For more than 10 years, “homeschooler” was part of my bio. I took great pride in the wow factor of telling people that I had four children and also schooled them at home. What better way to show my dedication to motherhood, than by having my children with me 24/7?? I was basically the patron saint of young mothers with large families (minus the fact that I’m neither dead, canonized, nor a practicing Catholic).
Homeschooling was my thing! By “my”, I mean, the people I spent most of my time around. Honest confession: I never loved it. I loved the affirmation, the time spent with my kids, and the control over their exposure. But the actual responsibility for their education…that wasn’t my fave! First of all, every child has a different learning style. I am a self-motivated, give me a book and I’ll figure it out, type of learner. That doesn’t work for all of my kids. Frankly, I was exhausted trying to utilize teaching styles that incorporated methods that I don’t personally use to learn! Also, I am one of the least patient people I know. I’m pretty much only patient when my expectations are adjusted to expect slow progress, and academics is not an area where that holds true.
When the children’s father and I separated, I felt that I needed to continue homeschooling because they had already face one HUGE life alteration. While sending them to school may have boosted my income (although probably not because there are four of them and one isn’t old enough for school yet), I worried that one more drastic change would cause too much turmoil. So, we soldiered on. The school year following the separation, I enrolled them in an online school. I thought I deserved a break from all of the planning and pressure, after the emotional weight I had been bearing. That worked, until it didn’t.
One day, I was feeling like I could legit end up as a story on one of my favorite podcasts for burning my house down with my children inside, so I called the admin office for the district and asked how to enroll my kids. Plus, my oldest was not doing well with homeschooling anymore. I knew I couldn’t make it work with him, so he needed to go to school. The others were a happy bonus. I’m sure it would make me sound like a better mom if I said I had a hard time handing them over to the public education system, but I didn’t. I’m happy with the amount of communication I have with their teachers (minus the 1st grader, but she’s the one I’d rather stay blissfully unaware about as far as classroom behavior goes). I feel like they’re in good hands, and I’m proud of the little people they are even when I’m not around.
I do not regret the time I spent teaching my littles at home. No matter my motivation, I feel like we all benefited and learned from the experience. The thing with raising children is, they are super resilient and tend to thrive as long as you love and care for them. Basically, you just need to do your best and not be afraid to admit your shortcomings. Even as a mom, you have to know when to call it, and know that your children are better served when you do.