The other day, a video was posted by John Green on his VlogBrothers channel on YouTube that really caught my attention. Mr. Green is the author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns amongst others, and I often enjoy what he and his brother Hank post about. In this particular video, he discusses the idea of how people frame and edit their social media posts. They do this in order to present a certain perspective that paints a picture, but certainly not the whole picture, of their lives. This picture is one that they careful curate and edit and we all do it, often unconsciously even. Here is that video:
What I wanted to write about is how often I see this within the homeschool community and how it can really be detrimental. For example, below is a picture of our son during a field trip to a horse rescue ranch.
This is a great picture that my wife shot of Boy Wonder and his interaction with one of the horses out there. They both look like they are smiling at one another while sharing this sweet moment. Was it a sweet moment? Absolutely! Was it a big homeschooling success? Again, absolutely. Does this photo paint the whole picture of that day? Quite simply, no.
You see, it is so tempting to post a picture like this and caption it with some words or even a catchy quote that make it seem like we’ve got it all together when it comes to homeschooling. As if every day were this perfect image of domestic and educational bliss. That we never face challenges and difficulties. That photo of our son doesn’t show that this was our first field trip in months because it looks like we must do this all the time, right? It doesn’t show that he is highly averse to being dirty and that he probably rushed to wash his hands immediately after this shot.
Unfortunately, those are the pictures that we are drawn to. Those are the Instagram accounts that we follow, those are the Facebook pages that we look for and it’s just not good for us. All it does is make us feel deficient because we can’t reach that level of perfection in our own, messy, chaotic lives. That we can’t have that perfect table arrangement for dinner or that well organized homeschool room or corner. And since we can’t match those perfect photos, we feel inadequate or even like we are failing in our homeschools.
What we need to realize is, that what we are is enough. That the effort and passion and love with which we teach our kids is enough. That those snapshots that we take in our minds with kids with bedhead and perhaps only in their underwear, doing schoolwork at a kitchen table still covered in dishes, is still good enough. That those snapshots are still worthy of remembering because they are authentic. Our kids won’t remember the mess. They won’t remember the fact that most of their homeschooling wasn’t Instagram worthy. They will remember that we loved them enough to take on the task of teaching them. To sacrifice so very much to do this life. They will know that we were quite simply, enough.