So we "officially" started school this week. Strangely enough, I wasn't met with whining or fighting about it. I certainly can't say they were THRILLED with it. Maybe they were just defeated, but I'll accept defeated, lol.
Other than the grade level change, I see no big changes for us this year. No plans to change curriculum or do things differently. Of course, I may take that back at some point throughout the year. But that's one of the benefits of having no real plan...there's no room for disappointment if I have to change something up.
It took a long time for me to be comfortable with telling others that I had no real plan for our school year. In years past, I used to feel so much shame when I talked about our homeschooling. I would be surrounded by Christian homeschooling families and would be terrified to admit that, while I am a Christian, I was looking more for a secular homeschooling curriculum. Not because I didn't want religion in our school day, but because I wanted to control when and where that religious study took place. I didn't want my curriculum to do it for me.
Besides the religious or secular debate, there was a lot of talk about "homeschooling methods." Wha huh? Method? Did waking up anxious, drinking a pot of coffee, crying with my child all day, then crying more when my husband got home from work because we had basically accomplished nothing, count as a method? If so, then I got my PhD in that particular method.
I eventually had a moment of clarity one day. I can't really explain what happened or why. But I remember deciding that I no longer NEEDED to be like the other homeschooling moms. Yes, they were fabulous. They woke up before dawn, cooked a 3 course breakfast then proceeded with 8 hours of school instruction. But my family was fine with who I was. My kids were fine with waking up about 9 most mornings and they were totally into munching pop tarts, granola bars or *ahem*...chips and salsa...for breakfast because mommy was too busy slurping coffee to open the gallon of milk for cereal.
I decided that choosing a secular curriculum didn't make me look like the spawn of Satan. I even found other spiritual families who made the same decision I did! And the method thing went right out the window when I discovered that eclectic homeschooling was a "method." Eclectic homeschooling is basically taking several different curricula, or pieces and parts of different curricula, and using what works best for your child. To me, it's also about arranging your school schedule to suit your family's needs, rather than trying to fit into the predetermined mold of another schedule.
There stopped being this incessant desire to make sure everyone thought that I was homeschooling the right way.
Why am I saying all of this? Mostly because I talk a lot and have always been more of the "epic novel" type rather than the "cliff notes" type. But also because, sometimes, things just need to be thrown out into the universe. Saying, out loud, that there doesn't have to be a wrong way or a right way to homeschool your kids is one of those things.
Every parent wants what is best for their kids. Homeschooling is no different. Find your own path. Find what works for your family. You don't have to do what other families are doing. After all, didn't your parents always ask "if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?" ;)