I have noticed critiques on my blog about spelling and/or grammar. I am aware of the fact that I make mistakes in my writing, both in grammar and spelling (especially when I am writing passionately). Don’t get me wrong, I am not bothered when someone mentions a spelling error or grammatical error, in fact, it is something I appreciate… unless they tie it together with homeschooling. Something about that connection irks me, like a little needle driving under my skin. It is like saying that, “If I make a mistake in writing I am not qualified to teach my children.” As if only perfect people can homeschool. Please tell me I am not the only one who finds this notion flawed?
Case and Point: EVERYONE makes mistakes
And I do mean everyone. The most professional of writers who write all the books we love to read make mistakes in their original manuscripts. All of which need to be proofread and edited by people that charge more than I make in a year! This is because “good writing” is mostly about a clear thought process, being able to express yourself through the written word, and more about the argument or story than the actual technicalities. Now, if said technicalities are grossly distracting, they can definitely detract from the readers’ experience on the whole. So please hear me when I say that I am not implying that grammar and spelling are useless.
It is merely that I find the innuendo that homeschoolers have to be perfect scholars, lacking. The fact is, teachers make mistakes all the time! While they may be experts in their field, they are still going to write messy or miss an apostrophe or focus more on what they are saying than their grammar here and there. We are human, we get lazy or passionate or caught up in the moment. Sometimes expressing the thought is more important than the delivery.
The crux of the matter
What it really comes down to though, the pet within the peeve for me… is the weight this puts on homeschoolers as a whole. The idea that you have to be an expert in order to homeschool your kids– it isn’t true folks. Some of my greatest joy is in learning WITH my kids, in the fact that I don’t have all the answers. I love seeing the shock on their face when they find out that mommy doesn’t know something. I feel like I can see them learning empathy, humility, gentleness, and most importantly, a sense of wonder. You see, instead of modeling a haughty “I know it all” attitude to my kids, I model a “the world is our oyster” mentality. We get excited together, we wonder together, we seek and find together. And sometimes, NOT knowing, is what inspires my children to self-direct and learn on their own accord. Because the answer wasn’t easy, they had to go searching for it… they remember it.
You see, we have made learning so easy that we have taken the fun out of it. When you go to a training session, would you rather listen to a powerpoint with all the answers just listed one after another? Or possibly you ask a question and they tell you an instant answer? OR do you learn more when you get to try something for yourself? When you get to discover the answer and find the joy and satisfaction that only comes from the work of seeking? Or maybe you ask a question and the teacher asks the question back at you, “What do you think?” THIS is true education. Education that means something because you weren’t given the answer, you had to work for it, and you received the reward. THAT kind of learning is addictive, it is fun, and THAT is what homeschooling can be!
I’m laying down my pride
Now, if you are reading this and you happened to be one of those people who commented, I honestly have no hard feelings. In fact, I appreciate the accountability, honesty, and help! Just give me the word and you can be my personal volunteer editor tomorrow (heaven knows I need all the help I can get)! I am only speaking out because of the association with homeschooling and because I have such a heart for breaking down the pressures that homeschoolers take onto themselves. I feel like this was important to address because this fear has been pervading the homeschool world. Homeschoolers worry because they face so much judgment and they are desperately trying to validate their decision both to themselves and others. I get that, I know where this fear comes from and how difficult that place of doubt can be. But I also know that that fear is ungrounded. As I have watched my inadequacies inspire my children to even greater things over the years, I have come to embrace my failings if they can help expose some of the preconceptions and unfounded fears that face the homeschool community today.
So, to all my readers who have watched my writing grow and develop over the past 2 years, thank you for your patience with me and reserving judgment. And if you have been feeling that you are not capable of teaching your children, I hope that you find freedom from that lie today! In fact, I implore you to consider that it might be the OPTIMUM learning environment for your kids!
One hot mess mama to another! Happy writing (hopefully with better grammar than me!).