Crazy About My Kids!
- Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I wish I had a dime for every time I've heard another mom say, "Oh, I could never homeschool my kids. That would never work for us." I've heard a myriad of excuses: "My child doesn't listen to me"; "My kid and I just can't get along"; "I don't think I could stand to be with my kids all day." I know every excuse, because I used to give them myself. Whenever someone asks my children where they go to school and my children say that they are homeschooled, the response is usually, "Oh. . ." And then the attention turns to me. The looks I get from people speak very loudly—they say, "You must be crazy!" And then come the comments.
Sometimes the response I get is a patronizing one: "That's wonderful. You must be a saint." Some even go as far as saying, "I wish I could do that." But then the excuses start. It never fails. The worst part of it all is that I get those same comments and excuses from Christians! Church leaders, worship leaders, and even children's ministry workers invariably make those same comments and give the same excuses. Homeschooling is definitely not the norm—in the world or in the church.
I was a product of our nation's educational system—from grades K - 12, college, and then as a public school teacher. I used to think homeschoolers were crazy, too! I actually believed that homeschooling was a form of child abuse because the children were kept from mainstream society and peers. Well, that was before I had children of my own. My oldest child went to public school through the 2nd grade; and with each passing day, my husband and I became more and more unhappy with the "education" our son was getting at school. I couldn't stand the thought of my child not being able to go to the bathroom when he needed to because it wasn't "bathroom time." I was incensed when I found out that lunchroom monitors would call for "silent lunch" if they thought the children were getting too loud. The children were being herded around like a bunch of livestock. I hated knowing my son was being treated like that. That was when we made the decision to homeschool.
I remember feeling as if I needed to explain myself and my reasons for homeschooling to everyone I met. I would explain to the cashier at the grocery store that I homeschooled my children (who were out in the middle of the day) and that we would be hitting the books as soon as we got home. I felt safer at the library because homeschool families are fairly commonplace there.
As time went by, I became more and more relaxed. I realized that homeschooling really brought a great deal of freedom to our lives. We could go places and do things during the day when there were no crowds. We didn't have to hurry. We could talk about whatever we wanted, stop and look at whatever we wanted, and open a book whenever we wanted. After a while it became evident to me that homeschooling was much easier and more relaxed than "real school." I hear other moms complain about the amount of homework they have to help their kids get through each night. Families miss Wednesday evening activities at church because of needing to complete school assignments. Not only that, but oftentimes the projects that these kids are doing leave me wondering, "Why? What's the point?"
Homeschooling became a way of life for my family, not just a way to "do school." Equipping my children for successful, productive lives became my purpose. Over time, I also became more and more comfortable just being with my children. I found out that I actually enjoyed being with them. We could carry on intelligent conversations without the word "whatever." We could read enjoyable books together. We could spend sunny afternoons outside together. Dare I say—I could have fun with my children!
I must be crazy indeed. What kind of mom spends time with her own kids when she doesn't have to? Isn't it bad enough to have them home in the summer? And what kind of mom enjoys doing things for her kids? What kind of woman really likes being a housewife—planning meals, doing laundry, being home all day with rotten kids? I don't know who would want to be with rotten kids all day, but isn't it a mom's job to teach her children to be pleasant and respectful? Aren't we supposed to help our children be people that we like? Don't we want our daughters to be lovely in word and deed, and don't we want our sons to be thoughtful and courageous? How can we ever expect anyone else to enjoy being with our children if we can't even stand to be with them?
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