Hmmmm….so the topic for the TOS Blog Cruise this time around is “Why did you decide to homeschool?” Well, that is a rather loaded question. First, I have a confession to make: there are days when I (gasp!) think about how much easier it would be to enroll my kids in school and get a 9-5 job. Really…I love my children, and I love being home with them, but there are days when I just DON’T want to do it anymore.
Those days usually go like this: I wake up to find that one (or more) animals has thrown up on the floor…usually I discover this by stepping in it! Then as my angels finally come grumbling out of their bedrooms, and sit down in the kitchen I discover that what WAS their favorite breakfast cereal is now disgusting and they absolutely can NOT stomach eating another bite! What follows is a back and forth that usually ends with me saying “Fine, I guess you’ll just be hungry then!!” (seriously…sometimes I feel like the meanest, most unsympathetic mom in the universe). The day goes on, filled with questions about why something has to be done (math for instance…what is it’s purpose? 🙂 ) and the boys periodically acting like they want to kill each other. By the end of the day, I am exhausted, and I have a messy house, and dinner to cook and things to get ready so I can do all this again tomorrow!! Why am I telling you this? Because I want to make it clear that homeschooling is NOT an easy thing to do. Why do I keep doing it, after days like this? The reason has to do with WHY I started homeschooling in the first place.
Let me take you back to when my kids were born….my husband and I were so excited! I had just graduated college, our oldest son was a newborn, my husband was already a firefighter, and I had my first job as a middle school teacher to look forward to in the fall! We were fortunate to have my grandmother living with us to take care of the baby, so I could be sure he was in good hands while I was gone. I went to work….and promptly found I missed my little boy. I would come home and spend hours grading papers and prepping for school and I felt like my grandma held my boy more than I did. Still, this was how things were supposed to work? Right?
When my oldest started kindergarten, his brother was two. I was still working. We met someone in our neighborhood who said they were going to homeschool their child, who was the same age as my oldest. “Homeschool?” my husband and I wondered, “that sounds crazy!”. As my boys got older, I was fortunate to be able to have them both at school with me. I “felt” like I had the best of both worlds…I was working and earning money, and I still got to be around my kids….in the car, the hallway etc. But a few years later, I started to realize something…the time I spent with my kids revolved around doing homework, eating, taking baths etc. I started to question if I was missing out on something. Around this time, we went to a new church, where several people (including some good friends of ours) homeschooled. The more I thought about it, the more I felt God tugging on my heart saying “Brandy, this is where I want you to be.”
So you would think that after feeling the Lord’s call I would jump right in, right? WRONG! Let’s just say I am a very stubborn woman. I argued, “but what about my college education, did I do all that work just do I could stay home?….and how will we get by without my income?…and what about my students? they need me too!” This conversation between God and me, and my husband went on for a few years! And then it happened…my school had a special Thanksgiving lunch. I was able to get a sub to come to my room so I could eat with my youngest boy (this is the one who is mommy’s baby). We’re eating lunch together, and I start seeing parents of some of my students…I tell my son (who was in 3rd grade at the time), “just a minute, I just have to go talk to so-and-so, I’ll be right back”. Needless to say, I did not come right back. I was so intent on doing my job well, I forgot about being a good mom. I remember looking back at my son, after what had been way too long, and seeing the tears on his face…he just wanted time with mommy. I felt terrible, like a total failure..I was a good teacher…but not a good mom.
I went home that night and prayed for hours. This homeschool thing had been weighing on my heart for years now, and I told God if He wanted me to do it, I would, but I needed him to speak to my husbands heart as well. About six months later, we had some major financial changes in our lives (not necessarily for the positive) and at that time, my husband said, “If you want to homeschool, you might as well do it!” So I did, and I’ve NEVER looked back since. You see, I realize that even on those difficult, frustrating days, I am now a mom who is fully engaged with her children all the time. Yes, in a LOT of ways, teaching full time was less challenging, even with middle schoolers…but I know that kids grow fast, and I already regret missing so much time with my children…I refuse to miss anymore! On those days when things are tough, I remind myself how it felt in that lunchroom when my boy had been so hurt because all he wanted was mommy’s attention.
And of course, our bad days are few, and those moments of giggles and hugs and handholding and love, more than make up for them! So that is why I homeschool. If you would like to see what other crew members have to say about this topic, click here: