Living in the state of Maryland requires that all homeschool families present a student portfolio to show thorough instruction for the school year. Last year, I was so nervous because I didn’t know if all I had compiled for the year would be enough. One of my main “sellers” was my designed photo/yearbook full of all the hands-on activities and field trips we had done. Everything went extremely well and I left that homeschool review feeling more confident in my abilities as a Home Educator and ready to tackle the next school year!
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I am preparing for my second review for this school year. My photo book is being printed and I am gathering all my curriculum samples and materials. Everything is fine and dandy, until I go on to my Facebook page one day and click on a group I participate in for all homeschoolers in my area. Families had begun posting about their horrible review experiences with the new coordinator over the program. They shared how the reviewers were requiring/expecting more than the law required us. Fear immediately began to set in. Would all I have be “enough”? Would the reviewer tell me, like they did numerous veteran homeschoolers, that I hadn’t done what was required or that my child isn’t receiving enough instruction?
For someone with a deeply rooted fear of rejection I know my triggers. I felt my anxiety, and discomfort with these new reviewers and this entire process. For a week straight I was consumed with the thoughts of was I going to be “approved” and receive the stamp of approval for the County. I even lost sleep thinking about ways to make my portfolio better!
I challenged myself to stay away from the Facebook group page knowing that it was a huge trigger for me, but I just couldn’t! The homeschoolers in this group rallied together to begin to make changes (with the BOE) and ensure the reviews were going in line with the law for homeschoolers, but that didn’t give me enough comfort to feel at ease. I just NEEDED to know everything was going to be ok.
Then one day my husband came in to our room and sat down beside me, He said, “Ashley you have to stop all this stressing over the portfolio review. You must go in to that meeting with all confidence in the calling that God has placed on your life. All you teach and do for our children already has been approved by God. You have His stamp of approval. Just go in there with confidence and give them(the reviewer) a glimpse of what God has been doing this school year!”
When my husband said these words tears streamed down my face and it hit me! I had been worrying and afraid that Someone else would not accept or approve of what God had called me to do specifically with my children for this year. I am a teacher with God as the head of our school, so why was I acting as if someone from the County had the authority to tell me I was enough as an educator for my children! I AM ALREADY QUALIFIED!! I AM ALREADY APPROVED! I HAVE GOD”S STAMP AND SEAL! AND THAT IS ALL I NEED! After this revelation all fear ceased and worry dissipated!
We all went into the review as a family. This wasn’t planned, but I still wanted the extra support just in case the reviewer started trippin! My review this year was so quick! The lady was nice and loved what she saw, especially our photo book. I lost sleep and precious energy stressing over 10 minutes of a review! It was definitely not worth it at all!
As home educators and parents in general, we must know that we are ENOUGH for our children! We have all the tools and resources inside and at our finger tips to be the best educators for our children! We don’t need anyones approval, but God’s. Believe that, no matter what others say or check off a review form!!