This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2.
When my mother had me, she became the first generation in our family to stop passing abuse on to her kid. And I am the second generation that’s stopped, and by the time my kids have kids, the effects of abuse will not exist.
This is what I want to tell you about being the first generation doing anything new: it is really hard. Everything that seems to come naturally to other moms does not come naturally to you. While other moms learned what to do and what works and what is never OK from their mothers, First Generationers have to figure it out.
I am a First Generationer too: the first in my family to homeschool. And like my mom trying to stop the abuse, I really don’t know what’s right. I am trying to figure it out, how to homeschool.
I was introduced to homeschooling through my aunt. She homeschooled her 2 kids and I pitied them. They had no social life, watched TV all day, and never advanced beyond an 8th grade education. My aunt never noticed where my cousins weren’t going.
So today, my cousin believes we ascended from stars and works in the pet department of a box store. His sister worked as a bartender until she was busted for selling to a minor. Now, she takes care of her brother’s kids. Maybe their problems are related to my aunt’s poor homeschooling, but there’s also a learned lesson from her about not getting proper (in this case, psychiatric) help.
A good friend proudly tells me that she would never homeschool. She explains how bad it would have been if her parents had homeschooled her, for her school was the only normal thing in her life. At the time I just agreed. But rethinking it now, it’s clear to me that if her parents hadn’t been beating her, she probably wouldn’t have felt that way. School shouldn’t be the only source of stability in any child’s life.
So somehow, despite contrarians in my family and friends, I have found myself the first generation to homeschool, going against the norm and trying to figure out things that will come more naturally to my children. I have no clue what I am doing. But learning from First Generationers who stop the abuse, and from homeschoolers who never quite succeeded, I know what I am not going to do. I’m counting on the idea that doing the opposite of what you saw fail will probably lead me to doing the right thing.