Confession #148: Homeschool & Why We’re At It Again
A few years ago I tried out homeschooling with my two oldest children. It was awful. I hated it. And I felt like a horrible mom to admit that I didn’t enjoy staying at home and teaching my own kids. Add to the fact that I was a trained educator, I struggled to excuse myself, as if homeschooling was an obligation, some sort of right of passage for all missionary moms.
But it came to a point where I just didn’t care any longer. Even if it meant I was going to break some age-old missionary mom rule, so what? Homeschooling was turning me into an angry, bitter mother. Combined with the pregnancy hormones at the time, I was a hot mess- both literally and figuratively speaking.
So I quite homeschooling. I sent my kids off to a private English school and praised the Lord. I wrote about my experience on my blog and surprisingly received lots of feedback. Turned out I wasn’t alone. Moms everywhere had been in my shoes. It was nice hearing from so many other women. Reading their stories allowed me to realize I was not a failure; homeschooling just wasn’t for us.
My children loved going to school. LOVED IT. They made tons of new friends and took on a new excitement for learning. They became more confident children and they both enjoyed the routine schedule of leaving the house everyday to do something on their own. I loved it too. Watching them grow and thrive brought me so much joy. But about a year ago I felt the Lord tugging on my heart. Despite my negative experience with homeschooling the year before, I had this unrelenting feeling that God wanted me to try it out again.
At first I thought I was misreading His cues. Hunter and I started praying fervently over the idea. And although I was extremely scared to commit to homeschooling once more, I couldn’t shake this inner desire to want to try.
Here was the deal. One day, whenever that day may be, my family will leave Haiti and move back to the States. Although I don’t yet know what city we will settle in, sweet Tennessee is calling both Hunter and I home. And when we do- move home- our kids will go to school, we will both have jobs, and life is going to be a new sort of busy.
But now, in this current season of our lives, my family has the opportunity to spend our days together. Work and ministry here is a family affair. Our days revolve around our schedules. And I wanted to take advantage of this time. I wanted to enjoy the long days with my children while I can before school schedules, soccer practice, youth group, grandparents, dance recitals, play dates, and whatever else gets thrown into our mix. Now, I selfishly get to have my kids all to myself. So I am.
And let me tell you, I have actually loved homeschooling this year. Has it been perfect? Not even slightly. Do I get frustrated and yell sometimes? You betcha. Do my kids miss their friends from school? Everyday. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change our slow mornings. I wouldn’t change Hunter getting the coffee going and feeding the kids breakfast while I get my quiet time. I wouldn’t change our routine around the table reading books, marveling over science experiments, and writing silly stories together. I wouldn’t change watching my kids write their names in cursive for the first time or learning to label a world map. I wouldn’t change anything, even if I could.
Homeschool is hard. It is not for everyone. I give props to any momma out there who does homeschooling and does it well. Really, I have no idea how you do it. How you stay sane is beyond me. I am honestly barely getting by. Still, I am loving this season of my life and thanking God daily for this gift of time with my kids. I am not the perfect homeschooling mama. Frankly, I long for the day when I can send my kids to school again. But I consider my days around the table with them a blessing. And for that I am thankful.
What about you? Are you a mom struggling between homeschool and school? How have you chosen which path was best for you and your children?
* After posting this I realized that I should add what exactly has made the difference for me this year. Why do I enjoy homeschooling so much now when I dreaded it so much a few years back. The answer is simple: expectations. This year I stopped looking at Pinterest posts and homeschooling blogs. I stopped expecting myself to do arts and crafts everyday and master Common Core objectives. I stopped expecting perfection from me and my children. High expectations killed my spirit my first time around with homeschooling. This year, I have chosen to be much more relaxed. I take things one day at a time. I don’t follow a schedule. We learn at our pace and stay on subjects a bit longer if we need to. Nobody is in a rush. I don’t do anything cute. Nothing that requires glitter and glue. Although I love that stuff, we don’t have time for it. And honestly, the expectation of needing to do that kinda stuff everyday stressed me out before. So now, school is simple. my expectations are realistic. And those things combined have made for a wonderful school year.