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Have you ever considered whether or not you might want to homeschool your child?
You have my permission to run away, now. Promise not to hold it against you!
The chances are strong that this post is not going to make me any friends.
My friends who are in their early days of homeschooling might read this post and tell you (or themselves) that the reason I’m saying these things is because I just didn’t “do it right”. To them, homeschooling is the answer they’ve arrived at for the very serious, very real question of how to best raise up a child. “And if she’d done it right,” they’ll think, “she wouldn’t be having these feelings.” How do I know this? Because back when I was first starting out, and I read about moms who were struggling, I told myself that very thing.
My friends who don’t homeschool will feel vindicated. “I could NEVER homeschool!”, they say, with tight smiles, while, inwardly, pictures of non-socialized, aberrant bizarro-children danced in their heads. But if they were to read this post closely, they might discover, they’re feeling vindicated for the wrong reasons.
My friends who homeschool and are moving toward the finish line in their homeschooling careers won’t thank me for pointing out the reality of their situation. In fact, they might call their doctors to finally check into the possibility of getting that antidepressant they’ve been mulling over. Or maybe just remember to call to get their prescriptions refilled. Or reach for a xanax. But if they’re extremely self-disciplined, maybe they’ll just breathe into a paper bag, while quoting scripture about not worrying about the morrow.
In other words, if you’re a mom, and you connect with what I’m saying, this could be an anxiety-provoking post.
Nevertheless, I feel a bit like Jonah, who has been given the task of delivering some less than happy news. I’ve tried to run from it. I’ve gone down to the port city and checked out the cost of the fare to Pismo Beach, but there’s a big storm in the forecast, and there’s a whale bobbing in the waves with my name on it, and I might as well go ahead and tell the truth, as I know it, in this stage of the game.
Maybe someone in Ninevah will be the better for it.
So here’s the catalyst that caused all these thoughts to finally bubble up to the surface:
The other day, a friend told me she wanted to buy some of my pre-school curriculum.
For example, for the book, “Goodnight Moon”, I drew a picture from the book of the little bunny in bed, and wrote the bible verse: “For he grants sleep to those he loves”.
I never claimed to be an artist!
Of what worth were all those hours of love and effort? No one wants these to keep. The kids barely remember them. They’re not truly special to anyone but me. To me, they bring back a flood of memories, of a wide-eyed, hopeful mom. A mom who was confident that she could raise up children who would, with their little emotional cups filled with love and their minds filled with great books, do things/be things that would change the world.
The notebooks became to me, I think, a metaphor for all that I have done, over the past 14 years, homeschooling my kids.
I showed the notebooks to my firstborn, who sort of remembered them, but mostly didn’t. He was a pre-schooler, after all. An hour or so later, he came back to my bedroom to check on me. (Probably, the fact that my nose was red and my eyes were puffy when I showed him the notebooks was a tipoff that all was not well in Mommyland.)
He said, “Mom, do you think it hasn’t had any fruit? I still have a relationship with God! I’m hoping to attend a Christian college, if I can afford it.” (Sweet, perceptive boy. Nailed it in one.)
Because I had a degree in elementary education.
Because I wanted to.
Because I thought I could teach my child to read as well as anyone else could.
Because I wanted to spend time with my kids.
The Good Things:
I haven’t been out of my jammies for almost 14 years.
The Great Things:
I’ve read GREAT books.
I’ve read GREAT books WITH my children. These have spawned more wonderful times together, more interesting dinner table conversations, more laughter, and more tears than I can count. It’s like having your own private book club, only you get to read the book together, in real time, and share your reactions and observations as you read. I miss those times more than I can say. Reading aloud was the best. It bonded me to my kids in ways I cannot even fathom.
My mind has been kept alert, active and engaged in learning, rather than stagnating.
I know my kids so well; I know their interests. I know their quirks. I know what makes them laugh. I know their struggles. I know their failings. I know what touches their hearts.
I am, quite possibly, the most attached non-attachment parent you will ever meet.
The Negative Things:
I have been out of the work force now for 18 years. Despite the fact that I possess a graduate degree, and more life experience than you can shake a stick at, I am possibly less hirable now than I have ever been at any point in my entire life. And I’ve done this to myself, by my own freely made choices.
I wouldn’t trade all these years of knowing my children better than anyone, and living life in the trenches with them, I don’t think. And for what it’s worth, they thank me for homeschooling them. They were both given the option, each year, to do something else, but neither one of them wanted to.
The love of jammie wearing runs strong in our blood.
One thing I know for sure: I am not cut out for that job. We have too much humanity floating around this house to ever be the Poster Family. (And, honestly? I often wonder what’s really going on behind some of those pristine, shiny facades that some folks seem to present.)
So be warned, all you homeschooling Mamas, who are doing it right: stick with it long enough, and these kinds of thoughts might one day be rolling around inside your pretty head.
Nah…that’ll never happen to you.
You’ll do it right. 😉
Being a mom is hard – whether you homeschool, or send your kids to public school, or private school!
I’ll bet I’m NOT the only mom who wonders about the choices she’s made.
In fact, I’d venture to say that questioning our choices comes with the territory of BEING a mom, no matter what course we have taken.
I’d love to hear from you, if you’d care to share.