Hiking new trails is awesome. But hiking trails you’ve hiked before is awesome in a different way. We recently revisited a hike that we had done twice before, once 6 years ago, and once 4 years ago. On our first visit to Taylor Creek in the Kolob section of Zion National Park, Brett had the stomach flu. Thinking he was just car sick, and not wanting to spoil our planned weekend, we made him hike over a mile down the trail before he nearly threw up on some other hikers and we turned around. The second time was beautiful spring weather, Max and Lulu hiked like champions, and we finished the 6 mile hike, but it felt quite tough. This time, we flew down the trail, and were surprised (and disappointed) when it ended so quickly.
I felt that this was a perfect allegory for our homeschooling life. In our homeschooling life, there are so many firsts. The first child taught to read, the first child to scream “I hate math!” , the first failed curriculum choice, the first diploma, the first college application. Lucky for us, we also get to re-visit our decisions, not just on subsequent children, but on subsequent choices.
The first time you teach a child to read, it is frightening, challenging and exciting. The second child you teach to read, it is not quite as frightening, and less of your self esteem is involved. The third child, the parent has confidence that she will read at some point.
The first time you totally botch a curriculum choice is a real disaster. You mourn the money wasted, the time wasted. Sometimes you (mistakenly) try to push on through a rotten curriculum. The second bad choice, you may still mourn the money and time wasted, but hopefully recognize that throwing more good time after bad (smile) is not the way to solve the problem. Hopefully, you don’t make a third bad choice (but I have!) but if you do, you recognize and remedy it quickly.
We are in the midst of our first high school graduation and diploma writing. We’ve visited the college Brett has chosen, and felt inadequate (and too young!) to be there, and been reassured by his easy admission with his “Floyd Homeschool” transcript. It is reassuring to be in the middle and find out the end is where you thought it should be! I am already looking forward to walking this road with Eden.
Of course, not all homeschool families follow the same road we are following, but as you tread where you have gone before, take time to relax and realize the learning that you have done as a parent which allows the road to get easier.
What part of homeschooling has been easier on your second time around? Please leave me a comment below.