Confession #93: I Quit Homeschooling (& I Don’t Feel Guilty)
I can remember it like it was yesterday:
Siting at our breakfast table in the kitchen in my pajamas each morning.
The big stack of A Beka books
My mom was a great teacher. Still is. But I hated homeschooling.
Each morning I watched a school bus pass our house, and each morning I wanted nothing more than to hop on it and go to school with other kids.
My mom knew I was struggling. No matter the benefits of homeschooling, I wasn’t going to thrive at the kitchen table.
So mid year, my parents enrolled me into the local elementary school and I was finally able to get on that school bus, which I loved. (Except for the time I accidently got on the high school bus, but that is another story for another time. Let me just say this: It was traumatizing.)
Homeschool didn’t work for me as a student, and truth be told it hasn’t worked for me as a parent either.
Last fall I wrote about becoming a homeschooling mom. The decision to homeschool my little ones was more out of necessity than personal conviction. I tried to get excited about it, I really did. But the joy never came…
A former teacher, I thought that homeschooling would be a joyful piece of cake that would only bring me closer to my kids. I read homeschooling blogs which, to be honest, overwhelmed me. Reading about the love and commitment some of these homeschool moms have out there, well, it just made me feel like a failure if I didn’t measure up, if I didn’t LOVE homeschooling, and if my kids didn’t have a school day worthy of Pintrest pinning.
With an already busy schedule (I’m not a stay at home mom. I actually have a full time job.) I set a rigorous homeschooling schedule in place and attempted to be as enthusiastic as possible. I was going to teach my kids, run a house, and manage Emmaus House all in a day, everyday.
Needless to say, I was always falling short. And my kids, although obedient, struggled as well.
Homeschool time quickly became my only time with my kids. Once school was done for the day, I had to play catch up on my work for Emmaus House. And then by the time that was finished, it was time for dinner, showers, and bedtime. Oh, and I hated that! I hated that my daily quality time with my children had to be spent over math problems and phonics when all I really wanted to do was play with them. But there are only so many hours in a day, you know.
And just like when I was in the 2nd grade, my kids craved to be with other kids their age. Ever since moving out of the orphanage, Hunter and I have been burdened by the fact that our kids no longer have friends to play with. And with English now their prominent language, they struggle fitting in with most Haitian children. And homeschooling has only kept them more sheltered from Haitian society and more alone.
So a while back we made the choice: we were going to send them to an English speaking school. We decided this for many reasons. First, because they need socialization with other kids who speak and look like them. Second, homeschool was becoming a full time job, and I couldn’t carry two full time jobs at once. And third, homeschooling just wasn’t a fit for us- for our kids or for me.
For a while, giving up homeschooling and admitting that it wasn’t working for our family made me feel like a failure of a mom/educator. I mean, according to all the blogs, forums, and Facebook groups I was now following all good moms homeschool. A majority of my fellow missionary mamas down here homeschool as well. What was my problem? Was I just not committed enough? Did I need to adjust my time management skills? Was I going to harm my kids by sending them to school? Was I being a bad mom because I, a teacher, no longer wanted to teach my own kids?
I don’t know when it happened, but after months of wrestling with questions like these, God gave me peace. He assured me that I would still be a good mom if I sent my kids to school. Even more, He assured me that perhaps sending them to school would be putting their needs first. If they went to school, they could make friends. They would be able to prepare for school in America. They could have fun. And with my days free to work, I would finally be able to give them the attention they needed as their mom instead of just their teacher.
So yesterday my kids went to school for the first time. I realize it is May and summer is just a month away, but this month seemed like a good opportunity to help them transition. And they need that time. They have never been in a classroom before, and we are hoping this month will help them get adjusted to their new routine.
So yeah…I quit homeschooling. And I don’t feel guilty. I love my kids to pieces, and that is why I am sending them to school. It is what is best for them and it is what is best for me.
I do wish to say this though: I so admire homeschooling mamas- the ones who love it and do it well. I tip my hat off to you. Looking in from the outside, people don’t realize what a challenge homeschooling can be. You are doing a beautiful service and I know your children will reap the blessings.
Maybe one day God will bring my children and me back to the homeschooling table. Who knows? But for now, we are going to enjoy the blessing of going to school.