When I dreamed of being a mom, part of that dream always included sending my kiddos off to school when they turned five. And sadly when I was a new mom and when things got hard I couldn’t wait for my kiddos to turn five so I could send them to school. Being a mom is HARD work and I don’t think I was fully prepared for that. You guys know what I mean, right? The endless loads of laundry, the never ending “I’m hungry!”, the sicknesses that seem to come in never ending cycles. And the whining!!! Oh the whining!!! I could go on and on. But I’ll save you the PTSD that I’m sure is resurfacing in all you moms that have been there.
I never had the intention of homeschooling. In fact when I was pregnant with our first, my husband told me that his sister was planning on homeschooling and I thought what in the world could she be possibly thinking. We were going to have crazy, “unsocialized” nieces or nephews. Sorry Rebecca! I was so, so wrong!
So when my oldest daughter turned four, I enrolled her in preschool because the world told me that my child would fall behind and would be socially backward if I didn’t. Everybody else was doing it and I didn’t want her to be “weird.” So I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of money to get her off on the right track. And I also couldn’t wait for all this extra free time I was going to have with one child out of my hair. I cringe even typing that now. It hurts my heart!
During that year though I started to notice something. My life wasn’t any less stressful!! Go figure! With getting her up early in the morning even though she might have needed more sleep, to having to wake up the baby to get her to preschool, life was anything but simpler. Add to that dance classes and singing classes and we were constantly running around. I also started to notice a change in her attitude. She was picking up on things from her peers that I wasn’t so thrilled with.
Every so often during that year homeschooling would pop into my mind, but I thought there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks that I would be able to do that. Again, I was so, so looking forward to this “free” time when she was in school.
Once her preschool year was over and we started summer vacation, I immediately thought, ”now I’m going to have to entertain her”. Again, hurts my heart to say that. She’s my child and I couldn’t imagine having her home for an extended period of time? During the summer, homeschooling kept popping into my head again and again and I kept pushing it aside. One interesting thing I began to notice was that my two oldest girls were fighting more this summer than I had remembered them having done in the past. Weird, I thought! But I chalked it up to late summer nights and they were just tired. Little did I know that they were getting used to not having each other around and were forgetting how to get along, a common complaint I hear from families that public school.
Summer started to come to a close and kindergarten registration was getting closer and closer. For some reason that was making me very uneasy, but like before I pushed those feelings aside.
On the morning of kindergarten registration though something happened. I woke up with every intention of going to register her. I went to go get into the car and there was a very literal force that would not let me open the door to leave. I know that sounds uber crazy. But’s that’s the best way I can describe it. It was right then that I realized I could not ignore this prompting anymore. I called my husband and told him we were going to homeschool. His reply was “Well, it’s just kindergarten. If it doesn’t work out she won’t be missing much!” That reply said so much to me. If it wasn’t such a big deal to not send my kid to kindergarten then why do we feel so much pressure to do so?
So that is where it started. In the years following that decision I have encountered a LOT of criticism and even more questions. But what I have heard most is women telling me that they CAN’T do it. They CAN’T homeschool. Let me tell you now that you CAN. Will it be easy? Heaven’s no!! Will you want to give up? Yes you will!! But is it worth it? 100% YES IT IS!!!
I hope that while you read this you didn’t feel any sense of judgement, but rather a sense of courage. Homeschooling takes courage and a lot of heart. I whole heartedly believe that homeschooling is up to each individual family to decide, but I want to instill is that if you have any desire to educate your children at home and you continue to tell yourself you CAN’T, just know that you CAN! So many people out in the world do homeschool and the only thing different about those of us that homeschool and those of us that don’t is that we took that step and said I CAN and then we went and DID!