The Homeschooling 180

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by Laura

A few years ago Eric approached me with a question.  He said, “What would you think about homeschooling?”  Eva was a few years old, and I wondered what made him think of that subject. He told me that he had been reading some books in which the consensus was that parents have the most influence on their children up until age 8-9, so he was hopeful that we might have the maximum influence on Eva and wondered if I would consider homeschooling until 2nd grade.  

My throat lumped up, and I managed to say, “we can talk about that”, knowing full well that in my heart and mind I was pretty dead set against it.  

Homeschooling seemed daunting even though we had done some toddler school at home.

Homeschooling seemed daunting even though we had done some toddler school at home.

There were SO many reservations swirling around.  

  • How would I ever be self-disciplined enough to manage her schooling? I fight daily against lazy tendencies to be a good time manager, so that seemed like an extra war to fight each day. 
  • I wasn’t qualified to teach!  I haven’t spent years learning and practicing teaching styles and compiling resources.  
  • Would my relationship with Eva suffer?  Up to this point our similar personalities often sent both of us into extreme bad moods, and I worried that I would exasperate her so that she wouldn’t respect me.  
  • I wanted her to experience the JOY I had in the public school system.  I loved school dearly and remember vividly my early elementary years.  
  • Would her introverted-ness and anti-social tendencies only increase by staying at home?  I did not want an awkward child who couldn’t relate or interact with her peers.  
  • Selfishly too, I thought, “I’ve poured these years into her life, maybe when she goes to school I can work part time or pursue an advanced degree.”

So, those few years ago I brought these concerns to Eric, and we came to the conclusion that we wouldn’t home school!  Whew! Our decision had a great reason behind it. We gave Eva the name “Evangeline” because we wanted her to be a light in this world, and if we kept that light at home, not interacting with the world around her she might not ever feel comfortable talking to people who are different than her.  She might prefer to remain in the safety or her home/homeschool/Christian bubble.  Done and done. So, onward we went, had Malachi, and moved to the Midwest. 

Eva setting up her play dough balls for her letter of the day work.

Eva setting up her play dough balls for her letter of the day work.

Then we got the Kindergarten Registration packet in the mail.

I thought our Homeschooling conversation was done, and that we had come to a great conclusion about sending her to public school.  Eric was still wrestling though.  

So again, he asked me what I thought about it.  I came back with the same reasons, perhaps more emphatically because now it would be real, not just “what if.”  I spoke to my close friends and told them I couldn’t imagine homeschooling and really did not want to at all.  

I knew Eric and I were divided on this and I knew there were a few potential outcomes.  1.  One of us would do what they didn’t want.  2.  One of us would agree with the other. or 3. We would come to a compromise.  I was definitely holding out for Eric agreeing with me or some sort of compromise.  And to be honest, I was worried–worried that if this was what Eric really wanted, and I agreed to it, I would be bitter about homeschooling. I didn’t WANT to feel that way.

The first time Eva wrote an E to try to write her name. She was 2.

The first time Eva wrote an E to try to write her name. She was 2.

So I devised this plan.  I would get all the Kindergarten materials and homeschool Eva through the summer so that Eric could see that I was horrible at it, that it hurt our Mother-Daughter relationship, and that it wasn’t good for her.  Then, at the end of the summer, I would know what it was really like, Eric would see it, and then we could just keep going with her public Kindergarten plan without any loss.  I felt relieved that I would have given it a shot, and that Eric would see what a silly idea it was.  

It was time to go to Kindergarten Round-Up.  

I read the giant packet that said Eva would begin school at 8:30 and be done at 3:30.  7 hours.  She would be gone for 7 hours, not just one day a week, but every single day.  My heart started to sink thinking of being away from her for that long.  Even though we irritate each other, and stomp, I still couldn’t imagine missing 35 hours of her life every week.  

Now, this is me.  Not your story.  I feel this way. You don’t have to feel like a bad parent if you don’t feel this way, or disagree, or are counting down the days or years until your kids go to school.  My story, my family.  

Back to it.  So, to decrease her time away, we looked into half-day kindergarten.  Not really optional.  

I went to Kindergarten Round-Up and you guys, I walked out of that building knowing that I was going to Homeschool, at least for Kindergarten.  I felt physically sick during the entire Round-Up counting up the hours away from her, and then I remembered I could keep her, and I felt absolute peace about it.  That long list of reservations was not gone, and even our great reason for putting her in public school was not lost, but I was ready to change those from excuses and desires, to concerns and goals to legitimately face.  

You're a keeper Eva.

You’re a keeper Eva.

I can’t even believe the path that my mind and heart have taken this year with Homeschooling.  From being so callous about it, to now being excited.  So, remember when I laid out the options of ways Eric and I would move forward?  Well, I CHANGED!  

Our Homeschool room is almost ready, our curriculum is picked, I’ve interviewed some wonderful parents, and I can’t wait to show it to you. If you are curious, if you are intrigued, or if you might take the Homeschool journey, stop back and see what we’re doing at our home.  These are new faith steps for me, for her, for us.  

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