The Accidental Homeschooler 6

The Accidental Homeschooler

Without rehashing a very long decision process that in retrospect seems confusing and short and slightly cloudy, it is enough to say that about this time last year our family decided to give homeschooling a shot.

The reasons are as varied as my children and as fraught as a teenager on a first date. So perhaps it is best to leave the actual reasons aside and tell the very basic truth. We homeschool because I woke up one morning and knew that’s what we were going to do. I turned to my husband and said, “You’re going to think this is crazy, because I think it’s crazy, so just listen to me without saying anything.”

As I explained my idea and how I thought it would work, I watched his face transition from incredulous to perplexed to inquisitive to plain. I asked him to think about it, and told him he would agree with me by the end of the day; I used the Force.

I never wanted to be a homeschooler. I thought that was for women with Proverbs 31 attributes, and I was absent the day those were handed out. Instead of calm, patient, quiet and blessed, I am slightly spazzy (I’ve been told). I take impatience to art-form level. Quiet is not a word I comprehend. Although when I hear it I fall in love with it. I am blessed, but my blessings are just as loud and impatient and spazzy as their mother.

I was overall satisfied with their classroom experiences. I liked their teachers and felt that they were being challenged. But. In a busy world, where kids are asked to grow up faster and faster, I wanted to slow it down. I had a sense of being on a non-stop amusement park ride, the circular kind where riders line the interior, strapped into standing positions. When the ride starts, we spin and spin and spin, until the bottom drops out and we are suspended in the air, hurtling through space, no center, no foundation, nothing beneath our feet. And is scared the … it scared me.

I felt like before they hit high school, I wanted to pull them all back to me, to put a solid center of iron love under them, so that they would know, always know, who they were and from whence they came.

As I prophesied, my husband did agree with me, to try homeschool for one year. We are half way through and I’ve managed to maintain my sanity. I think. If you see a woman in the corner dribbling saliva and mumbling to herself, just pat me on the head and move along. Some days are better than others. Some days, like Monday, I hide in the bathroom and cry for 20 minutes. Other days, I feel like a super genius for handling three classes and 12 bickering arguments like a foreign diplomat (except that I actually manage to achieve something).

It is not perfect. It is not easy. I do not always like these pupils of mine. I am deciding now about next year’s schools; I have lots of thoughts on it, none of them fully formed. But, I have seen, as I did when I learned to call myself a runner, even though I never ever ever ever wanted to be one of those, that anything worth doing is going to have a cost. I have also determined that often, the hardest things we do have the highest reward.

What hard thing are you learning to do?

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6 thoughts on “The Accidental Homeschooler

  • Katharine

    I’ve heard it said that homeschooling was far more about Mom learning to trust God than kids getting the 3 Rs. We learn humility and dependence and find out that we’re stronger than we realized. We are doing far more in this than we may ever know.

    I think that you were willing to step out in faith and try this, despite “not” being a Proverbs 31 woman is admirable and encouraging. YOU ROCK!

  • Sara Breeggemann

    I have many of these same thoughts periodically. Homeschooling, for me, would mean quitting my job, and we just can’t do that right now. Yes, I guess we could make some sacrifices but I guess we are just not willing to do that right now.

    I am currently working on 2 hard learning things. Physically, I’m re-learning how to run, in the barefoot style. Wearing my Vibrams today to get the feel of it. This is such a slow gradual process that it will take a lot for me to stick with it.

    Mentally, I’m preparing for Lent & what I would like to do to improve on myself. Hopefully it will stick long after Easter. This one will probably be harder than the running.

    Oh and, my children tell me I’m crazy all the time. I’m okay with that. Means I’m living & enjoying life, not just passivly watching it pass me by.

    • Jennifer Post author

      Sara, for me it meant a drastic change in my day to day writing habits, and I’m still not sure I have it figured out. Just when I thought I was flexible, I learned I’m not nearly as flexible as I imagined! So, I hear you on the work thing. My deadlines are sort of finessed!

      Great thoughts on preparing for Lent. That’s been on my mind, too. I find spiritual habits are often harder for me to maintain than physical or emotional ones. Barefoot running was not something I could stick with, and I did it for over 18 months. Perhaps I’ll return to it this summer, after I finish that marathon.

      Yeah. I’m crazy all right. I tell my kids I get it from them! Thanks for your loyalty and friendship, Sara.

  • Kristin T. (@kt_writes)

    This made me laugh: “I thought that was for women with Proverbs 31 attributes, and I was absent the day those were handed out.” You and me both! The main difference between us is I’m not quite crazy enough to think of home schooling my kids!

    Seriously, though I am amazed by your honesty, love, resilience, and faith through this astounding task. You know that it doesn’t have to be a perfect experience to be an important one. Peace and blessings to you.

    • Jennifer Post author

      The older I get the more I see that that lady is an impossible standard. Sometimes I really resent her. Thank you. I never ever thought this would be a choice I made or would want to make. And it does seem crazy, every single day, but mostly, we’re having fun. And, as much as I wanted it to not be, it was the thing we needed to do. So maybe it’s not so much that I’m crazier (…) but that I’m called to it, and when one is called, one goes. I sometimes go kicking and screaming, but I still go!