They do say that necessity is the mother of invention. In the case of Frank T. Ross, his mother’s allergic reaction to traditional household cleaners inspired him to invent a new, environmentally-friendly laundry detergent, which can now claim to be Canada’s No.1 ‘natural laundry liquid’. The need for a good soap that didn’t hurt ‘mothered’ a wonderfully useful new product that is good for everyone!
How often does necessity inspire invention in your homeschool? For us, homeshooling itself has grown out of necessity. Faced with the choice between a local school that we felt offered only an average education and learning environment, and private schools that were, frankly, impossibly expensive, we turned to homeschooling as the best available alternative. It was, happily, an excellent decision. The ability to select the best curriculum, to tailor it when needed, to be available for our daughter on good and bad days, and to push ahead or slack off as needed has resulted in an education that would rival the best of schools. And in particular, being able to get enough sleep, spend free time both with and without her peers, eat healthy homemade food in a clean and pleasant environment, and to go outside to get exercise when the weather is suitable (and not when a school schedule dictates it) have all contributed to a positive and healthy childhood.
This all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Of course, there have been many ups and downs along the way. The great thing about homeschooling is that when you hit a bump in the road, you can stop to see what happened, take care of your ‘sore toe’, learn from the experience and if needed, change direction or walk on a different part of the path. The regimented school system tends to react in a more military manner – ‘Ignore the pain and carry on!’ ‘Those who stumble and fall will be left behind (unless rescued by their parents)!’ ‘Compete! Win! Compete! Win! Compete! Win!’
Have you ever run out of printer ink, and money to buy more? Unable to ‘reach’ our planned curriculum, we have branched out and found interesting and unexpected things at the library, like National Geographic movies, travel videos, books we’d never heard of and would never have thought to search for or buy online, CD’s of music from around the world (again, that we would never have chosen from experience).
Have you ever faced boredom and a lack of motivation, head-on? With practise we have learned to make the most of our freedom – to make ridiculous jokes, to jump up and down and ‘shake off the fleas’, to change our minds doing Something Completely Different, and generally to battle the academic boredom that everyone faces from time to time in a constructive manner. We have learned out of necessity to have a good laugh at least once a day, to be positive, and not to take ourselves (or our schedule) too seriously!
Have you ever faced emotions that were ‘too tough’ to handle? So many youth, and parents, hit the proverbial wall (never mind the bump in the road, the WALL I tell you!) when it comes to painful emotions. It is all too tempting to think (and I do emphasize ‘think’) that getting out the house by going to school or work will somehow fix a situation and make everyone feel better. While there is something to be said for changing the view, thus your mind, the reality when it comes to significant emotional turmoil is that there is no way out – only through. Homeschooling puts a magnifying glass on everyone’s emotional state, because there is nowhere to run off to. Out of necessity, we have learned ways to ‘clear’ out our hearts from wounds both old and new and enjoy our time both together and alone much more. Breathing, yelling (or crying) in a pillow when needed (we have named ours Mr. Pillow, and he deserves a special place in the family) and other practical methods for emotional release are a vital part of our homeschool experience, and like Mr. Ross’s soap, most definitely of benefit to everyone in the vicinity! A foul mood, like a foul smell, has a way of affecting everyone in the area.
If you’re homeschooling out of necessity, or facing unique challenges that require a creative and unusual approach in order to solve, remember Mr. Ross and his soap. Who knows how many people your ingenious solution to a problem might eventually affect? Who knows what kind of a role model you may become for other homeschooling families? Frank T. Ross started something new, and his sons continue to run his company today. It has been said that whatever we do has implications for the subsequent 7 generations – so take heart when ‘necessity’ requires ‘invention’, and remember the Ross family. Your efforts to resolve a homeschool challenge may have a bigger impact than you think!
Note: This is not a product endorsement, and I did not receive money or products in exchange for writing this post. To learn more about Nature Clean environmentally-friendly laundry soaps, click here!