeschooling my eldest was the best thing I ever did for myself. It gave me the self-esteem, the drive, and the compulsion to do more with my own life, because I saw an alternative, I realized it wasn’t too late and that my life and future were not set in stone.
I could be MORE.
In retrospect I have found that actually jumping in and beginning homeschooling my oldest was the catalyst for many other things. I had always had the inclination towards entrepreneurship and self-reliance, but slowly, for two years after we began homeschooling, everything built up, all the pressure, all the dislike of my job and hating how I was spending most of my waking life. It built up to a crescendo and I realized I wanted to be homeschooled too.
Now at 35, that wasn’t really realistic, I know. So instead, I turned to entrepreneurship. It wasn’t a straight line, it wasn’t perfectly planned or strategically mapped out. If anything, it was a series of coincidences, accidental encounters, and just some great dumb luck.
Along the way I can definitely say I have been homeschooling, actually unschooling is the term I prefer, myself. After all, folks, that is what auto-didact means.
Definition of AUTODIDACT: a self-taught person— au·to·di·dac·tic
\-dī-ˈdak-tik, -də-\ adjective
Origin of AUTODIDACTGreek autodidaktos self-taught, from aut- + didaktos taught, from didaskein to teachFirst Known Use: 1748
Partly due to simple economics, but mostly due to my newfound sense of self-esteem, I also found myself drifting towards DIY (do it yourself) and MYO (make your own) projects and concoctions. It is why I/we:
- Have thirty raised beds and over seven fruit trees in my yard.
- Make my own lotion, lip balm, and detangling spray for my little one’s hair.
- Bake my own bread
- Harvested over 200 pounds of produce from our yard last year and plan on harvesting 3x that this year
- Can and preserve our fruits and vegetables (Emily loves pickled okra, go figure!)
- We compost, recycle, conserve, and stretch our dollars in every way possible.
- Have a husband who has learned how to install fences and ponds, wire and finish out our basement, learn plumbing from a master plumber (and go on to install our new hot water heater), lay tile, convert antique dressers to raised vessel sinks, insulate homes and do I really need to go on?
These are just a few of the things we do, have done, or changed about our lives. And while we live on less than half of what we did six years ago, I am challenged to see where our lives are less.
Instead, I find we are stronger, more confident, and happier. We work at educating ourselves every day, we choose the ‘jobs’ we want and walk away from those that aren’t a good fit.
More than anything, we have learned this one important lesson…We can do, or be, or learn, whoever or whatever we wish. We CAN.
I think if I were to sum up homeschooling, I would point to that and say, that’s it, that’s the point, the sum total, the one lesson I want my child to walk away with.
Not a false sense of importance, or a pretty little diploma with tassels, or a dread of “Jeez, now I’ve got to go to college and learn for another four or more years, ugh!”
I know that my daughter will leave home someday. Perhaps headed for college, perhaps to travel the world, or get married, or start her own business or buy her own house. And when she does, she will be ready, really READY for the world outside. She will have the education, the intellect, and the deep well of strength and self-assurance.
That is what homeschooling is all about.
And…the side effects are pretty nice, too!