Column by Krysti Mayer
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Each New Year, we all resolve to do something more with our lives such as improve our state of health, complete a goal or just be a better person altogether. As a homeschooling mom, however, this is the time of year when I truly question why I homeschool.
Although I am dedicated to what I’m doing with my children, there will always be a doubt of my ability to give my children a good education.
“The neighbor kid is already writing essays. Should my child be writing essays?”
“Jan’s son can already do multiplication, but my book doesn’t teach it this year!”
These are common stressors in the heart of a homeschool mom. We live each day wondering if we are doing enough. When Christmas break is over, we begin to wonder if we’ll finish the curriculum by May or June. We begin to think about ordering testing and hope that we have prepared our children well to take the test.
There have been many days for a number of years where I have looked at friends with envy who send their children off to school. There have been many days where I have watched my husband head off to his office and wish I could go with him. There have been many mornings when getting out of bed to “school” my children for the day makes me want to cry. Among the homeschooling community, these are common emotions.
I was recently asked by a friend to volunteer for something because her full-time job prevented her commitment. She thought of me, because I “don’t have a full-time job.” Those words burned a hole through my heart. I guess the grass will always be greener, because in my mind, it would be easier for me to send my kids to school and get a job than to do what I’m doing now.
Homeschooling, or any teaching profession, is a thankless job. Our rewards are certainly not financial, yet we are viewed not as shapers of the future, but as “people who get their summers off.” Once again, that is an opinion from some who have never, or will never attempt to teach a child.
In 2004, when my oldest son was only 3 years old, I got cancer. My cancer is a rare, noncurable cancer that could easily take my life within the next 10 years. My husband and I decided to homeschool our children so that they could have as much of ‘me’ as I could give them – just in case. It was an easy decision for me, because I live each day never knowing how many of their birthdays I will be blessed to see. I never imagined the prejudices, the competitiveness and the stress that homeschooling would bring to my life.
And so here I am, another new year, wondering if I’m doing the right thing. I see my children, not sitting in different classrooms, but bonding as brothers should. My 6-year-old reads me a book that I, and no one else, taught him to read. My oldest son asks if he can bake a cake after lunch, we just had a lesson on cups, pints and gallons…why not? There are no bullies in my house, no playground peer pressure, no labels. To see their happiness, their pride and their creativity, tells me everyday that we are going to be just fine. As long as I am here, they have my lessons on life and I realize once again, how much I truly love my “full-time job.”