I have been mulling over the idea of homeschooling for a little while. When my babies were all little I remember someone asking me if I was going to homeschool my kids and at the time my response was, "why would I want to do that?!?" To be fair though at that point, with four babies in diapers, I was so tired of changing diapers, doing laundry, picking up toys, and cleaning up spit-up that the idea of them all going to school sounded like a much needed mini-vacation. Even now, YEARS later, I have serious doubts about the validity of that idea. But it just keeps coming up.
When I started reading The Pioneer Woman's blog I revisited the idea again. I just couldn't believe that this woman was raising four kids on a cattle ranch, homeschooling her kids, and still has the time to write such a dynamic blog. So, I took a long look at my life and realized that being that I was devoid a few thousand head of cattle, if she can do it, I could probably do it too. However, at the time I was a little lost in my walk with God, and if I'm totally honest I worried that I would grow to resent the added responsibilities. So I shelved the idea again.
Since Then I have met dozens of mothers who homeschool their children. They really seem to enjoy the experience and I'm always so shocked at how calm they seem. The reason this shocks me is because I wouldn't exactly use "calm and "wonderful experience" as words to describe homework time at my house. There just seems to be something about teaching fractions to a third-grader and making your fourth-grader write a paragraph that induces a level of frustration I've never encountered before. I'm more afraid that by homeschooling my kids and committing myself to do school work with them on a full-time basis I would be leading myself down the road to a 12-step program.
I've also realized that secretly I have another issue with homeschooling. I tend to worry about the social interaction aspect of children that are homeschooled. I know there a lot of organizations and groups for homeschoolers and every homeschooling mother has got that argument ready to throw at you when you mention social interaction. But let's face it in life you don't always get to choose who you deal with and when you deal with them or whether or not you get along with the people who are thrown in your path. I worry that by handpicking who my children get to deal with I'm not properly preparing them to face the world outside of their own home.
Then there is also this. I'm sorting cringing while I consider actually writing this and therefore publicly admitting my opinion on this one. Please be patient and hear me out. Mother's of homeschoolers always seem a little...I don't want to use the word weird here. Let's just say different. As in not really something wrong with them, but there's just something I can't put my finger on. And to be fair it may just be that they are perfectly balanced in a world that doesn't exactly have a plethora of that running around. So it just seems strange to the average over-stressed, yet strangely under-stimulated mother.
I worry that I would become this person who is so completely starved for interesting adult interaction that I will become one of those mother's that I have a hard time excusing myself from conversations with. Not only do I feel like they are at times trying to force me to accept their choice to homeschool, but there is the invitation for play dates that you can't seem to turn down. And let me be perfectly honest when I tell you that it is not your children that worry me with regard to play dates. At least not in the sense your thinking. My kids are borderline neanderthals. They will cuss at each other, and hit each other. They will suggest things like, "Hey, lets jump out the two-story window for fun...or are you just a pansy?" True story by the way. They will throw rocks at each other for fun, especially when one has decided to climb a tree. Also, true story. I promise I punish for such behavior, but either they are stupidly determined or they have all somehow damaged their short term memory. Because no matter how many spankings, missed dinners, sentences, bible verses, and assorted restrictions I come up with, we very often come back to this phrase. "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?!"
I worry for not only your child's chances of survival, but their little delicate sensibilities. I panic over the very real possibility that you will call me enraged following said play date and tell me what a bad influence my children are. At which point, no matter how right I know you are, I will be forced to take the Mama Bear roll and defend my delinquents. I wish my children were mild mannered. I wish that they didn't know any four letter words. Those however are not the cards I was dealt so while I realize my kids could learn a lot of positive things from your kids, it's more likely that they will teach yours some rather unsavory new tricks.
So, I realize that before I can seriously consider homeschooling I'm going to have to work on making sure that I've got a better level of patience and that I'm in better control of my temper. Because let's face it no one tests you on your breaking point as well as your children do.
Wish me luck!
More from parenting