I'm Giving Up

June 11, 2020

I'm giving up.

No, not homeschooling. πŸ˜œ

I'm giving up this trap that we all seem to fall into... of making our lives look perfect online. Pretty Instagram posts, bragging about our kids' achievements on FB, writing blog posts that look like life is always put together and photo-worthy.

We all know that's not true. We do. 

We know that social media is a highlight reel, and bears no resemblance to everyday life.

But yet.

But yet we all fall prey to the comparisons, the critical thoughts about ourselves (or jealous thoughts of others). So I'm giving up that trying-too-hard, perfectionistic, over-researching, anxiety-ridden way of walking through life and homeschooling.

So, I'm giving up perfectionism.

Real life: my kitchen table is almost always full of stuff. I have a desk, but it makes my wrists hurt because it's not at the right height. So my laptop is always here, surrounded by bills, paperwork, and last week's science camp supplies. This is a good day, actually.

I'm one of those people that always wants to do things the right way. I'm a rule follower. Give me a checklist and a pen and I'll charge ahead. I'm not an experimenter. Trying things without a plan is not how I operate. I have no idea if this is in my nature, or if it was the way I internalized how life works from my upbringing. Maybe a bit of both?

At any rate, re-starting this blog has just been another example of perfectionism in my own life. Instead of just writing about our lives and our experiences homeschooling (which is what I really wanted to read when I was researching homeschooling), I did all of this:

  • bought a course on blogging
  • watched approximately half of it
  • spent hours learning how to do keyword research
  • hired a blog designer  (worth it!)
  • went back to the blogging course
  • researched how to do blog photography
  • thought about my 'ideal blog reader'
  • continue ad nauseum
The truth is, I didn't feel confident that I could just go for it and learn as I went along. I had to have someone else teach me.

My daughter, on the other hand, has no problem trying things and experimenting. She'll watch a few YouTube videos to get ideas, but then she'll just go for it. And pretty often, she's successful. When she's not, she either decides she experimented enough, or we find some more information to make another attempt.

Today, she wanted to make fluffy pancakes she saw one of her favorite YouTubers make. There wasn't a precise recipe: the YouTuber was guessing off of a TikTok video she had seen!

So we watched the video together, and wrote down her list of ingredients. We got halfway through and realized that batter was WAY too thick, and had to quadruple the milk.

Medium heat was much too hot on our stove. We had to turn the heat to 2 and set timers for each side - thanks, Alexa. (Did you know Alexa has a pretty entertaining Twitter account?)

Whipping those egg whites!

Result? Yummy fluffy pancakes, and at the same time she developed her own recipe. I told her I'd be happy to help her put together her own recipe book as she tries things in the kitchen, and perhaps it could be a Christmas present for relatives. She was excited!

Perfecting the flipping technique

When you are distracted while she pours the syrup...

So what did we learn?

In homeschool land, this experience isn't just "home economics" or learning to cook. Here are some of the discoveries we had today:

  • We both liked the video production of this YouTuber. She didn't make us wait the entire time the egg whites beat. She was upbeat and funny. 
  • We learned that really successful YouTubers have a team helping them.
  • Why you can't have any yolk in the egg whites, or they won't beat into meringue (tons of science in the comments here)
  • Conversion of tablespoons to cups (math word problem!)
  • How to "fold" egg whites into batter
  • Mom getting reminded that just winging it is fun!
So you can see that this one, 45-minute experience had a wide range of learning happening, as well as real-life stuff (cleaning the kitchen) and of course, the time spent doing something fun together! We had science - my little science lover loved learning about why the yolks interfere; we did some math; we talked about video production and even the way the YouTuber did her makeup and the clothes she wore (all black, which helps you see what she's doing).

In school, a child might have an assignment on video production; or a chemistry lesson about the different types of proteins in egg whites; or some math word problems with a cooking theme. The subjects are separated, and in most cases are mostly reading/written work versus experiential learning - as is practical in a classroom with 25 students.

It's precisely that combining of subjects, and the infusion with real-life application, that makes homeschooling so magical. B will remember that 8 tablespoons of milk is equal to half a cup... we added that milk 2 tablespoons at a time and then had to cross of the original measurement we wrote down to change it. She'll remember about the yolks and the whites and the science because we had to turn the first try into scrambled eggs when some yolk got in the bowl of whites.

B knows now that when YouTubers want to produce really good videos, it takes a lot of work - and those people with a ton of views have helpers running the camera and doing editing. 

Best of all, we both have a wonderful memory of the first time we made fluffy pancakes together. And I'm all about the relationship and the memories.

But that looks pretty perfect there, Kim...

Ha! I know. Perfect homeschool moment, yes?

Well, here's what the pictures don't show:

  • I didn't want to make pancakes, especially complicated ones
  • My daughter loves baking and the kitchen is the last place I want to be
  • I got frustrated with the yolk in the egg white, prompting apologies
  • Then I had to backtrack my frustration and explain that experiments always have failures, no apologies were needed
  • After the pancakes came a lot of YouTube and video gaming 
  • Pajamas are a way of life for my daughter
There is no perfection. Not anywhere. Not in anyone's homeschool.

Here's to real life, real friendships, real kindness.

Do you struggle with perfectionism, too? Let's talk about it in the comments.

Hi! I’m Kim. I love crafting, homeschooling, and being near the ocean. I also love encouraging moms to make the leap into home education, sharing awesome resources and tons of encouragement!


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