This last Tuesday morning as I slept in til after 8 am with my hubby, in our nice warm bed, on a very chilly and wet morning it hit me that it was the first day of school. While mother’s and fathers all over the state jumped out of bed, and rushed their children through getting up and dressed, and fed, and out the door before they missed the school bus, therefore making parents drive them to school, and making parents late for work, I was lounging in bed, enjoying the fact that my children had actually slept past 7 am. I got up, nursed and changed the baby, took a leisurely shower, made bacon and eggs, I burnt the bacon, just so you know, cleaned up breakfast, drank my coffee, (while it was still hot) goofed around on the computer, then sat my kids down for a math lesson. This is the way almost every school day begins. We spend the day together, reading books, reading a chapter out of the Bible, working on our math, laughing when Mom has to go look up on the internet how to do the math, burning bacon, completely messing up a science experiment, and just generally enjoying being TOGETHER.
Do I home school because I think public schools are bad? To a point. I do not believe that our schools are doing their best. I do not believe that a system that allows the funding for public schools to constantly be placed on the chopping block has our children or their futures at the top of their list. But that is not why I home school. Do I home school because I believe I can do a better job then the public school? Again, to a point. Who better to teach my children then the person that loves them the most, and wants to watch them succeed the most? The person that has already taught them to walk and talk, and be nice, and love Jesus, get dressed, take care of themselves, their ABC’s and 123’s, and everything else they learn in their first years. But I also realize that I am not a trained teacher. I will make mistakes, I will do things wrong. But I believe that I can’t do a worse job then public school can. Because even though they are trained, they also will make mistakes and do things wrong. They are only human just as I am. Do I believe that there are good teachers out there? YES! I know, I had quite a few growing up. They put the kids first. They took time to make sure each and every child was succeeding. They LOVED their job. But I also know that ANY teacher has to teach the curriculum. No matter what is in it, or what they believe. And I want to know on a daily basis what my child is learning. I want my child to learn the values I grew up learning. The things that are no longer taught in public schools, where children are bullied, yet can be suspended for giving another student a hug because their friend is having a bad day. I don’t home school because I don’t think my children will get a good education in public school, I home school because I think they will get the wrong kind of education. I don’t want my children to just know how to add and multiply and spell correctly. I want them to know that Jesus is God, and nothing else before that really matters in the end. Does that mean I don’t teach my children math, or spelling. No, because we are to do all things as unto God. And I want to do this right. I want my children to learn that life is hard, but it’s the work that makes it worth living. It’s the seeing the finished math paper, that took hours to complete, and feeling the accomplishment of getting it done, even though it was hard. Or the 100% on the spelling paper. Or the 0% on the paper that they didn’t put effort into. Because I want my children to learn, that if you don’t put time and effort and work into life, you get nothing out of life. And they don’t teach that anymore in public schools. Where it is no longer acceptable to mark a child’s paper with red ink, because it might hurt their feelings. Or to grade papers because one child might get a lower grade then the next. But is this THE reason I home school? Not quite.
Are there days when I think I was insane to choose this road? Yea, a lot actually. Are there days when the house is a mess, and it’s taken one child 6 hours to complete one math lesson?. Yes. Are there days when nothing seems to go right? Oh yea! But there are also days, when a child finally gets a lesson and that light comes on in their eyes, and their face glows with excitement. Or the day one READS a word for the first time. Or recognizes that Daddy’s sweatshirt says the same thing his tee shirt does. Or the evenings we get to spend tickling and playing and watching movies with popcorn, instead of hours of homework and rushing to get dinner done, so they are all in bed on time. Or the day I decide to take my kids to the park, or the Aquarium, and I don’t have to worry about them missing school, because we can always make it up another day. And I fill my camera and my heart with pictures and silly moments, and kids kissing seals through the plexiglass. Those are the days that make the difficult ones worth it. Those are the days I would miss if I sent my kids to public school. Those are the days, that I can never do over, or have again. The hug I wouldn’t of gotten. The smile I wouldn’t of shared. Maybe it’s selfish of me to want those to myself, to be remembered when they are all grown and those special memory building moments come way too rarely. Maybe it isn’t selfish, because my kids will have those same memories. Yes, home school is hard. But there is a quote, If it isn’t hard, it’s not worth doing. And THAT is why I home school.