So, it’s not a family secret, but if you don’t mind leaning a little closer, I want to share something about myself that you may not know. You ready? Okay, here it is…….I….homeschool. Now, please don’t misunderstand, I am in no way ashamed of the fact that we are a homeschool family, but since I’ve started homeschooling I’ve learned that revealing that piece of information the first time I meet someone is not always the best idea.
The most common response I get when I tell someone we homeschool is, “Oh.” Now that two-letter word may not seem like much, but let me tell you, I can get a lot of information from that little reaction. Sometimes “Oh” means, “I wonder if she’s ‘homeschool weird.'” You know what “homeschool weird” is, right? No? Oh, come on. Surely some of you have heard “homeschool” and immediately thought of something like this:
Truthfully, that’s what I used to think, too. Over the years I’ve known several homeschool families and a few actually may have fit into that category. Most, however, are more like my family. When I meet another homeschooling mom, I always like to test the waters to see just where on the homeschool spectrum she fits.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a chance to get to know Tiffani from Bears and Belles through blogging and emails and the like. She homeschools and in the course of one our first email volleys we had the following exchange. My email is in pink (because it’s my blog and I get to pick the colors) and her reply is in green.
I saw in your About Me section on your blog that you homeschool. Me, too! This is my first year. I’m always curious to hear people’s homeschool stories. I think I have a wide assortment of “personalities” amongst my homeschooling friends. I’m just wondering if you’d go into the “Kind of Out There” or the “Perfectly Normal” group. Yeah, I’m just kidding again.
Well, I wear long denim and no make-up…I have a freezer full of organic products and a garden growing in the back. And a cow for the slaughter lives in the backyard as we only eat from our own resources. We are up by 7 fully clothed and reciting prayers…My children fluently speak 2 languages and are almost completely self-taught…
ARE YOU VOMITING YET????????????????????
JUST KIDDING!!! Girl, I am about as “normal and flexible” as they come…Handy Manny qualifies us for Spanish and multiculturalism and we do the Cha Cha slide for PE….I do absolutely love homeschooling and this is my fourth year….
At this moment, I knew that my next question to Tiffani would HAVE to be, “Will you please accept this rose? Heriloom variety and organically grown, of course.”
Of course “Oh” sometimes means, “She thinks she’s a better mom and Christian than I am because she homeschools and I don’t.” I can promise you, I’m certainly not judging you because you don’t homeschool. Some days I may actually envy you. Besides, unless you are physically or verbally abusing your kid in the checkout line in front of me at Target, I am not judging you as a mom. Oh, I used to judge moms all the time….before I actually had kids. Now I prefer not to shoot my fellow sister soldiers who are doing warfare in the trenches with me. Being a mom is the greatest joy of my life and it is the most difficult thing I have ever endeavored to do. And I don’t think homeschooling my kids necessarily gives me any Mom Bonus Points.
Especially on days like today when I hope I’m not failing at this homeschool thing. Today was rough. Some days I feel good about what we’ve accomplished. I find creative ways to teach difficult concepts and I actually make learning fun. Some days we finish everything I had set out to do that day and the kids still want to do more. And then there are days like today. It wasn’t our worst homeschool day but it certainly wasn’t our best. On our worst days, we all end up crying. I don’t think any of us cried today, but we didn’t get everything done and there was nothing innovative or creative about what we did do. Basically we all went through the motions….just barely.
I know that for this season I am supposed to homeschool my kids. My husband and I both arrived at this decision at almost exactly the same time. We knew that this was what we needed to do as a family, especially this year, and I haven’t doubted that decision. Will I homeschool next year? I don’t have the answer to that yet. If for some reason we don’t homeschool next year, I know that I will miss it. I’ve loved that I’ve had more of the hours of their day than anyone else. I’ve loved knowing what they’re learning and watching their brains stretch and grow and develop. I’ve loved having a say in what information they are cementing in their lives. Despite the days like today, this has been a worthwhile experience. I just want to be sensitive to what God is leading us to do next year and to be obedient to what I believe He tells us to do.
I’d love to keep talking about this, but that cow won’t feed herself. And I need to grind the wheat to bake the bread. And finish weaving the fabric for our Easter outfits. 😉