(This one was originally part of a series that, when I wrote it, was more or less half personal diary and half ‘homeschooling manifesto’. The things I wrote back then still ring true in my heart and mind today. And while my blog is still unassumingly small, it has nevertheless grown ten-times over since the days when I wrote these things, so I thought it might be time to share these posts again…)
They say confession is good for the soul. Well my soul will be experiencing lots of goodness in this blogpost! And hopefully you won’t think worse of me by the time it’s all through…
Like I told you, after being practically anti-homeschool for the better part of my life, I slowly and reluctantly came to recognize that homeschooling could be a good thing and that public school rarely is. But realizing that did not mean I was ready to consider homeschooling my own children!
There were several excuses I would throw out on those rare occasions when the subject of homeschooling came up and, to some extent, I suppose there was validity to each of them.. But it’s time to be honest! All those excuses were just a cover-up for the real reason why I had no intention of homeschooling.
I always insisted I didn’t have the patience for it. I was concerned about the day my children reached higher math. I feared I couldn’t possibly cover everything I needed to cover and do so with multiple children, all at the same time. They were all legitimate concerns. Maybe.
But the real reason, the underlying motive behind my decision, the one I was so careful to conceal with all my meticulously designed excuses was this: I would never homeschool because…I JUST DIDN’T WANT TO.
That doesn’t sound very profound, I realize, but stick with me here because that truth was the biggest obstacle to me homeschooling my children. Once the complete unwillingness was overcome, it’s amazing how my entire perspective of education and childrearing and even motherhood began to change.
Now some of the things I’m about to say here sound ridiculous to me now. I’ve had the time to do a lot of soul-searching and I think I’m seeing much more clearly the things that matter in life and the things that really don’t. And some of these things definitely do NOT! But humbling as it is, I’m determined to share with you some of the messed-up thinking of my past, no matter how petty I sound in the process. So here you go….
I didn’t want to homeschool because...
1. I wanted a clean house. I am by no means a clean freak, but I honestly did look forward to the day I could ship all the kids off to school and clean and do laundry and decorate and have the cute, (and CLEAN,) mazagine-cover-worthy little home I knew I could have if I really had the time to devote to it.
2. I wanted the freedom to come and go at will, (at least during the daytime.) I wasn’t looking for the chance to travel to distant, exotic locations. I just wanted to be able to go to the grocery store on a whim! I wanted the opportunity to run errands, do volunteer work, visit a friend, or check out the big sale at Dillards without having to drag four children along with me or go to the trouble of finding babysitters.
3. I wanted to enjoy silence and solitude in my home, at least every once in a while! I wanted more opportunities to think and pray and just be alone on occasion without the noise and chaos of having children in my company 24/7.
And this is the biggie:
4. I wanted the time to pursue the dreams that having children has pushed to the wayside. Some people look forward to the day they can go back to school or have time for a beloved hobby or pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. Well I had some things I wished to do as well and I was smart enough to see that homeschooling was going to be a significant time-vaccuum. The only hope? Get those kids out of the house so I could do the things I wanted to do!
So, truth be told, as much as I adored my children and as much I felt ready to give the world for each of them, I also viewed them as a considerable inconvenience.
Ouch. There goes my Mother of the Year nomination…
I never admitted my feelings to myself. In fact, I’m not sure I even realized I thought that way! But I don’t believe that kind of thinking is unusual. Sadly, it’s all too common and I never realized I had fallen prey to a mindset of the world. Society itself in subtle and not-so-subtle ways teaches us that children are a bother. They disrupt our plans. They try our patience. They limit our abilities. They can be like a ball and chain that weighs us down, hindering our success and robbing us of fulfillment.
Society teaches us we can’t handle our children. We can’t manage them. We can’t deal with the stress they add to our lives and we certainly can’t teach them! So the best thing to do is send them off to school as early and as often as possible.
But while society is teaching that attitude, the Bible teaches something very different. Nowhere in scripture is there any indication that God hands out children without also providing parents everything they need to handle them, provided they tap into the supply of grace so readily available to them. He said His grace is sufficient, did He not? And nowhere does scripture indicate parents are incapable of teaching their children either. In fact, we are commanded to do it! This passage from Deuteronomy is the homeschooling mantra, but only because its message is so powerful.
Now…I was determined I wouldn’t draw this subject out again, but I have more to say and I’m afraid it just can’t be helped! I haven’t explained the things that helped conquer that unwilling, (and selfish,) attitude of mine when it came to homeschooling.God has such a sense of humor, I think. And it never ceases to amaze me the things He can do through our circumstances, even through our utter failures….