People tend to judge you pretty quickly when you decide to homeschool your children. They either label you as a religious nut, an anarchist, or a granola eating-hairy armpit-pot smoking hippie. People feel they have the right to question your choice as they look at you with suspicion in their eyes while wondering if they should report you to child protective services. Having spent nearly twenty years teaching in the second largest school district in the United States, my co-workers/friends asked me if I didn’t trust them to teach my children. The honest short answer is no. It’s not that I don’t trust they could teach my special snowflakes all they need to know to make it through this world. I don’t believe they could give my special snowflakes the individual attention they could flourish under. Honestly, how could you expect a teacher to give individual attention to 30+ students in a 6 hour day without pulling out their eyelashes. If my oldest is not in the mood for algebra, I could set him to task on coding a new aspect of his server to break up the monopoly of variables and equations. He’s happy, I’m satisfied, and algebra can wait.
When my oldest was in school for two years, his teachers did not realize he was advanced for his age and was he bored with everything they put in front of him. I had to drag him to his classroom everyday while he bawled his eyes out crying, “Why do I have to come here? I know this already?” The school was not challenging him. They did not know him. They were not teaching him. I was teaching him and that small fact pleased him and frustrated his teachers.
With the birth of my second child, I started contemplating homeschooling. As a teacher, I never thought homeschooling was an option for the average person. I thought celebrity children, hippies, or religious cult members living on compounds homeschooled. With some research and a little bit of number crunching, I realized I could do it. After crafting a well thought out power point presentation for my husband weighing the pros and cons of homeschooling, we were soon on our way. I felt confident because I was an experienced teacher with nearly 20 years of elementary teaching under my belt, I held a Masters degree in education, I taught education in the university, and I was a literacy coach. I was primed for this new adventure.
To say homeschooling is all roses and butterflies would be a lie. Being a stay at home mom means I’m with my children 24/7. I don’t get to miss my children. It’s a wonderful experience, but it’s also challenging when you need to breathe and think in peace. I find my peace when I go for runs at the break of dawn and go to the gym for a couple of hours, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. Deep down, I know this would all soon pass when the nest gets empty, so I save my momentary gripes for another day.