When I made the choice to step away from the norm with my children’s education, I knew we would be viewed as different. We became modern-day pioneers.
Anytime you chose a different path in life, we all become pioneers on the trail of the unknown. Will I succeed in my goal, will it change our lives for the better, and will it be o.k? Even if we don’t look like everyone else?
The decision to step away from traditional learning was exhilarating and frightening all at the same time. Then, as let go of a structured curriculum and created our own learning lifestyle, I felt isolated from the homeschooling community. I didn’t talk about how my boys were learning or share how it was changing our lives. I didn’t think anyone would understand.
Navigating how my child would learn best with his special needs was tough. Family members often questioned my choices and I have lost several lifelong friends who didn’t understand the methodology behind my madness. How could reading aloud every day outside make a difference in a boy’s comprehension? Why did I think nature could cure the disorders that were stealing my son? I didn’t have the answers, but I was beginning to see the results. Plowing my way on the prairie alone was tough.
People began questioning me about my approach to education when the results were obvious. Families asked how they could do the same with their children. I invited them on the trail we took on this new frontier and they started to follow. Hiding our way of life was not necessary. I didn’t have to do it alone. There were so many others looking, searching and hoping for a different way. When you find success in a method, share it with others. The reality is you are never really alone. There are more families out there looking for a change. What works for your children may be the key to success for another child too.
Following the beaten path does not always lead to the destination you are looking for. The pioneer in all of us longs for something different. You have to let go of fear and be brave enough to forge a new path. It can be scary, lonely and some days seem impossible, yet if you keep building on the new trail, beauty can be around the corner.
Homeschooling your children is a personal endeavor. It is as unique as your children and their learning style. However, there are likeminded families out there to share this journey with you. Don’t be afraid to look around your community and reach out.