It was during my husband's time in business school that I first encountered the term FOMO or the "fear of missing out"-- worrying that you're missing out on some awesome opportunity or event happening elsewhere, without you. Zach is much more prone to experiencing FOMO. Me, not so much. I worry that things won't turn out the way I want or expect them to, but I don't worry much about what I'm missing out on. That sounds almost braggy, but it's just that among my worries and anxieties, this particular one hasn't bothered me much.
But I'm realizing that FOMO is rearing its ugly head in terms of homeschooling-- I worry much more about what my kids are missing out on, especially now that I feel so much more responsible for their education. Do they miss having classmates, a steady stream of other kids their age that they see every day? Are they spending too much time at home, not exploring in "the real world" as much as they could/should be? Unschoolers often talk about how their children discovered this incredible passion sparked by a particular experience... Would they develop a love of puzzles, or coding, or electronics, or godknowswhat if only I presented it to them in the right way? Are there passions or interests that my boys will be robbed of
discovering if I don't happen to introduce them to some specific
experience, at some specific point in their development?
Like most fears, it starts sounding kinda silly when I write it out like this. I also don't want to allow fear to dictate my actions or decisions. Fear is a shitty reason to do anything (unless you're in pressing physical danger or something, I mean, by all means run away from the lion if it's chasing you).
I think this fear also gets mixed up with comparing what my kids are doing to what others (esp other home/unschoolers) are doing, which is a really terrible idea and I try my hardest not to do it but sometimes that voice just sneaks up without me realizing that's what it is. I'm working on recognizing these fears when they pop up, acknowledging them, and figuring out if it warrants action on my part, or trust. Is there more I could be doing to expose my kids to a variety of interesting things? Maybe I could plan more daytrips to cool places, get out of the house more. Maybe I could make a list of projects to try during those moments when the boys seem a bit bored, and open to my suggestions. Maybe I could try to set aside my prejudices about what are "good" vs "bad" ways to spend their time, and really see what it is they are spending their time doing, to see the value it holds for them. Maybe it is I who need to find some new, interesting things to do and learn about, as a model for them (and also because it's fun and stuff).
Sometimes the answer is trusting the process, trusting them. Looking to them-- are they happy? Are they curious? Are they excited about what they're doing? -- for guidance, rather than fears.