I want to be a homeschooler.
There I said it.
I actually typed it big and bold for the world to see.
I want to homeschool my children.
This is so bad. I am so weird. I am such an awful parent.
My family is going to completely freak out. My sister will be furious. My mom will probably not speak to me any time during the school year where she doesn’t say something like “You’re ruining your kids lives. You’re ruining their education. You are not smart enough to teach your own kids.” No, really, she probably will say all those things and more. (Whats more, I will fret over these statements for weeks, wondering if she is right, if I am wrong, if I am the worst mother who lives.) Nothing would surprise me. I don’t even want to think about what my grandmother will say. You know, the one who is so good she says things like “I’m so glad you didn’t worry about dusting before we came over [unannounced]. That would have been suuuch a waste of your time” in the sweetest southern belle voice you’ve ever heard. I might even be almost dead to her if I homeschool. I will definitely give her plenty of ammo if I do. She may never criticize another person the rest of her days. (You’re welcome, siblings.)
I don’t like when people don’t like me. No, I take that back. What I really don’t like is when people don’t APPROVE of me, when they don’t ACCEPT me. I think that is what affected me the most when I got involved in the camp ministry I was apart of for several years: it was a tennant of the place; acceptance. Accept people for who and what they are. Love them. I longed for that then, I long for it now. Is that just human nature? Perhaps it is. Perhaps some of us feel that desire more deeply than others. I can’t really know that. All I know is I want people to approve of me. So it will be a big part of the challenge of homeschooling to have so many people I desire approval from to disapprove of me and my decisions. I will feel unloved.
I want what is best for my children. I am torn on that some days, on others I am certain. We wait and wait and wait for the decision to come from the school system government: can we go to our school of choice or will we be forced into the school we are zoned for? We will absolutely N.O.T. go to the school we are zoned for. We tried it and it was a big fail. I have no qualms whatsoever about saying we will absolutely, positively homeschool if that is how things pan out.
But I find myself, as each day of summer ends and the new school year looms closer, praying that is what happens; that we get turned down. It will be my out for homeschooling, it will be my excuse.
And I question myself.
Why do you need an excuse? These are YOUR kids and YOUR decision.
But I am afraid.
Your child’s entire education on you is a huge responsiblity. Maybe I have fed into the story that parents don’t know how to educate and don’t know their kids well enough to meet their needs educationally. What if I’m wrong to not believe that? What if I make the wrong decision? Maybe I just worry that if one of them remains delayed educationally, I can no longer blame the system, but myself. Maybe I’m just afraid in general.
And then I think once more about sending them off here in a few weeks to school. Where we rarely see each other as a family for quality time and it feels like they are always gone. Where we must struggle over hours of homework after they’ve already been at it for 7 hours at school. Where we seek to understand why they can’t master a skill they should already be well adept at. Where we will combat the world in the form of tiny humans who share opinions and information no child should know with my children who didn’t before they came along and opened their little mouths. Where we seek to understand with aching hearts what our kids have done and said and felt all day. Where we desire to be involved in those moments and don’t know how.
And I shake a little bit now.
And think: I have become a homeschooler this summer.
It seems impossible to do those things, like going back in time and sending my oldest to visitations again where I wasn’t invited. And walking him to that big building for his first day of pre-k and leaving. And listening to him cry and beg to never have to return after an incident in a bathroom in the school we will N.O.T. go to.
And I think. I have become a homeschooler this summer.
The day will come when we must decide. It is coming soon.