I think about homeschooling so very often and of it’s philosophical benefits, I thought it was high time I write about just whatever happens to be at the top of my head about it. Maybe I’ll get it all out of my system that way. I keep hoping that one day all my myriad of thoughts about various forms of schooling will just come to me in the form of a neatly condensed quippy little sentence that I can use like a bullet any time somebody dares come near the subject with me. But mostly I find myself frozen with something more like a novel damming up my mouth as everything attempts to flow out at once.
And so the blog will have to serve.
My children are neatly in school for the time being. So I can easily philosophize to my heart’s content without ever really remembering those realities which were homeschooling for me. Namely, a totally messy and non-functioning house due to too much on my plate and little to no sleep and a fussy baby and bad hair and bad clothes and just stumbling through life and rarely having clean dishes or enough food or clean clothes or knowing where all the shoes and sippy cups were, and being so tired I couldn’t see straight.
I am always asking myself why. Why was that the case? It shouldn’t be. Besides, all of these other homeschooling moms do it right? And is this really what it’s cracked up to be, and why are we doing this anyway? And it’s normal to go to school, we all turned out ok didn’t we? We had some bumps in the road, but we came out ok in the end. Well, for me it was after some extensive counseling given to me voluntarily by a compassionate woman who took me in.
That’s just it. I have one shot at raising my kids right and it flies by so darn fast, how can I risk somebody else making the mistakes against my will and without my knowing? And school for me was such a horrific experience. Of course there was *some* good, but I remember it with an atmosphere of stench. I remember the knots in my throat and the sick feeling in my stomach. I remember the ugly buildings and the crowds of other kids and the herd treatment and the false notions from principals and teachers who thought everything was rosy and peachy because we were the ‘cream of the crop’ and what a wonderful academic program we had. I remember trying to figure it all out and becoming obsessed with myself. Obsessed with trying to find out who I was and trying to impress others with myself. I thought I could make myself up to be whatever I wanted. If I just tried hard enough I could become whatever I envisioned, even if it was someone else. And I would do anything to get there and receive the kind of attention and admiration and praise and maybe even jealousy that I wanted. Maybe I could ignite jealousy in others the way it had consumed me. I wanted to be the best. Not the best in the average way, like the best student with the highest grades or the prettiest most popular girl. I knew I didn’t have he personality for that, so I chose to believe it was because I didn’t want those things. I was far too interesting for that. I wanted to be the best ballerina. Now there was something unattainable to most and which they probably hadn’t even thought of and which would make me seem so ethereal and so out of reach. I would be magical, other-worldy.
And so I was a wreck.
All this began to change when I exchanged my identity as a ballerina for a new identity as a follower of Christ. I burned my most precious pair of pointe shoes.
But I still had a lot of cleaning up to do. I didn’t know who I was or where to go. I had a lot of insecurity and false notions about life remaining. A couple of years away from home solved a lot of that. It turns out alot of my problem was my home life. It didn’t prepare me to deal with what was happening at school. I was very highly moral. I was often accused of being pure. Which I took as a compliment even though it wasn’t intended that way. I am still grateful for that. I was also told I was “cultured”. I think that meant my family knew what an opera was and we occasionally visited an art museum. I always felt like I was being told I had something in common with yogurt.
So my home life was not emotionally stable, but was highly moral and culturally rich. There was a dearth of warmth and nurturing and a little verbal abuse. So I came out ok due to my parents handing down their faith in Christ. That’s what covered for their mistakes. And I pray all the time that it will cover for mine and my husband’s. I can’t control everything that comes at my kids. So I pray that God is there helping them in ways I can’t.
But I have this one chance. And it goes by so darn fast. I don’t want to get to the end and then say, oh, but I am not ready to let go yet! I have so much more I want to teach them! I have so much more I want to share with them! I want to watch them grow up and learn and share every precious fleeting moment with them!
My first child was born so recently. And he’s now 6 years old. But I am still there, on the hospital bed with tears steaming down my face and the pain in my body making me wonder if I am going to die, but knowing that I have never experienced such joy, and knowing that I want 5 more just like him. Knowing that I will give my life for this baby boy. Here at the very beginning, I know I will do anything and everything to give this baby his best chance. I am his best chance, he’s safe with me, and I will do absolutely everything I can to keep him safe to give him love and nurture and to know God who loves him even more deeply than we can imagine. I am still there at the beginning. That moment was eternal.
And as thoroughly impassioned as i can be about my kids, they can drive me crazy. But I think that’s why. i want so badly for everything to be right, that if it veers slightly I become very afraid and my tendency towards perfectionism rears it’s ugly head. I think I must control it all and that it all comes down on me in the end. That I am always ultimately responsible because they’re my kids. I envision all the possible future horrors that could result from each tiny enfraction and I blow it all out of proportion in such a way that I can hardly deal with it. In fact I almost never know what I should do. I love them so much. I think I’ve made every mistake in the book already. SO it’s hard to see straight. hard to make big life altering choices. What path to take?
Who are my kids, for what is God preparing them? For things maybe none of us has ever known. What path of education, what way to grow up is best for each one? I pray God gives me the grace to know and to do it whatever it may be.