I am poised to send my local government a letter stating my intention to homeschool my children this year. The thought may have run through my head a few times recently about sending them off to a collective education system instead of carrying this work alone.
Last year, we watched the school bus stop at the end of our street once every morning, once at lunch, and once again mid-afternoon. My kids would wave to the neighborhood children as they got on. I might have stared, occasionally, at the mothers as they turned away from the bus to go back into their quiet houses, or into their cars to go shopping, solo, or went off to be paid for worrying about someone else's problems. Maybe, sometimes, I might have sighed as I turned, drooling baby on hip, to attend to the dishes in the sink, the toddler pulling baby wipes out of the box in long tendrils, the preschooler who lived in the sandbox, and the kindergartener who would rather drillzaq1kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkklkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkikkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk,kkkkkkkkkkkkk,kkkkk,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkvkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk,,,,...
(I've decided not to edit that out. I didn't fall asleep on the "k" button. Someone really did take over the keyboard while I was called away for a moment. You get the point.)
Why do I bother to homeschool? Good question. There are several reasons I can think of that you wouldn't want to.
1. You are not on speaking terms with the local librarian.
2. You can't tolerate science experiments sitting around the kitchen.
3. You highly value a clean quiet house.
4. You don't think maps of the ancient world are appropriate dining room art.
5. You aren't willing to repeat mnemonic types of childish songs ad nauseam.
6. You are actually more efficient without maintaining a schedule.
7. You'd rather have someone else teach your son about the birds and the bees.
8. You won't horde toilet paper tubes and random buttons for potential art projects.
9. You can't shamelessly discuss curriculum and potty training in the same post on Facebook.
10. You aren't willing to face your glaring ineptitude and lack of knowledge on an hourly basis, further humbled by the fact that your five year old often has a clearer understanding than you.
11. You'd be abhorred to pencil a little brother's visit to the doctor in as a field trip.
12. You aren't willing to be interrupted. Constantly.
13. You wouldn't discuss ancient Greek history while simultaneously doing dishes and wearing a baby.
14. You don't see physics at work at the playground, arithmetic problems everywhere at the grocery store, or diaper changing time as health class.
15. At recess, you couldn't fathom going out to weed the garden.
16. You wouldn't treat your kid's birthday as a school holiday.
17. You would never do math class in pajamas.
18. If your day is going horribly wrong, you wouldn't call an impromptu field trip to the frog pond.
19. You can think of another excuse to leave a raw egg in a jar of vinegar for a week.
20. You wouldn't discuss classroom discipline with your school's principal over chocolate ice cream. Really late at night.
21. You can't stand reading those old Caldecott winning children's books.
22. You expect to have free time or need personal space.
23. You believe that God has different plans for you and your family.
Because, if He does, you should do them.
There are plenty of (better) reasons not to homeschool besides these few I could come up with.
Sometimes I thank God He allows me the privilege of molding my children educationally. Sometimes I plead with God to allow me to entrust this part of their growth to someone else. For us, for now, we pray and pray and go on homeschooling. God calls us to train up our children, and reading, writing, and good old math fall into that category until further notice.
And you know what?
I see a lot of tears, but I get a lot of hugs.
It challenges me to be intentional about the little things all over again.
Because they won't be little forever.