I was listening to NPR this morning as a successful musician recalled his early days. He talked about his beginnings within the context of having just released his fifth (?) successful album. He has a following now of very supportive fans.
And it made me think about how it is when many of us start homeschooling for the first time.
If you have never been a rock band “groupie,” like I was in high school (Hey there Mighty Purple!) then you may not know exactly what I am talking about, so let me explain. When a rock band (or any band) is just starting out, it is pretty bumpy.
If you are a fan, and you are friends with said musicians, you get to see the guts (working or not working) behind the scenes (the following are fictional, but pretty common examples).
You know all about the drummer they had to kick out because he was too much of a party-er, you know about the song that had so much potential, but never got beyond the first verse and you know about the prickly relationship they had with their first manager. You know about how they are aching to perform live, but no one will give them the stage and you know about that one song that finally exploded on their local music scene. If you’re friends with them, you may even see their family (and perhaps other friends) criticize them and tell them to finish high school/college and “get a real job.”
Fast forward five, ten, fifteen years and the band has probably changed their configurations a few times, finally got a van to transport their equipment and has a good following as well as a list of successful songs. People respect them for their “sound” and they have worked out most of the kinks. Even the media wants to interview them and take copious photos of them.
Homeschooling is kind of like that.
When you are in the process of considering homeschooling, you do your research and you start to gather people around you – some you will keep for the long haul and some you will dispense of at some point. Some people, family and friends included, think you are CR-AZEE for wanting to bring your kids home and educate them yourself. They say things like: “You’ll go nuts, you will get sick of one another, it’s child abuse!”
You will try one curriculum and find it’s not a match…like, AT ALL. Several years later you will laugh at yourself as you recall how you thought you knew your kids as students and how very much you still had to learn.
You will try THREE curricula, and finally settle in on one, probably the one that give you the most bang for the buck (i.e. mileage).
You will have to eliminate homeschooling as a topic of conversation with some people – because you already KNOW what they think. (i.e. “go get a job”)
Eventually you will gather around you the RIGHT people. The people who support you, who think the way you do and even if they don’t, are willing to support you through your family’s ups and downs as homeschoolers. These people are your FANS. They are your children’s FANS. Keep them!
And ultimately, you will have a small band of believers that are behind you 100 percent, even family members who are so proud of you for staying home and taking this chance (i.e. your first successful album!)
Great job mom! You’re a ROCK STAR!