Years ago, when we made the heady decision to bring our children home to educate, we didn’t foresee how difficult it would be. Had I stayed with the status quo, there would have been no parent/child conflict over academics or schedules, no sleepless nights questioning my ability to do this crazy thing, no defending my choices to others. There would have been a teacher to pick out curriculum, teach the classes, test knowledge gained, and superintend the entire process. There would have been a counselor to help my kids navigate the classes and send in school documents to colleges. It would certainly have been cheaper.
And yet, in all the years that have passed since that initial decision was made, I have never regretted the heretical move we made. The few conflicts were overshadowed by my children’s blossoming personalities, now free to develop naturally without constant pressure from others. Each of us found hidden strengths for the new tasks that faced us. We grew into our distinct selves, yet also changed in the crucible. We were called out to do hard things with little experience and discovered that we could, indeed, do them. And perhaps most importantly, our bonds of family were forged and strengthened at a time when many drift off into separate lives.
If I’ve learned anything in this life it is that easy is never rich. It can be relaxing and even fun for a while, but nitty-gritty reality and hardship cause one to go deep. Hard-won success provides a solid foundation upon which to build a life. And it is an interesting paradox that embracing uncertainty causes self-esteem to build.
Off-roading is never safe and sometimes downright scary, but the end result is an authentic life that joyfully makes decisions and is strong enough to embrace the consequences.
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