People talk about thinking outside the box. I guess homeschooling falls into that category. I would go so far as to say that, by homeschooling, I am living outside the box. This doesn’t mean that every aspect of my life is outside the box. One of the main reasons I am able to spend this time with my kids is that our family has a dependable source of income from my husband’s career, which is definitely mainstream. I have no issue with mainstream. I’m not trying to escape all of what is considered normal in our society. In fact, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am the last person to break the rules or invite confrontation. I simply don’t want to be told that I can’t do something (like homeschooling) that feels so natural simply because it’s not what “everyone else” does. If I know and feel in my soul that something is right for me, and it causes no harm to anyone else, I should be able to do it. I believe this, but I still have to remind myself every now and then. After a lifetime of conditioning to follow the rules, do the “right” thing, make the smart (safe) choice, I have to make a conscious effort to think outside the box.
I hope that, through homeschooling, Ashby and Ryan will grow up with a strong sense of who they are. The mere fact that they homeschool makes them different from most kids. Some people see this as an obstacle. I see it as a plus; from the start, they are outside the box. I make every attempt to support their explorations of varied interests. Who knows what untapped strengths and passions they hold? I encourage them to take risks. I tell them that it’s okay, even natural, to be afraid. The key is not to let the fear stop them from doing what they know needs to be done. Hopefully, by the time they are adults, this will come naturally for them.
Anything is possible. I hope that Ashby and Ryan will create their own paths in life. They will own their lives. They will be so confident in their personal choices and unique abilities that they don’t wait to be told what they “should” do. When someone tells them to think outside the box, their response will be, “What box?”