By Guest Contributor Whitney Cranford Crowell
My mom’s friend Jane is the kind of person who calls it like she sees it. Years ago, after a harrowing day
of wrangling her three small children, she eyed my mother with a frazzled look. “The problem with
parenting,” she sighed, “is that it’s so… daily.”
Jane, as usual, was right.
Parenthood, with all its joys, can seem like a never-ending uphill climb. Sometimes you can’t tell if you’ll
ever reach the summit, and worse, some days you can’t even know for sure that you’re making forward
progress. Will my baby ever sleep through the night? Will he ever learn to tie his shoes? Is she going to
be a moody mess for the rest of her life?
Add homeschooling to the mix, and the stakes are even higher. Now not only are you solely responsible
for turning a small human into a functioning adult, you are solely responsible for turning him into an
educated, functioning adult! (Cue scary horror movie music.) And yet, any experienced parent will also tell you that the interminable parenting pathway does, in fact, lead somewhere. Babies eventually sleep through the night, preschoolers learn to tie their shoes, and moody preteen girls grow into delightful young women. All seemingly without Mom or Dad having done anything specific.
But they did do something, didn’t they? They were there, consistently, constantly, meeting each
insignificant need as it arose, making small tweaks as needed, and trusting that each small act would
eventually add up to a sum greater than its parts. Every day, they put one foot in front of the other,
making the best decisions they could with the information at hand.
The same is true in homeschooling. While it’s easy to get bogged down in curriculum, co-ops, and the
fear of screwing up, successful homeschooling really comes down to one thing: constancy. The secret to
home education is to educate consistently. Choose a method or a program that appeals to you, and do it
every day. One subject, then the next, then the next. If something isn’t working, tweak it, then do the
new thing every day. Put one foot in front of the other and make the best decisions you can with the
information in front of you.
So don’t be afraid. You can be there for your child, day in and day out, meeting each small need as it
arises, adjusting on the fly. You’ve already been doing it since the day she was born.
Whitney Cranford Crowell knew she’d reached peak homeschooling when she bought a custom 9-foot by
6-foot bookcase with matching ladder and still didn’t have room for all the books. She lives in her
childhood home outside High Point, NC with her husband of 20 years, their 15-year-old daughter, and
their nine-year-old son.
Has your family begun homeschooling this year? How do you plan to manage the daily grind? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.