When the topic of home education comes up with my non-home educating friends, I often hear one or both of the following statements (primarily from moms): “I could never do that.” And, “I would be concerned about socialization.” I don’t blame anyone for either of these arguments/opinions/thoughts…whatever you wanna call ’em. I mean, these are two major points of contention to explore. Along with the aforementioned concerns, my friends or acquaintances usually follow up with something like, “You go, girl.” or “You’re a better person than I am. My kids wouldn’t listen to me.” But what they probably want to say is, “You’re crazy. What the he– are you thinking?!“
For simplicity’s sake, let’s just pretend I’m not completely nuts…I know, it’s a stretch. Perhaps reading on is pointless. But if you can manage to suspend disbelief for a moment, read on…
Regarding the “I could never do that” statement, I thought the same thing and believe me, my children’s very lives were spared for their first 5 and 7 years because of that reality. So I get that argument…still wrestle with it. I get that it’s hard to come to the conclusion that perhaps it may actually be possible to home educate. I’m not saying it’s the right thing for every family. Actually, what I am in awe of are teachers (real people, even…I know many of them) who find it possible to spend 180 days in a classroom of 20-30 kids year after year. Now THAT’S
nuts…er…uh special! Seriously, if so many people can make a career out of teaching dozens of kids for years on end, me teaching [my] two kids in the comfort of our home doesn’t seem so unbelievable.
That leads to another stem of this branching debate…okay so maybe this is just my own personal debate…with myself. When your kids are off at school and you and/or your spouse have left for work, do you feel like that’s the only time sanity is restored to your home…you know, when no one [else] is home? Why is that? For me, it has a lot to do with my expectations…of my family and myself. I don’t want my kids to be disappointed in me as a parent or in themselves. I don’t want them to see that we’re not perfect. I’m really in need of quite a bit of chiseling…jack hammering, really.
Okay, the fact that these are MY kids does have its set of issues. But it’s the “my kids wouldn’t listen to me” argument that seems to be where many naysayers hang their hats on the home education discussion. I’m not pointing fingers; I’ve been one of them. I also think I don’t want to disappoint my kids (by saying “no”, for example). And if I do that long enough, it becomes me not wanting to face my kids’ disappointed/inappropriate response, so I give in and the cycle continues. And then it has the potential to become a matter of my kids not being prepared for real life.
When things at home don’t go according to plan, disappointment lurks around the corner waiting to swallow its next victim. That disappointment can lead to all kinds of other ugly stuff.
So where’s my hope as a parent, spouse, and friend? Part of it is in admitting that, when I live in close, consistent, quality contact with others, I’m choosing to run headlong into challenges, chaos and maybe even insanity at times. Point is, I can’t escape every disappointment or tragedy, really. But I can often choose my response. And I need more practice at that. How I’m getting that practice right now is through this crazy thing called home school.