Years ago I convinced my brother to go skiing with me. I had been skiing once prior to this, and I never made it off the easiest slope known as the “bunny hill”. The easier slopes provide a rope tow up the hill rather than the chair lifts used by more advanced skiers. I shared all my skiing knowledge with my brother, which took at least two minutes, then set him free to practice his new skills. As I was holding the rope tow on my way to the top of the slope again, I saw my brother about half way down the hill. As I watched, he wiped out and just flopped onto the ground. Then I noticed he wasn’t moving. In my mind, I became his rescuer. With my novice skiing skills, I pictured myself as a keg-toting Saint Bernard braving the winter cold to get to the victim of a mishap, but I was determined to reach my brother as quick as my wobbly legs and skis could carry me. I zoomed (only in my mind) down the hill toward him, and just as he managed to push himself into a crouching stand I plowed him over and took us both several feet further down the hill. Ta-dah! Have you ever been “helped” like that? Someone with good intentions directed your way but leaving you feeling bowled over? I’ve felt like that during some of my homeschooling challenges. I’ve met people who seem to find me normal enough until they find out I’m a homeschooler. At this point they helpfully question my competency and qualifications while providing me with an extensive list of topics that I must cover or my children will be permanent outcasts from educated society. This exchange concludes as I am trying to figure out which concern to respond to first and they slowly back away, shaking their heads and murmuring that they could NEVER homeschool their children. “I can’t either!” the small voice in my head replies. “What am I thinking?” Plowed over again. Other times the challenges come from my own homeschool students. I may think I have a lesson plan so exciting that even my struggling learners will flow right along with the lesson and beg for more. In my enthusiasm, I might be several minutes into an activity before I become fully aware of the blank stares of my children. Why, they actually look…(gasp!) bored with my incredibly thought out and creative lesson designed specifically to promote their love of learning. But they don’t love it! Plowed over again. When something or someone knocks you flat, get back up and don’t give up. Just as my brother cautiously got to his feet again and continued to conquer the “bunny hill” slope, and as I carefully avoided knocking him off the slope, you can’t let setbacks define you. A face plant in the snow is rough. Being re-planted by a circumstance or by someone “helping” you is also rough. But staying down is not the place to be. Rest a bit if you need to, before picking yourself up. Just don’t stay down so long that you get frostbite. No matter how many times it takes, get back up again. It will be so much better than remaining in a plowed over position. It will be worth it. I promise.