“Would you do it all over again?”
It was a question that caught me off guard in a group of moms whose children were either publicly schooled or privately schooled. Their eyes all turned to me and I felt a little guilty that I didn’t answer with a a resounding “YES!” as soon as the question was asked. The fact was, I wanted to think about it before I gave an answer.
I know what most of society thinks about homeschooling; we homeschoolers battle the stigma and myths and misinformation about it every day. So, my momentary pause was validation enough for some of those moms and I saw them exchange glances. It was subtle, just between two of them, but I caught it. And, by then, those two weren’t going to hear my answer anyway. I had just verified what a majority of non-homeschoolers think: You shouldn’t be homeschooling anyway.
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That day, the group discussion had devolved into typical mom complaints about after school activities and how we’re always running our kids everywhere. (Dude, it’s so exhausting!) When I listed out the activities that my kid participated in on a daily basis, most of the moms were surprised.
“Oh, you do classes outside the home?” It was an innocent question from a mom I didn’t know well.
We do take classes outside the home (a lot, actually) — Spanish, swimming, farm school, music, and cooking are regular classes, peppered in with other one-day classes, camps, and field trips here and there. And, if my daughter had her way, we would also add art, sewing, horseback riding, and Tae kwon do, but a mama has to draw the line somewhere before she absolutely loses her freaking mind. Add all that to the studies we do at home and, well, it’s a lot.
So, I have a secret: There are some days that I wish I didn’t homeschool.
I see my other friends with their days free where they can schedule appointments and take care of things. They aren’t trying to squeeze cleaning the house in around math in the morning and outside swim class in the afternoon. Or, they’re heading off to work where they get to interact with other adults ALL. DAY. LONG. (Something you don’t realize how much you miss until it’s gone.) Those friends aren’t staying up until 2 a.m. to finish a work project because their days are filled with kid-related activities. Those friends don’t have to fight society about their decisions or explain non-stop to their friends and family why they chose a non-traditional path. Some days, I envy those people.
And then, there are the other days — the majority of the days — where my daughter gets to direct her learning and I see the happiness when she grasps a new concept or gets to study about bugs in her favorite book. There are days when we have the kids’ area in the library or the museum or the playground almost to ourselves. There are trips that we get to take when others are in traditional school and things we get to expose our child to that might not happen if we were tied to a schedule.
Those days? Those are the days I hang on to when I feel like I don’t want to homeschool anymore. When it gets hard. When I’m exhausted. When she fights me about studies. When I have to plan the school schedule. When I have to get us back on track. When yet another person tells me my kid will never be socialized.
So, that day I answered, “Yeah, I would do it all over again.” And, that’s all the convincing I needed to do that day, because I had already convinced myself.
And, that was good enough.
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