As we were sharing cupcakes with my son’s friends in Adventurers, the program director said, “Mom, he is eight now. You have 10 more years with him…” I sighed and agreed with her. Ten more years. That’s it. I have taken care of him for eight years. I am staring down a not-so-long corridor of 10 more years. It really does not seem that long anymore, getting him to 18.
And here’s the kicker: next year, it will be nine and nine. Nine years of past memories, nine more years to go. After that, the past will gain on the future. Ten years of memories, and eight more years of future memories. Now, if I can just maintain this perspective as things happen and I am tempted to lose my patience…
Life is short. It really is. Homeschooling can make it seem long because the days are long and the years are short. However, public school moms tell me they are exhausted too. They get tired and if they also have a job they feel like they are not doing either motherhood or their career 100%. When they are at work, they think about the children. When they are with the children, they think about all the things they still have to complete at work. As a homeschool mom, I have the luxury of only focusing on the children.
My librarian asked me how we like homeschooling and if we would like to continue. I answered, “Yes, we like it and we want to continue. It’s tiring, but I talk to public school moms and they are tired, too.” To which the librarian answered, “There are no easy ways to raise children.” I could not agree more.
Parenting is the hardest job in the world. And homeschooling cannot happen without good parenting. Most of the objections I hear against homeschooling boil down to parenting. What does that tell you? We don’t have an academic crisis in the world. We have a parenting crisis.
“I could not homeschool. My daughter and I would kill each other.” Really? Do you realize what you just said to me? That you cannot communicate with your daughter, that there are frustration levels so high between you two that have nothing to do with academics and textbooks, and that she has no respect for you. You need family counseling.
“As much as I love my children, I could not be with them all day long.” As much as I love my children, I could not separate from them for seven hours a day in the name of education. I happen to also like my children, beside loving them. There is a difference, you know, between liking and loving somebody.
“I still don’t understand how a parent could do a better job than an army of professionals with a teaching license.” This one may sound like it’s about academics, but it still boils down to parenting. A loving parent knows how their child learns best and tailors education to the child’s learning style. Besides, the efficiency of a private initiative like homeschooling wins over government education every time. Last but not least, have you looked at test scores lately? The proof is in the pudding. Children in public schools do not perform as well as homeschoolers on standardized tests.
To conclude: statistically, in a school setting, children receive about 15 minutes of individual instruction. Period. What they do the rest of the time is baby-sitting. Even if I give them one hour of individual instruction of home, I will have done four times better than a licensed teacher. And then, I can set them free to play all day while I take care of my writing and house and meals. A lot of their activities which seem like play are actually educational and I can easily come up with four hours a day of learning, which is the requirement where I live.
We are under the same roof and I hear their conversations, but I don’t have to interact with them constantly all day long. I get mini-breaks from them throughout the day. I think I can handle the next ten years. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.