Tucked in at night by her husband, her four kids, and the Wasatch Mountains, Emily Bailey runs A Homeschool Unscripted. Her work is to hold the space for childhood, and be the homeschool mentor she never had.

Ice cream in the sun

More times than I can count, I've watched my child's learning evaporate in a matter of moments.  Its fate is sealed the moment I think it needs to be controlled or quantified.  And that thought comes from fear.

Fear I'm doing it wrong.

Fear I have to prove something.

Fear he'll be behind.

Fear someone close to me will disapprove.

Fear I'm not enough.

I am no stranger to fear.

I used to make it ruler.  But I see it differently now.  Fear is only a weed, and has the power I give it.

So instead of fretting, stressing, or crying when I see a weed pop up, I simply put on my gardening gloves and pull it out.

My child's learning is not my job.

I'll say it again.  My child's learning is not my job.

It's his, of course.  And he knows how to do it, all by himself, and he will if the conditions are right.

My job is just to tend the soil.  Make sure there's enough light and water for him to soak up as he pleases.  (Trying not to under- or overdo it, of course.)  Pick up litter if I find it, and throw it away.

And no matter how rampant the weeds, the process is the same.  Put on my gloves and pull each fear by the root, one at a time.

As time has gone by, I've learned to pull them sooner.  To weed every day instead of once or twice a month.  The funny thing is, I no longer dread it.  I actually enjoy it.

Because I'm hooked on growth, you see.

Learning is not manufactured.  It cannot be forced.  It can be trusted.  It can be crowded out by fear.

So tackle your own fears, and your child will grow in all the best ways.

Where I can breathe