Being a homeschool mom often means people make certain assumptions about you. Some are negative but many are positive but the funny thing is that the positive assumptions can be just as damaging as the negative ones.
Why? Because the assumptions create a void where understanding and commonalities get swallowed up. If the school mom assumes that you, the homeschool mom are a crack organizer or a whiz with home cooked meals then she may not make any effort to relate to you, may cast you as an "other". After all, she can't discuss the stress of juggling soccer, dance and homework or the many ways to make a ten minutes meal out of hot dogs and canned soup with you, can she?
The assumptions also hurt those of us in the homeschooling world. I don't have my act together and often suck at being a parent but I just know all the other moms have their act together, right? I read blog and forum post full of effective cleaning schedules, kid brags and homeschool success. Must be just me that can't get my act together...Maybe I'm not cut out for this after all.
Of course, it's all bullocks. I realized that today while reading the blog of Doc, who after four kids and ages as a homeschooling mom is having doubts and regrets. We just simply don't take the brave step Doc did and let other people see where we doubt, fall down and even fail.
Here's the immense value of what Doc did: School moms may read that and realize we aren't super moms free from doubt and homeschool moms may realize that even the old hands at homeschooling can still feel the fears the newbies do. This kind of confessing and sharing may help cross the divide that Dana addresses in a most excellent post. Letting people know our faults can accomplish more in crossing divides then kid brags or lists of famous dead homeschoolers ever will.
In that spirit I have two confessions, one big and one somewhat less big.
The first should be apparent to anyone who's read my blog for any length of time. I am horribly inconsistent. I jump from gimmick to gimmick, curriculum to curriculum and even hop across styles in order to keep myself continually interested in homeschooling. I am someone who tires of interests fairly quickly and so, to fend that off I'm often switching out old approaches for new ones. Our on-the-go unit studies? Don't do them anymore. Catherine's daily work blog? I abandoned that months ago. For the sake of my dignity I should probably keep a little more quite about every Next Big Idea but I'm resolved to throwing the ideas out there knowing they're likely doomed to failure with me but may be just the thing someone else needs.
My less big confession is this:
That was supper last night. It's Hamburger Helper but not even the good stuff, just the store's cheap brand. We had frozen pizza Sunday night too.
I meal plan sometimes but the plans often fall apart. Quite often we eat food that provides over half an adult's daily sodium needs in one meal portion. I do make home cooked meals from scratch quite often but I am quite willing to cheat by grabbing a box of instant meal, heating something frozen or piling the kids in the car for deep-fried fish and chips. If I ever get on my high horse about nutrition please knock me off because I rarely buy organic anymore and consider bologna a staple.
I'm going to work on posting more about how I fail and about the negatives I recognize in my homeschooling and mothering. Not to beat myself up but if I'm going to keep blogging and presenting a certain image of myself I might as well try to make it a bit more accurate. I never know who's reading and it just might help someone reach out across the divide.