Several weeks ago I heard these words and immediately wrote them down. Well, I swiped them into my phone. While they were being presented in an entirely different context, I couldn’t help but to apply this thought to our journey into homeschooling.
Today Shutterfly emailed me with “memories from this week five years ago”. A marketing tactic which brought me back to that statement: your life moves in the directions of your strongest thoughts.
The photo above was my memory courtesy of Shutterfly. I won’t drag you through what that photo means to me. I will just say this: in retrospect, my life did in fact move in the direction of my strongest thoughts – even when I was not consciously thinking I want to be a homeschool mama. Even when my goals and aspirations were very different then they are today. Even when my life looked like it was headed in an entirely different direction – I was moving towards my strongest thoughts. These were thoughts that took me on woodland adventures before I had little people to share those experiences with… one such adventure providing the Shutterfly memory above.
My journey from where I thought I was headed to where I was actually going has been slow, trying and at times painful. Very painful. The outcome of that journey was surprising to me – but priceless. In truth, I should have known this is where I was headed all along.
Moving from career focused to homeschooling working mama.
I’ve read several blog posts on the topic of blending homeschool and careers recently. If you are in that boat I’d encourage you to read, read, read. There so many women living that journey (and blogging about it) who will provide you with insight, encouragement and support. It’s doable!
For myself, I throw my career into overdrive at the same time I became a mother. Pregnancy hormones affected me like puberty hormones. I became an invincible wonder woman (with acne) for at least 7 out of 9 months. It seemed like there was no limit to all I could do.
During that time I not only accepted the promotion I had set my heart on, but I enrolled into an accelerated college program to advance my degree. There was nowhere to go from here but up – right?
The truth was – while that is the perfect fit for some women – it was not the direction my strongest thoughts would lead me, even when I resisted them. It wasn’t easy to turn the ship I was sailing. Even though I knew I would never be content helping my daughter follow the path of institutionalized education. Once I recalibrated myself for where I was actually headed, I found it was very difficult to transition from career to homeschool. Presently, I still work – which has helped with the transition.
Here are a few points worth mentioning from my journey so far. You may (or may not) encounter some of these situations if your strongest thoughts have led you from pantyhose and policies to home based education.
People you work with, or for, may have a hard time understanding why you would “give up” a career for home based education. But a lot of folks won’t. Either way – it’s okay. The more I let myself talk about our plan to homeschool, the more I realized a lot of people are actually supportive of homeschoolers. In fact, some mom’s surprised me by sharing their hindsight, wishing they would have homeschooled.
Here is the other thing – you are not throwing in the towel on being a professional. We can each bring our professional skills to the table to help build our homeschool communities and advocate for legislation which supports what we are doing. Rearranging your career may be forever, or it may be just for a time. Life paths are ever-changing. Opportunities will find you and your skill sets regardless of how your decision to homeschool was accepted by your boss or colleagues.
Our work is often part of our identity. Very much apart of our identity. Reshaping that identity takes time. Each person is different. It took me a year and a half to work myself through making my first career change which would help us accommodate homeschooling. (Not to mention trading in my car and refinancing our mortgage.) Its taken another year for me to be ready for the next change: working part-time. These are big changes which are not likely to happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t educate at home. My goal is to only work 12 hours a week. That’s not where we are now, but I’m not where I was either. We are progressing, in many ways. Where we are is working for the moment, even if it isn’t our ideal situation.
You may be amazing at what you do in your professional life, but becoming your child’s teacher may be your biggest challenge yet. You will both get through it. Remember your life will move in the direction of your strongest thoughts. I switched gears from policies to pre-school…and our first month of learning together reflected that transition – it was tough. I successfully managed to institutionalize the process of homeschooling the most basic of basics. That had not been my goal. Luckily, we both survived and slowly I’m winding down to the appropriate pace, with more realistic goals. We are both more likely to be smiling these days. As you will read and hear from many homeschool families – every family will find their own style or blend of styles to homeschool by. You can read, plan, prepared and anticipate all you want, but it will take a year to see what really works best in your home. You are not failing – you’re growing.
Don’t be too hard on yourself during that transition. When you are doubting your decision to homeschool seek encouragement from others homeschoolers who understand the challenges. Talk with them, read their blogs or their books. Take time to think about the successes – even if they seem small. Eventually, you will transition into this role and succeed just as you made transitions into your professional roles and found success there.
As my thoughts are now geared more so than ever towards helping my child learn and grow outside of our institutionalized system, I know my life will continue to move that direction – whatever that may look like – however it may work.