Friday, June 04, 2010

Homeschooling? Are you Crazy?

This is the first thing most people say when I tell them I've made the decision to homeschool my kids.    The follow up comment is usually something like, "Wow....good for you....but I could never do it.  No way.  Not for me.  But...really...good for you."  Then, especially if I'm talking to someone who lives in the same school district my kids would be attending, it's followed with, "Well you know the schools are really good here if you change your mind or if it doesn't work out."

Honestly, my reasons have nothing to do with lunacy, or some sort of magical powers I've been given enabling me to take on this great feat.  Nor is it in any way a condemnation of the local schools - public or private.  My reasons are personal, and simple.  I've hesitated talking about it much on here but after some discussion with Kim, and because this is going to be such a part of our lives and, therefore, our blog....we felt we should address it head on.

I love being with my kids.

I truly enjoy my kids.    They aren't perfect fact, most days they are as far from perfect as they could be.  They pitch fits.  They talk back.  They throw temper tantrums.  They argue with each other.  They mess things up.  But they are my kids and I love them more than anything.  And more than that...I like them.  I miss them when I'm not with them. I can't spend a night away from them without hearing their voice, and even when I need a break from isn't long before I ache to be with them again.

For the past year and a half I worked full time and I left them all, every morning, and didn't see them again until dinner time.  The only "quality" time I had with them was the time it took to throw some food on the table, throw them into the bathtub, throw them into bed, and then throw myself down in utter exhaustion, fatigue, and remorse.  And guilt.  And sadness.  Because no matter what I was doing all day, where I was, who I was talking to....all I could think about were my kids.  Wondering how they were doing.  What they were eating?  Were they happy?  Sad?  Lonely?  Excited?  Were they saying something funny?  Doing something great?  Or maybe something not so great that needed correction and attention?

The satisfaction I got from the high points of my career did not even come close to the sadness I felt on a constant basis being apart from my children.  Not even close.

But here's the thing....

I didn't have a choice.  I had to work.  And to me, it made being apart from my children so much more difficult because I didn't have a choice.  There were no options.  And that's how it is for most working Moms.  There are also Moms who are called to their professions and who enjoy working....and I was one of those Moms at one point too.  So I understand it from every angle.  But for me, the decision was simple when we got to a point where I did have options.

I am now at home full time and that's where I want my children.  With me.   Now that I'm home I don't want to send them away for 8-9 hours a day.  I just don't.  So there.

The Well Trained Mind

For some reason that I don't now recall, I picked up a copy of The Well Trained Mind a few years ago.  My oldest child was probably about three at the time.  I knew nothing about homeschooling....had never thought of it....had never even met anyone who homeschooled.  But I read the book, and everything in it resonated with me.   I quickly breezed through it and told my husband I wanted to look more into homeschooling.  The first thing he said was, "Homeschooling?  Are you crazy?"  (see I told you it's the first thing everyone says).    Then he said, "Why in the world would you homeschool when the schools are so good here?"  I didn't press the issue because I knew it would be years before I'd even be in a position to make such such a decision.

But I couldn't get it out of my mind.  Or heart.

After checking out The Well Trained Mind from the library numerous times, I finally decided to buy my own copy, which is now underlined, highlighted and well read because it's what I'm basing my own homeschooling on.  If you want to know more, I'll be listing my curriculum on our homeschooling page and will be talking a lot about classical education.  But for now I'll just say that this book was what started me on this path.  If you're interested, go to the library and check it out.  And you can renew it as many times as you want!


When all of my kids were in school (last year I had one in kindergarten, two in preschool and a nanny in the afternoons), it seemed that some days I could barely keep track of what everyone was doing.  Many days started before dawn trying to rouse my six-year-old from a dead sleep and starting the morning already stressed out trying to get him to hurry up and eat, hurry up and get dressed, hurry up and fix his lunch, hurry up and wait on his ride, etc.  All I did was yell at him!  HURRY UP!!!!

By the time he left the house,  my blood pressure was already elevated, and then it was time to try to get the two little ones fed, dressed, pottied, lunches fixed, snacks prepared, backpacks packed and myself dressed so we could rush out the door.  Not to mention if heaven forbid it was LETTER OF THE WEEK or some other special day when I had to send a magazine picture and canned good with one child, a bag full of "lettered" items with another child, a special t-shirt on one child for a field trip, a special snack for another child to share with his class, etc. etc. etc.  Some days I thought I was losing my mind!!!  It made me so crazy that I actually sent my four-year-old to school in her pajamas one day thinking it was PAJAMA DAY, only to find out it was the class Christmas concert instead.  She was dressed in flannel Dora pajamas with light-up slippers while her classmates were in smocked Bishop dresses and mary janes.  I think I was nominated for Mother of the Year after that....

My point is....I felt like I was riding Mo Mo the Monster every day and was yelling "I WANT TO GET OFF!  I'M ABOUT TO PUKE!"

Now that we are homeschooling....if someone doesn't feel well, they can sleep a little longer.  If it's not a good day for a field trip, we do it another day.  If someone needs to just sit in Mama's lap and be rocked for a few minutes when they wake up, we do that.  It is so nice.  So.  Nice.  No schedules.  No tardy bells.  Nothing.

Deep breath.  Ahhhhhhhhh..................

There are probably more reasons I could list, not the least of which are....we want our kids to get their values from us....we want them to bond with each other....and on and on.  Maybe I'll go into some of those later.  Let me just say that, in the couple of months we've already been at home together, I've seen an amazing bond evolve between my three children.  And life is much simpler.

And I like it.

And to those people who ask whether I'm certified to teach?  Yes, yes I am, actually.  But even if I wasn't....I'm not certified to parent either.

But I do the best I can.

Don't we all?

Like Kim...I'm a little nervous.  A little apprehensive.  Like I'm jumping off a high dive!  But I'm excited.  And plan to take it one year at a time.

Actually, one day at a time.

Join us on the homeschooling page to keep up with us on this journey!

Here we go....


Cindy said...

I admire both of you for giving it a try. I'm not so sure I could do it, but there is a huge part of me that really doesn't want to be that mother that is constantly running around to make sure my child has this, that, or the other for school, following demanding schedules, working on homework for hours, etc. School seems like it's completely different from what I remember as a child. Although, I really did enjoy the 12 hours a week she has been in preschool this year. I'm looking forward to following both of your progress over the next year and see how it works out. After all, I have another year before we hit kindergarten.

liberty said...

AMEN! To everything...and I knew we were kindred spirits..the Well trained mind is what help me jump off the high dive too! Y'all are both on My prayer's gbbs be a GREAT year!

Mary Abigail said...

VERY well said, Julie!

Staci said...

Wow - can't wait to see how everything goes. One question - what have you done to promote the bonding in your children? That is something I'd like to encourage more with my little ones!

Wendy said...

Like everything sharing the same air as a harp being played by a master resonates in me too. For better or for worse...and there is always more better than worse.