A Homeschool Alumni’s Hope

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Every parent wants what’s best for their child(ren). They invest countless aspects of themselves and their freedoms in order to raise their offspring. It is a natural feeling to want to protect them and wish them the best, and have a grand idea of how you hope your precious children will turn out. I get it. I was raised in the homeschool movement were we were taught that we were going to be the movers and shakers once we became adults. Our parents hoped we’d be positive impacts for our future employers, in our community, and in the world. I personally was homeschooled all the way through my senior year. I am proud of being a homeschool alumni.

There comes a time, however, when we come adults. Our parents have little to no say on the person we choose to be, or how we choose to live our lives. They hope we follow the line they’ve drawn in the sand. When we don’t – we hope they understand, many times it’s not because we don’t love them anymore, it’s because we’re all individuals. We’ve found our own path. I was not the most obedient daughter, my infant nick-name “Birdie” proved to be quite apt as I was a bird – and I frequently flew off – not always in the direction my parents wished. My mom wrote this a few years back about me: “We would tell her to stick with us and she would for a while, but then would venture off again.” No, I know I’m not the person they originally hoped I would be. However, they are proud of the person I am. They’ve grown and changed just as I have. They were the ones who helped me be who I am. They had “given me the tools” for life as my parents often remarked.

The reason I’m writing this is homeschool alumni (particularly Homeschoolers Anonymous) have been raising their voice. There have been abuses that have gone on in our lives, and we do have a right to blog or post or tweet about them. I get that it’s easy to try and dismiss us – we moved out of your house a few years ago, we were children then and weren’t allowed to talk-back. It’s not, however, being disrespectful if it’s telling our story. It’s not being rebellious when we find a scandal and try to have it addressed by those who were involved. Sweeping allegations under the rug, avoiding the tough questions, or ignoring us is not how you taught us to be. You are the ones who raised us. We are adults and we have a voice. We ask you listen to us. If we express that you have harmed us in someway – apologize. Take responsibility. We want reconciliation, we want those relationships restored.

Trust me, we want to share the joys, the sunny days, the happinesses in our lives more than the storms. But we all should face those storms irregardless of whether we want to or not. Do you have the courage to help us make this a better world?

Photo credit: me

Focusing Forward

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About this time five years ago, I started a blog. It wasn’t meant for the public, however some posts were not hidden. I went through some major life changes and that blog captured snapshots of what I was thinking, reading, and doing. I am not a very consistent writer, but I do generally (eventually) get back to it. I genuinely enjoy being able to go back and read what I’ve written, what I was experiencing at that point, what I was pondering. That blog captured some very painful and sensitive moments, memories that even yesterday I wasn’t able to read out-loud to my partner because I started crying. But the one thing that I realized as I went back over a few years of scattered, random blog posts is that I was focusing forward. Like a “this sucks, but I am going to do x,y,z and tackle it”.

Reading those old posts made me proud of myself for being the person that I am. I don’t think I was realizing what I was doing while I was doing it. I think honestly I was in a survival mode: “I have to do this for myself, my sanity, and so I can put food on my table and pay my rent.” It wasn’t easy. There were definitely days I wanted to hide under my covers and not have to show my face at work that day, wanting to dwell on the past, drink hot chocolate, and binge-watch Netflix. There were days where I second-guessed my job choices, my friend choices, or whether I really should have spent those precious $4 on a Starbucks coffee.

But now looking back, focusing forward is what got me through those times. I was telling myself “Next time I’ll do it this way”, “Now I know…”, or “I have (event) coming up next week”.  It’s fine to make the next hurdle you are facing the one you put your heart and soul into, as it’s a stepping point to where you need to eventually go. Yes, my blog talked about the boyfriends I should never have dated, and the company I should have left two years sooner, but all of it got me to where I am now, and that’s good. All the positives and negatives came together as learning experiences. I’m proud of the forward looking, forward focusing “me” that I was 5 years ago that has ended up making me the person I am now. My take-away is as follows:

Sometimes you will need to weave a little bit on the forest path to come out to the waterfall, or spring, vast panorama, or sometimes just the simple unique forest flower that is just a little bit further down the trail. It’s okay, just keep focusing forward.

Photo credit: Me. 🙂 Taken in Makawao Forest Reserve, Maui, Hawaii on October 5, 2014.