Archive for home school

Trudging through Anxiety

By Guest Blogger, Carolyn Cook.

I am anxious these days.

I know from experience that the feeling will pass. Oddly enough, in parts of my life I’m having fun and feeling productive, even as I feel anxious in other areas. I’m rehearsing a play, and I always feel a generalized anxiety until I really know what I’m doing. It’s frustrating to be carrying the script in rehearsal when I want so badly to be able to cut loose and act. At the same time, it’s fun to play and experiment with my fellow actors, not tying myself to any specific performance choices too early in the process.

The rehearsal anxiety will pass, because it has to.

I have to learn the show. It has to be ready for an audience in just a couple of weeks. I can count on a sense of relief and release as I gain confidence in my performance. My schedule will become simpler when I’m not rehearsing eight hours a day, six days a week. I know I’ll breathe easier soon.

In the meantime, my anxiety spills over into other areas of my life. This always happens. I worry more about my daughter. I worry more about my aging mother. I worry that I’m not doing enough for them. I try to solve problems that can wait.  I feel guilty for all the time I”m spending away from home. It’s part of the package. I’ve learned to live with this.

And yet . . . this time there’s more.

My daughter is thirteen, and I’m struggling to learn how to parent this new individual living under my roof. I’m considering sending her to school next year (we currently home school), because I think she needs more than I can give her. I suspect that prospect scares the you-know-what out of both of us, but I can’t ignore my gut feeling that something needs to change, for her sake and for mine.

And my mother .  . .  my darling mother . . . has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, and may already be developing dementia. Our roles are reversing. We are in the process of moving her for the second time in a year. Soon she’ll be living about five minutes from me, in a nice assisted living facility. My life is probably going to change significantly, as I visit her more often and help her adjust to her new situation (both physical and mental/emotional). You know what? That scares the you-know-what out of me as well.

These are challenging situations.

Of course I’m anxious. Right now I don’t know where rehearsal anxiety ends and real-life anxiety begins. I really believe I’ll feel stronger and calmer in two short weeks, when the show opens. I’m doing everything I can to learn my part so that I can relax about something.

Mostly, I just have to let this process run its course. So that’s my risk. For the next two weeks, I am going to risk living in the moment as much as possible. I’m going to resist the temptation to make any big decisions. I’m going to risk trusting that things will work out with my daughter, with my mom, and with my work.

I’m going to risk believing that I am doing my best, and that my best is actually good enough.

And just choosing that risk, and committing to it, makes me a tiny bit less anxious.

This post first appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog, a project, which has now concluded.

 is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship. You can now read about her life and insights at her own blog here.

The Risk of Relaxing

By guest blogger, Carolyn Cook.

I’ve taken two tremendous risks in my life: starting a small business, and choosing to home school my daughter.

In both cases, I’m doing something that plenty of other people have done successfully. I have mentors to guide me, friends to support me, and a belief that the rewards will far outweigh the risks.

But I am keenly aware that there are ways each venture could fail, or at least fall short of the hopes I have for them.

Lately I’ve been worrying about the home school venture. My daughter, who is nearly 13, spent two years in school, but we’ve built the rest of her educational experiences around home, community, travel, friends, and family. She reads widely, takes interesting classes, writes well, and has hobbies ranging from aeronautics to ragtime.

Our home school, where I am more a facilitator than a teacher, involves constant negotiation. What does my daughter want to learn next? What does she need?  Having chosen to sidestep traditional schooling, how do I make sure the bases are covered while allowing her the freedom to explore what’s important to her? How do we handle inevitable areas of tension?

I realized as I was writing this blog entry that the biggest risk I could take right now – and the most rewarding – is to relax.

I worry hard about my daughter’s education because it makes me feel like I’m doing something about it. But I’m not:  I’m just worrying. The thing to do now is to stop worrying, stop believing that it’s up to me to “fix” everything.

If I can risk admitting that, I can open myself up to the possibility that life is teaching all of us what we need to know.

Carolyn Cook is a sometimes peaceful, sometimes frazzled individual who works to raise a daughter, build a marriage, and explore the human condition through theatre, art, music, history, literature, and relationship.

Note: This post originally appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded.