Thursday, May 31, 2012

The lure of the better

The internet can be both a blessing and a curse. I've met people who have become life-long friends, received encouragement and advice, connected with people in similar circumstances facing similar challenges. I've found ideas, tips, tricks, and information galore. I'm certain the internet has changed the face of homeschooling, and it has changed parenting in some ways as well. We have access to an unprecedented amount of information and resources and the ability to connect with other, like-minded people in a way that would have once been impossible.

The flip side of that coin, as probably any mother who spends time online will tell you, is how easy it is to be overwhelmed with everything you aren't doing; with all the possibilities, ideas, books, curricula, crafts, projects, studies, outings, programs and options. Pinterest gives you a place to store ideas and inspiration, but it can be a source of guilt; all the projects you "pin" and don't ever do. Blogs give insight to other people's lives, but mommy-blogs can be a source of competition and leave some of us with a sense of inadequacy. Homeschool blogs can provide fabulous ideas and insights into what homeschooling looks like, but they can also make you feel utterly overwhelmed with the vast array of options out there. It is easy to get lost in the pursuit of the perfect.

My life will never be picture perfect, and the logical side of me knows that the moms behind the mommy-blogs or the homeschool blogs don't have it all together all the time either - even if it looks like they do. But my logical side is not always loudest and I have my share of doubt when I look at our life, and particularly our homeschool. Am I doing this right? Is it enough? Is there something that would be better?

I already have a tendency to overthink things. And my "tendency," I mean certifiable obsession. I mull things over constantly, I research the heck out of just about anything, I make lists and charts and spend far too much time doing it. Homeschooling has brought my overthinker out with a vengeance. This is my childrens' education, for goodness sake! How could I commit to anything without first researching and weighing all possible options!

It seems like I have spent a lot of this school year settling on something - books, curriculum, or even just a "direction" - only to stumble onto something different, which I then have to track down, research, read reviews and generally make myself crazy as I try to decide what materials and resources are best. I read a blog post where they rave about some book or method, or I simply see something mentioned in passing, realize I haven't seen *that* particular product before, and I must know all about it.

I need to put a bunch of post it reminders all over my desk that remind me not to let the pursuit of the perfect ruin the achievement of the good. I don't just mean the good enough - I mean the really, truly, and in all other ways good.

The truth is, there's no perfect book. There's no perfect curriculum. And I have told myself many times that our homeschool won't look like someone else's homeschool. We won't do all the same things another family does. We won't get to everything, and there will always be shiny new curriculum or packages or methods or books that seem oh so tempting.

But I can't research everything that is out there, try as I might. And yes, I might miss something really great. But that doesn't mean that we aren't doing just fine as we are.

So in those moments, I need to just back.... away... slowly... and go make some tea.

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