Several years ago, when our oldest was just getting ready to start kindergarten, I COULD. NOT. WAIT.
At the time, we had 3 young children that always needed me. Always. Every second of the day (or at least that’s how it felt). My firstborn and I had some serious power struggles that made us both look forward to getting some breathing time while he was at school. We needed a break from each other for part of the day and school was going to provide that break. The teachers who cared for all the children in the classroom? GOD BLESS THEM!
I think many moms can relate. Maybe not to the specific issues, but as the first day of school approaches in our area (we start in September), there are videos and memes made expressing the joy that will be “THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!” All the kids will be out of the house for 7 hours a day and mom can finally breathe! Or go to Target by herself! Or any number of “Oh-my-gosh-they’re-gone! PARTY TIME!!!” moments.
I get it. I have six kids. I. SO. GET. IT.
Way back in 2007 when we were preparing to launch our Bubba off to school, I was pouring my heart out to a friend hoping for empathy. Having a husband who has multiple jobs, is often gone for extended periods at a time, left me to deal with some pretty incredible and intense times with our boy. I was often left in tears, as was he. Parenting. (Sigh).
My friend, in whom I was confiding in and hoping for emotional support from said,
“You don’t think that’s going to get better by sending him to school, do you?”
My mouth dropped. I mumbled something about needing to go, turned on my heel and fumbled my way back to the car.
If you’re a parent, you pour your heart into doing what’s best for your kids. It’s not unusual, especially with your first one (or six) to wonder if you’re doing the right thing or if you’re going to screw them up somehow. When someone else questions how you’re raising your kids, even if it’s meant well (as it often is)? It can hurt. It can be brutal, especially when you’re already dealing with difficult things and doubting your own abilities.
So it came as a total surprise to this mama’s heart when, 9 years later, after 4 of my 6 kids had been in public school, I started feeling a nudge to pull some of my kids from public school and bring them home for their education instead. I was like, “NO. WAY. Not happening.”
My thoughts went back to the aforementioned interaction. The wounds were still there. Forgiven, but still sore.
I had unintentionally become a bit jaded regarding homeschooling. While I’ve had (and have) several friends who school their kids at home and are AWESOME, both in ability and overall coolness, I had seen others who made non-homeschooling families feel “less than” and were quite vocal about it. By choosing to bring my kids home, I didn’t want to be a part of an unofficial “club” that made others feel like I was made to feel; like a bad mom who was too self-focused to take on educating her children herself.
Or that made others feel inferior because “they can’t handle teaching their own kids”.
Both of which are utter nonsense.
Those perceptions were based on personal experiences and reactions and NOT to be confused with the actual act of educating one’s kids at home. Once I got over that, I still tried to push the notion away, but I kept meeting people who educated at home and LOVED IT. And they were so gracious about it.
Try as I might to deny it, the pros were outweighing the cons by a long shot.
Darn it. I couldn’t get away from this annoying tugging at my heart.
But, having always been a public school proponent, I felt like I needed to hear the voice of the Almighty shouting straight down from heaven, “SUMMER! You are going to begin homeschooling your children!” I mean, my husband and I grew up in public school and turned out alright, right? (If you know us personally, please just go along with this 😉 ).
We live across the street from our local elementary school. Talk about convenience! When the morning bell rings? Just push the kids out the door and into the classroom! Super easy. And there’s this old perception of who homeschooling families are… They’re often thought of as this:
Or that mom and daughters will start dressing like:
(Okay, I might wear a denim jumper, but it’ll be this one:
Cute, right?! I digress.)
But, much to my initial chagrin, we did receive some pretty obvious confirmation from God that, denim jumpers aside, we were to begin educating some of our kids at home. There was no denying it, so rather than keep resisting, it was time to just do it and dive right in!
I am not really sure what homeschooling will look like for our family. I’m totally new at it. I’m a bit afraid of what I don’t know and bit afraid of what I DO know.
Ultimately, however, I know we prayed about it and because God HAS confirmed to us that this is the right thing for us right now, He will equip me to do this job well and find joy in it.
So here we are. I’m still a public school mama and now also a homeschooling mama… all wrapped up in one person. You get to read all about our journey, among many other things and thoughts I have, right here, just like always. (Thank you, by the way, for joining me!)
Would you please pray for us as we start this new adventure? And, if you’re getting ready to start something new and would like prayer, let me know! We’ll pray for you too!
I wanted to share with you that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my friend in the story above meant no ill-will toward us. She was unknowingly pressing into a painful area in our family with wonderful intentions, but I wasn’t ready to receive those intentions at the time. Please know, too, that I have no intention of telling you that you need to homeschool or send your kids to public school. My job is as mother to my kids, yours is to be mother (or father) to yours. If you’re wondering what to do? Pray about it. Pray in earnest. God will direct you as He directed us!