This is not a sponsored post, I did not get paid to read this book or review it, and if you go buy this book I will not see a dime of it.
But I strongly recommend all homeschoolers to read Julie Bogart’s “The Brave Learner”.
Spoiler – The Brave Learner is not the homeschooled child. It is you. The parent. But now that all disclaimers are out of the way, I’ll proceed.
In my last post I shared how I learned this school year that I needed to let go of my kid’s education. And how they actually did BETTER being educated by others than in my homeschool environment.
In all transparency, this was a huge blow to my ego! I mean, I had homeschooled them for 6 years! How could they turn on me like that? And what would that say to the other 60 students I’m offering classes to!? I felt like a failure all school year – doomed because my kids weren’t progressing the first semester now that Mom was distracted with “part-time” work, doomed because I had to outsource and pay for their education at the hands of other teachers who were clearly better at this than me.
That’s probably the Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria aspect of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder speaking. But it was still there.
The turn around point from defeat to surrender was at the IDEA Curriculum Fair when I listened to Julie Bogart. She shared how her kids loved playing video games (and I felt a little less guilty) and how she played Yu-Gi-Oh cards with her sons for years (and I felt a little more validated). By all accounts I felt like we were in the same boat – so why did I feel like a failure while she is a renowned author and speaker?
But she encouraged me with a monumental truth I can’t help but share with everyone I know – a truth I’m not plagiarizing but making my own:
If I want my kids to be sincerely happy with this very different (and valuable) form of education, I need to let go of the type of education that makes ME happy and surrender to the life that makes THEM happy.
This next school year, my kids didn’t ask me to enroll them in public school or a charter school. And they didn’t ask me to enroll them in the same classes where I work. But they did ask me for real opportunities to work independently.
They want to do math online, specifically with Time 4 Learning. They loved their preview videos and felt like they would enjoy their time doing math in this manner. I wanted to enroll them with the fabulous math teachers I work with.
They want to do Oak Meadow textbooks for middle school, working at their own pace off one book (primarily) because Sonlight was “killing their love for reading”. I have mostly happy memories of teaching with Sonlight, and they loved the books! But they resented me for pressuring them to read the books as a part of their curriculum instead of allowing them to read it out of curiosity and enjoyment.
My older two won’t even be in the classes I teach. They were more interested in the Oak Meadow materials than the subjects I would’ve covered next school year. I did not take this personally at all because at this point of the conversation, I saw the sparkle in their eyes as they ‘Ooohed’ and ‘aaaaahed’ over the textbooks that Oak Meadow brought to the convention. They are excited for next school year… I’ve homeschooled the past 6 years waiting for this moment of independent learning.
The time has come. I’m no longer the leader in my kid’s education.
Now my job is to be strong enough in my love for them to support them no matter what they choose, and to be brave enough to go on this journey being led by them (and not the other way around).