It was in the school supply aisle at Target that reality struck. The rest of the civilization had gone back to school that morning, and after five years of our own beautiful experience in a public school, we had made the inexplicable decision to homeschool.
THIS COULD BE TROUBLE
“Stick close to the cart!” I commanded my three kids. “If anyone talks to you, smile sweetly and act super polite!” I wasn’t even sure we were allowed to be out in public as the rest of the world’s children were tucked away in classrooms. Our first day was still a week away, but the panic, as we teetered on the edge of the unknown, had already set in.
Ten years ago, I didn’t even really know that homeschooling was a thing. We worked hard at living neatly inside the box. Maybe that’s why I expected my husband to laugh when I lightly shared that home education had been popping into my head and maybe God was nudging me. When he just smiled and said he had sincerely thought about it too, we both knew we were in trouble.
WHAT IF WE HATE IT?
What if we all sit down to study American history, and I’m as perky as can be, but they just stare at me blankly? And what if they grow up to resent their mother for pulling them out of a normal school and forcing them to endure her perkiness?
All the books, all the blogs, all the pictures depict homeschool siblings skipping hand in hand across the yard as they set out on nature walks to journal about photosynthesis before enjoying a beautiful picnic lunch and becoming forever confidantes. What if mine fight all the time or, even worse, just feel lonely?
This wasn’t exactly the life my husband dreamed about. His PTO days? Now field trips. His relaxing nights at home? Replaced with his new roles of tech support, guidance counselor and algebra tutor. Will the principal even have time to hang out in the “teacher’s lounge” with me?
What if I spend a month making binders, hanging posters and preparing unit studies only to find that it wasn’t really such a party after all? What if I (gasp) fantasize about the big yellow bus coming to take my children away? Will I be stuck in the kitchen forevermore? Breakfast and dinner plus my new role as the lunch lady?
I DON’T KNOW IT ALL
Yes, I have a master’s degree, and yes, I was a teacher. But I don’t remember all the state capitals or the order of the planets. I don’t even do math in my head. My academic weaknesses have been redeemed by excellent curriculum and kids who have become eager, independent learners.
Let’s just say my husband enjoys kissing his kids’ teacher. Homeschooling has certainly brought us closer together. And another bonus, having my three kids home means they can help out more around the house.
As for socialization, it truly is a problem. We need to stop socializing so much in order to accomplish school. And if anyone accuses me of sheltering my kids, I simply say, “Thanks for noticing.”
As a mom who has taught in a public school, sent kids to a public school and now homeschools, I can’t help but focus on our common thread. We all want the best for our families. And quite frankly, we just want to sit down with our adult children some day and feel glad about the way everyone turned out.
Five years into homeschooling, I laugh about that day in Target. We successfully navigated our way through the checkout lane and into a brand new lifestyle. On the first day of school, the kids laughed a little at me, but with each other, so, sibling unity for the win! Overall, homeschooling provides all sorts of perks for them, including their new status as “Top of the Class.” and birthdays as school holidays.
Amy Brase is a writer and homeschool mama who loves God, the smell of new books, historical field trips and spontaneous “Snow (and even Sun!) Days!”