Why Do You Homeschool?

The response I hear most often when people find out that I homeschool our three kids is, "I could never do that.  I mean, how do you do that?"

It starts with a discontented kind of feeling.  Moms know what I'm talking about.  Something isn't quite right.  You run around circles in your mind until you can pinpoint it.

It's not like when you step on a carpet tack. You know immediately what has happened and you swallow a curse word and just move on.

It's like the first few warm days of summer and the temperature in you house has slowly crept up past your comfort zone.  You can go quite a while being a little warm and then suddenly you're cranky and sweaty and it dawns on you that you need some relief.  You turn on the A/C.

Likewise, you start the year with a fresh batch of school supplies.  Yay!  New faces.  Recess.  Smelly cafeteria, shoes are too small, son has strep, son has scarlet fever, need to bring in 30 matchbox cars in different colors for a project, daughter has strep, son has strep again, need to paint my face and hair for spirit day tomorrow, nearly 2 hours of homework, son has stomach flu, pukes in van, come to the assembly and watch me get a certificate, help my class make ghost cookies, daughter has lice, help my class my turkey cookies, need to bring in 30 tiny (inexpensive) gifts, daughter has lice again, need to bring in 30 gender-neutral valentines, but call them "friendship cards."

Then an older kid on the bus shows your daughter a picture of a "Camel-toe" from his smartphone.

Now you're sweaty. 

You have a talk with the teacher, assistant principal, and bus driver.

Then your five year old forgets to get off the bus after school and the bus driver doesn't notice.  He is very sad.

Then your in-laws are visiting, and at the dinner table your daughter asks,"What's a camel-toe?"

You cannot figure out how to turn on the A/C.  Your entire family is starting to suffocate.  You'll do anything to make things better, even homeschool???

To be fair, my kids went to a great school.  Their teachers were kind and very good at their jobs.  Their bus driver was apologetic.  They were both doing extremely well academically and had lots of friends. 

Then one February morning, my daughter would not get out of the car in the drop-off line.  She had been increasingly more upset every morning of the school year.  I had to physically carry her onto the playground and watch her cry while I drove away...  The next day we pulled them out of school for good.

I rationalized that if it was a terrible mistake they would really only be missing 3 months of regular public schooling and they could easily be re-enrolled the following fall.

Then my kids starting playing together and building forts and digging in the mud.  We baked clay houses and visited the park.  I didn't have to rush everyone through breakfast.  Our days became so incredibly enjoyable.  We talked about sentence diagramming and measured friction and I read them stories in French.  They swam in the middle of the day.

Somehow spending more time together made us happier, not more stressed.  My friends in the neighborhood were shocked.  They knew that I struggled with a mood disorder and wondered why I would have chosen to homeschool, of all things.

There is no short answer to that question.  I am not anti-public schooling.  I adored school when I was a kid.  There were also no quarterly standardized tests or fundraisers, and very few assemblies, or class parties in the 80s.

Why do we homeschool?

We started to escape the chaos that public school brought into our household.  We continue because I cannot deny the success of what we are doing at home right now.  We are calmer, happier, and do not rely on the carrot-or-stick approach to learning any longer. 

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