It will all be okay.
Isn’t that what we all want to hear?
I know that no matter which curriculum you choose (or not), whether or not you have the support from your family and friends, and no matter how you feel on days that just don’t work, it will all be okay.
1. We all survive.
We survive ignorance, poverty, uncertainty, education, struggles, hardships, wealth, and abundance. Illnesses, accidents, and old age can kill you, but the others are learning experiences- for good or bad; they’re life’s lessons. Some lessons we learn, some repeat in a multitude of ways until we learn, and some we will never learn. In the meantime, we’ll survive. We’ll go on to have a good life.
2. Struggle is good.
Jo Boaler convinced my child that hard is good. Sure, I’d been saying it all of his life (and to 100s of former students and their parents throughout the years), but he’s finally catching on. I’m not saying he enjoys the struggles, but he understands how it works. Hard is good. Struggle becomes easier when we begin to find joy. People have found joy after life-threatening situations. People have found joy in terminal illnesses. I’m not saying those are good ways to find joy, but struggle is learning.
Carol Dweck (of Mindset fame) backs me up too. Have you ever struggled to learn ____? If you kept at it for any length of time, neurons fired, your brain lit up and neural pathways were strengthened. Your brain had to work to learn. Give yourself a boring worksheet of 100 simple addition problems and hopefully you’ll go out of your mind with boredom. No light-up brain (or very little). No dopamine high. No pleasure center. Nada. Struggle makes us grow. Growth is good.
3. Learning happens.
Learning happens whether there’s a teacher or not. So much of it is self-directed or just happenstance. Where did you learn to cook? Trial and error, a great cooking show, or from the best chefs in Europe? Most of us just struggle through learning tricks along the way. Some of us never quite learn how to cook. Have you ever fixed ______? Did someone guide you through step-by-step, or did you take a chance, buy a tool and turn a screw? Experimentation. Whether you’re Einstein, Malala, or just you, learning happens to everyone.
4.We can’t control the minds of others- even our children, for long.
Nazi concentration camp survivors realized that others can influence us (for good or evil), but we really do have a choice in how our minds perceive the world around us. You may influence your child’s actions (in varying degrees) while he’s young, but you won’t always be able to do it. Everyone makes his own choices. That can be frustrating as a parent, but it’s also liberating. As parents, we can only do so much. The rest is up to our child.
5. No one has the answers.
Education is full of self-directed, Montessori, Classical, traditional, untraditional, STEM, constructivist, unschooled, Charlotte Mason, Howard Gardner learners. It’s actually quite hilarious, if you think about it. Each of us believes our own learning approach is best. If it was THE BEST, we’d all be doing it. It’s all guess and check, theory and research, trial and error, celebrity and common sense and it all works-for someone. We’re all different and yet learning happens for all of us-in our own ways on our own terms.
While we’re here on earth, we need to take advantage of the time we have and try not to worry so much because it will all be okay.