Kindly, Kara

kindly kara introIt’s raining, it’s pouring, and homeschoolers everywhere are adjusting to the change of season and all that it brings. Every day, month, and year brings inevitable adjustment and learning. As a home educator and a parent, I have come to understand that I must constantly learn and grow to meet the next phase with courage and strength. This means I must continuously equip myself with the tools I need. My preparation includes the right support system, self-education, and strategies. I also have discovered that weathering parenthood and homeschooling requires self-care and a massive dose of compassion for myself and my entire family.

You see, when I had my first baby, I felt equipped. I bought all the things I thought I needed, had stacks of parenting books, and more love than I imagined was possible for my new tiny human. I quickly discovered that I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing. There was no manual or crystal ball to show me the light at the end of the tunnel. I was in the thick of life with a new baby. I wish someone had told me at the very beginning that NONE of us actually know what we are doing when it comes to nurturing any unique living soul. Discovering that was a relief because I learned that there are certain things you can plan for, things that you definitely should buy, things that you don’t really need, and books that are worth reading repeatedly. I learned that community and close friends were vital. I realized that I needed to ask for help as often as possible and to accept it without shame and with gratitude. I learned that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that my love for my children is my most powerful driving force. Love cultivates courage and is a powerful propellant into and through unknown territory. That baby I brought home just turned 13, and I am once again humbled by the fact that I have no idea what I am doing, as I have never raised a thirteen-year-old before, but here we are, and time keeps marching forward. I am learning new things about myself and my children every single day.

You need to know, homeschooling parents, that we all start homeschooling from scratch, with each child, each year, each new book. It is all new. We do many of the same things that I illustrated above with my new baby. We find the things we need and don’t as time goes on. We find people to support us on the journey. We learn to ask for help. Truthfully, each step is one we have never taken before, and we are discovering how to do it as we go. No plan that we set in motion is foolproof, after all. So we must be willing to pivot, adjust and expand. With the many ways of homeschooling and parenting, there will never be a one-size-fits-all solution. You will resonate with some of what you see and hear, and some things won’t be right for you and your family. What is essential and helpful, though, is to equip yourself with a variety of tools, parent education, and resources. The good news is that these things are available to you. At Cottonwood, we are offering multiple Home Educator workshops this year that are worth attending. We are carefully crafting topics and discussions relevant to your journey. Some of these will be virtual, some in person, but all are designed to equip and support you. After all, we don’t know what we don’t know. So let’s learn together! We feel honored to be part of your homeschooling experience and are so proud of you and your children. You are doing brave and hard things daily. Keep pressing forward! You are doing great!


Kara Parkins, Parent Support Advisor