By Ellen Rowland
When we first made the decision to give homeschooling a try, I joined a few online groups and spent a lot of time reading through the conversation threads and asking questions of my own. I was desperate to know how this at-home learning thing worked and how other, more seasoned parents dealt with doubts and insecurities. But mostly, I wanted to know what I should be doing. In other words, I wanted an outline for how to educate my children outside an institutional framework. But ultimately, there was so much information and so many, many opinions – often times conflicting – that I ended up feeling more confused and overwhelmed than ever, despite the (mostly) good intentions of all who had contributed to these conversations. I simply shut down.
This information overload seemed familiar. When had I felt like this before ?
When I was pregnant with my son.
Like many first time expecting mothers, I roamed the pregnancy and childbirth section of my local bookstore in search of the perfect tome to guide me through the changes in my body and how to best take care of myself and the rapidly growing baby I was carrying. Which led to birthing advice, choices and decisions. Then there were opposing “schools” regarding feeding, sleeping, wearing, bathing, diapering, and a myriad of other care-taking subjects to face once this little person arrived. I got so much advice from doctors, friends, family and strangers that the books sat mostly untouched on my nightstand before they got shoved under the bed in favor of a vampire novel. (This was my weird pregnancy craving.)
Together, my husband and I made the big decisions about our child’s birth based on our values, habits, and lifestyle. But mostly we drew from a deep well of resolve and trust in ourselves and our abilities.
I listened eagerly to all the advice I received. For a while. Then, when I started to feel anxious and overwhelmed about which path to follow, I took a step back and began to listen to my intuition, which became more heightened as my pregnancy progressed. I sifted through it all, weighing and integrating what felt right to me and letting the rest fall away. Together, my husband and I made the big decisions about our child’s birth based on our values, habits, and lifestyle. But mostly we drew from a deep well of resolve and trust in ourselves and our abilities. And we decided that maybe we didn’t need to decide at all…that we could just be with our baby and the rest would come naturally. We continued to listen to our instincts as our two children passed through the differing stages of emotional development and physical growth, as they tested and explored the world around them.
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