When I was about 11 (hundred) months pregnant with our first baby, we were sitting in a church service behind a young couple holding their sweet, 3-month old baby girl. The baby was sleeping soundly on her mother’s shoulder . . . that’s when I saw it. The Butterfly Paci. I turned to my husband and lost my mind. LOST IT. BURST into tears. We walked out the back of the church where he attempted to console me but I could tell he had NO idea why I was so devastated. I finally managed to choke out that I was hysterical because the baby in front of us had a Butterfly paci. He looked even more stricken. He really WANTED to get this, but it wasn’t happening. You see, in my head, how could I ever be a decent parent if I didn’t even know such a paci existed, let alone where to purchase one, and forget it! It was too late! We didn’t have one yet and I was due ANY DAY!!! *More tears*
If I’d understood then how much drama our wonderful girls would bring into our lives naturally, I might have tried harder to contain myself and reserve some energy. But as it stood (oh and blah blah blah, hormones etc etc), I was inconsolable. Somehow, in-spite of this epic lack, we managed to successfully raise 3 children past infancy with OUT a butterfly paci. Shocker.
I only recently remembered this ridiculous turn of events when I was reading another homeschooling mom’s blog. I do this far more than I should. I think it’s an attempt to connect with other moms in the “same boat” as me. The problem is, they aren’t in MY boat. No. They’re in their own boat – a far more seasoned, advance model, with ALL the answers (or so I tell myself). However, one of the most helpful blogs I’ve read recently (scroll down to Sat. August 11) stressed the concept of NOT trying to compare your homeschooling journey to anyone else’s (or their boat). She referenced a popular idiom from the Appalachian Trail that says to: Hike Your Own Hike. “It . . . means simply, follow your own path, in your own way, at your own pace.” I wish all blogs came with this in big CAUTION-STYLE lettering at the top of each post because I apparently need to be reminded of this. Daily.
You see, had I been reminded of this (or even known about it!) during the infamous Butterfly Paci-spotting incident, I might have been able to apply some perspective. Instead, 11 years later, I’m now attempting to apply this perspective to our homeschooling journey. Specifically with regards to curriculum. It’s no secret that I found the curriculum-selection process overwhelming, daunting, etc etc etc (insert dramatic word of choice) . . . but the reason I found it so, was because I was totally convinced that it was out there. The Butterfly Paci of curriculum! The one I WOULDN’T KNOW EXISTED until it was too late for me to choose it! And because I didn’t know about it, our kids would somehow be stunted in their educational development, or I’d be a horrible teacher or or or?
I should be clear – I’m fairly confident both of these options are still possible! However, I’m choosing to believe they are not tied to my curriculum selection and thus this phobia can only increase my prayer-life. Why? Because no matter what I select, it can be changed! I can do this because *I* am now calling the shots. I’m the mother, the teacher, the curriculum advisory committee – all me. Yes, I have help (thank GOD, I have help!), but I can do something about it if I feel it’s somehow not meeting our needs, or if I feel there is something that would serve us better. The key is to not be too quick to jump ship. a.) Because that would be expensive and b.) Because my kids might never graduate to the next grade level if I never actually finish teaching them something!
So as I comb through the internet I’m going to refrain from googling every new curriculum choice I come across in the plethora of homeschooling blogs out there. I’m going to try to remember one of the BEST pieces of advice I’ve heard along this road so far. I’m going to attempt to just HIKE MY OWN HIKE.