Confession #2: I often question myself, struggle with feelings of inadequacy, and my real reason *why* I homeschool is not what you’d expect.
As a homeschool family who likes to venture out during the day, there is one question we hear a lot. “Why aren’t you in school?” And when my older children promptly reply “We homeschool”, we’ve received all kinds of reactions. Some positive, some negative.
There is one reaction, however, that always gets me thinking. The reaction that poses the question, “do you have your teaching degree?”. Upon hearing me answer “no” they ask “how do you know what to teach?”, which marks the beginning of a lengthier Q & A dialogue.
I enjoy informing people of the homeschool option and how it’s really not you, just floundering out there, all by yourself. How there really is a great deal of support out there, if you reach out. And how yeah, there’s a learning curve, but anyone truly can do it if they feel that’s what’s best for their family.
*What’s best for your family* is the phrase many often get caught up on. Education, is a very personal choice, for each family and there are an amazing amount of *why’s* out there. Private, public, homeschool… and within each choice is a huge array of other options… all personal choices… and all with what’s best for their family, and their child, in mind.
A common phrase I hear during our Q & A dialogue is “why don’t you put your kids in public school”, which is usually followed by the assumption, that, homeschool families feel that the education they provide at home is far superior than what the public school can provide, being articulated in some fashion. While that may be true for some homeschool families it is absolutely NOT TRUE for our family.
Whenever those assumptions are uttered out of lips my mind fills with *if you only knew* thoughts.
If you only knew how many times I’ve been overwhelmed with the feeling of inadequacy.
If you only knew that I spent the first three years homeschooling not thinking I was doing enough, and the next two years realizing I was doing way too much.
If you only knew that it took me 5 years of homeschooling to really enjoy it as a parent/teacher.
If you only knew that my driving force behind homeschool wasn’t education at all, but rather, just being with my children… and the *schooling* is a requirement I have to meet to have the luxury of being with them.
If you only knew that every time I drive by a public/private school:
- I question whether I made the right choice,
- I wonder what they are learning and if we’ve covered that material,
- I question whether I am doing the best I can.
All of these thoughts are bathed in prayer as I return to my own *why*… That school, for us, is much more than math, science, language, social studies, etc… In fact, school for us, is much more about learning how to live, how to make good decisions, learning life-skills, learning how to serve and the importance of it. It’s about learning what hard work looks like, what being a good neighbor looks like, and how relationships work. It’s getting a phone call, or a knock on the door and opening your door, letting them in, helping… pushing your subjects around so you can help another in need – because in life, that’s what’s important — Math can wait for an hour, if a friend needs you to jump their vehicle, help with their kids, or just listen…
I remember another mother telling me that her child had been accepted into a very hard to get into preschool at 2 years old. Something nearly unheard of in this particular institution. She was very proud of her child, very excited, and I was excited for her! She had a goal for her family and she was taking those first steps into reaching them!
As we visited she questioned me about where I would be sending my 2 year old and sat there surprised at my “home” response. She was puzzled as to why I wouldn’t want to give my child that leg up in life. I tried to explain to her, that I was giving my child a leg up – it was just a different leg and it’s *up* looked different than hers. She couldn’t understand me wanting to be with my kids at home, she was anxious to return to the workforce and start putting away for her childs college and her retirement. My rambling on about how childhood is so short mystified her… she looked at me like I was from mars… and that’s okay. They chose what was best for their family and we chose what was best for ours.
Being in school is important, learning about math concepts, language skills, science theories, historical facts, and what to eat & why — all important. I have to admit, though, it’s always been my desire that if my kids were good at one thing, I’d rather have them excel at serving others… I am more concerned with raising good spouses, good parents, good friends, good community members, and good members of the church family.
We love interacting with others, each one with their own *why*, each one unique, each one challenging us to grow. Life would be pretty boring if we all had the same *why*, if we all agreed all the time… Our *why* has taken many shapes over the years and has done so partly by inspiration of others…
I wonder what our *why* will look like in another 5 years… what about you, what is your *why*?