I'm very thankful that one thing home-schooling has brought into my life is a lot of awesome mom friends. In general, they seem to be very intelligent, conscientious, caring, deep thinkers.
So, I'm not sure why it is that every time I am in their company I have an irrepressible urge to start up a conversation about how much I dislike home schooling.
It's as if I think the minute I enter their presence, I have actually made it to group therapy.
"Hello. My name is Emily. And I don't like to home school."
You can only imagine how popular this must make me with a bunch of women who have a deep conviction that educating their children at home is not only the best way to teach their kids, but also their calling. I'm sure that given the general public perception that home-school moms are a bunch of jumper-wearing, ultra conservative nut jobs that what they are dying to hear when they have opened up their homes for some much-needed social time is another mom listing every reason she dislikes home schooling.
OK. I somewhat jest because I really only have a few home-school mom friends who seem to be totally passionate and sold-out about what we do. Most others, to some degree, have chosen this path because it seems better than the other options (for us). We certainly wouldn't wish it upon anyone else.
We consider each morning a daily struggle to die to every selfish desire of what we would want to do with our brains. We have given up on the hope of ever having a clean house. We don't think about participating in play groups with younger kids or going to coffee while the kids are in school or going to the gym in the morning. We avert our eyes when we see all of the Facebook posts from public school moms complaining that Christmas break is too long or dreading an institute day.
I know it's the time of year.
Just as in any school, our subject matter has grown more difficult than it was a few months ago. The kids are struggling to get through their work.
The short days, cold air and gloomy skies make it difficult to find a break to just get some fresh air. Sometimes we don't leave the house for days on end. Don't leave.
It gets increasingly difficult to stay focused after lunch. I long for naps and want to scrimp on writing assignments.
And that's when I question everything. "Am I asking too much or demanding too little?"
"How would my kids stack up in public school? Or in private school?"
"Am I focusing too much on one thing and letting them get by with too much in others?"
I get tired of asking them to focus. Stop talking. Stop making a beaver face at your sister.
Stop doing that crazy dance during our geography songs. No. Wait. Can you guys do that crazy dance during the geography songs?
I get tired of trying to occupy the baby so we can read. I just want to sit and play with her for an hour and enjoy her instead of having to brush her aside so we can get everything done. I want to ignore the curriculum, and go build a snowman. But I'm plagued by the mathematic fact that we have more lessons left in the math book than we have days on the school calendar.
I want to be the mom who hands out cookies and hugs when my kids come home after a long day. Instead, I'm the person who has required the long day.
I don't want to constantly repeat myself, but if I don't, the house erupts into chaos. One child is trying to do front handsprings off the ottoman. Another is dressed in a Prince Caspian costume doing target practice with his toy crossbow. The baby is throwing all of the CDs on the floor, and I am letting her because she's happy.
I look forward to the end of the school day as much as the students do.
Thankfully, our saving grace is all of our awesome home-school friends. Both the kids and moms alike are people you love to spend time with. And thankfully, we can make time to spend with them.
Now, let's just hope spring arrives before I bring up that darned topic one more time.
"Hello. My name is Emily, and..."
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