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?