When the going gets tough and I want to throw in the towel, I ask myself… why am I still homeschooling?
Is it still worth doing?
Yes because I’m grateful for what homeschooling has done for us as a family.
Whoa! Let me back up for a minute. In the spirit of Thanksgiving we find ourselves proclaiming why we are thankful but are we really thankful?
I admit that I have cringed at the elated platitudes announcing “we are grateful!” for the things that strike us with wonder and awe… but I am equally guilty of proclaiming my glee over the smell of wet leaves and pumpkin pie. It makes me think we gloss over the real meaning of gratitude because we might be uncomfortable with what it really would ask of us. Are we then too busy to show gratitude?
For me, I see gratitude as the act of acknowledging our dependence on others… It is expressing or taking the time to acknowledge the ties and bonds to our community. As I look around, I am humble by the human beings around me and I realize that without gratitude we lose our humanity. We lose the connection we have with each other. Our ability to relate to each other. Our ability to trust each other. Our ability to feel safe… and our ability to make decisions.
You can’t tear down or ignore a human being and then expect them to acknowledge you with love and kindness. You can’t demand someone live a set of standards or accommodate yours… without acknowledging how much you appreciate or respect them in turn. It’s not about one-sided adoration or obedience. Gratitude is a mutually inclusive state of being. At minimum, two parties benefit from each other, and they are both touched by that experience. The giver and the receiver.
“The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach…”
Which is why I realize that I can be thankful for homeschooling but I can not show my gratitude towards it. It’s a concept, a philosophy, an ideology we practice.
That doesn’t keep me from being grateful for what homeschooling has done for us as a family. It’s has allowed us to be true to ourselves. It has created an environment where we can develop as caring individuals with the freedom to pursue specific interests. It allows them to be children, to see and experience the world in a balanced way. It has allowed us to see each other for who we really and not what others may expect of us.
It forces us to deal with each other. *ahem* Homeschooling gives us an opportunities to respect boundaries and resolve our differences.
Unfortunately no matter how much I appreciate the value homeschooling brings to us, it can not reciprocate my appreciation or adoration.
But do you know who can?
The people who develop educational materials for homeschoolers. The ones who listen to their community and answer their questions. What can I do? I can pay a fair price for their hard work. I can give honest feedback. I can offer them words of encouragement.
The homeschool co-op leaders who organize and schedule events other homeschooling families in their area want. What can I do? I can reserve our place, pay for our activities, or notified them of our attentions in a timely manner. I can volunteer to help with an event or activity. I can listen and support them the way I would want to be assisted.
The new homeschooling family. The ones who are trying to figure out how to do this or the ones looking for something different. What can we do? Not everyone is open to our experience or familiarity with a teaching material… because we have different points of views and thoughts. Which is why it can be an expensive research process. Offering the resources I no longer use or need to someone who could benefit from it, is ideal. Not everyone is able to do this. I understand. Another way to help is to consider passing on your wisdom on what did and did not work. You don’t have to wait for that new family to do something for you. At one point we were the new family and the best way to give back is by passing it forward.
My first community, my family. The ones who see me everyday. Who live with me and influence my world in a million ways. What can I do? I can provide an environment where they are not simply safe, but one where they can thrive. I can show them how to access resources in their best interests. I can pay attention to not only their educational needs but what they need as a growing individual. I can give them my attention to the details that matter to them.
The difference between being grateful and showing gratitude, is the difference in taking joy for their part in our lives and showing them the joy they bring us by being a part of our community. Instead of stopping short with thanking someone or something, we can become more aware of the various relationships we are inherently a part of!
When I think about gratitude I see it as my ability to share with others that the world doesn’t center around me. Or them. It is about understanding what the world means to us by demonstrating what the individuals that exist in it, mean to us.
Who else in our homeschooling community can benefit from our gratitude?
What are some other ways we can show gratitude?