Why I Think Homeschooling is Not For Me
Once I began questioning what was in my food supply and if our elected officials really had our best interest in mind, I began questioning every thing around me. As a newer mother who has never had to think about putting a child in school, I began to question what I was going to do with Andrew when he became school age.
Personally, school was a mixed experience for me. Elementary was okay, middle school was a little tougher for me when my step-father passed away from brain cancer and high school was the most challenging because I never felt I “fit in.” Sure, many people knew me but I could only relate to a small handful of people. While most teenagers were living life in the fast lane without a care in the world, I was fighting to survive, basically on my own. I was certainly not interested in sitting in class all day, learning about things that did not appeal to my passions. I had a free spirit that was longing to be out in the real world. How I would have given to be home-schooled at the time but my mother didn’t want me to.
Because everyone’s experiences will be different, it’s been difficult trying to figure out what I am going to do with Andrew.
Home Schooling… Is it Really For Me?
Homeschooling has popped into my mind more than a few times and for a while I thought I would home school Andrew. The idea is nice; no rushing in the morning, having loads of free time to encourage curiosity and growth, no mass amounts of homework. Also, the idea of not having the chance of my son being forced certain things on him like vaccines without my consent, being around the terrible food and possibly not getting the attention he may need for school, really makes homeschooling sound like a way better option. I really considered it especially having a close family friend who home-schools her daughter.
But is it for me?
This is a question that has been lurking in my mind even more lately than usual.
Feeling Like I’m Not Reaching My Full Potential
I’ve stayed at home with my son and gave up my passion of teaching people how to dive almost two and a half years ago — it has been incredibly hard for me. As a young mother (19 years old when I got pregnant) who is extremely driven and has a free spirit, being at home and putting my life on the back burner has proven to be a huge challenge for me; mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Although I know I have my whole life to pursue what I want, it still does not stop me from feeling like my fire is burning out inside of me. I’m dying to feel free. I’m dying to feel like I can really let my creative side soar and do great things.
Am I aware that Andrew is young for only a short period of time and I can never get it back? Yes, I am. I do my very best to make sure I soak in every moment of it. However I cannot deny that talking to a toddler all day, each week sometimes makes me go a little stir crazy. Mama needs a little brain stimulation and time to herself. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful and blessed to have this rare opportunity to stay home with my son in his younger years. I am sure there are many mothers out there who wish they could stay at home with their little ones.
However, I still feel like I’m not reaching my full potential and it really eats at me.
Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s because I feel I got robbed of some of my youth and freedom. Or maybe I am just not that kind of mom. And when I say “that kind of mom” I mean it in the most respectful way! Hands down I give so many kudos for mama’s who homeschool their children! Being a SAHM is hard enough, but the responsibility of making sure your child is educated by you, seems huge. I just mean I don’t have that kind of patience. Sure, I have a great deal of patience but I do not think I have the patience needed and required to teach my son everything he needs to know without getting a break for my own mental well being.
Am I aware of how crappy most of the public school system is? Yes, absolutely. But the feelings I feel are real and trying to cope with the constant struggle of putting my son first or my happiness first really eats at me.
If Mama is Not Happy, No One is Happy
Do I suck it up and give my child every bit of my attention and put myself on the back burner until he’s out of school? Or do I find a good alternative school to put him in and pursue my dreams? By putting him in an alternative school I could still be a huge influence with his learning and be there to help him whenever he needs me.
If I choose the second option, am I being selfish?
I’m realizing at the end of the day, if mama is not happy, no one is happy. How can I truly give my son everything he needs if my soul is not 100% satisfied? How can I give out, if I don’t have anything inside? How can I give him the very best, if I am not at my very best?
These thoughts continuously flood my mind as I’m constantly trying to search for the answer.
I would do anything for Andrew and I want the very best for him. Any mom knows the feeling. But I don’t think I could home school him. Maybe that will change 10 years down the road, but right now in order to give Andrew the best, I have to pursue my goals of being the best and it does not include home schooling him. I want to be a good role model for him and lead by example but in order for me to be a good role model, I have got to feel good from the most inner part of my core to the outer layers of my body.
Let me share some of my experiences with homeschooling. I started when my oldest was to start kindergarten….just so she wouldn’t have to get on the bus with all the older kids in our rural neighborhood at 6am. I never looked back. 4 kids later, the oldest graduating Magna Kum Laude, the youngest teaching dance at 16….and me? I learned….right along with them. I asked them now, they being adults, if they ever wished they had gone to school. I get a resounding NO. I compare my family with other homeschooling families and with those who even had their kids in alternative schools. There is a BIG difference in the quality of our lives together and their lives as mature adults. I thank God daily for allowing me to homeschool my kids. I never considered it a sacrifice. I was still able to do what I wanted…to a point…and I took them right along with me. Homeschooling isn’t always about book learning….it is about learning to live life. Yes, to be able to avoid all our society expects of school age children….vaccines, nasty food… Bad social interactions….yes, it is all worth it. Think hard, dear. He is your child. Not the governments. You want the best for him. Bless you.
Congrats and follow those dreams! I am a FIRM believer in the idea that “if mama isn’t happy, nobody is happy.” I also believe one of the best gifts we can give our kids is a role model of a parent living life to the fullest, whatever that looks like for them.
As you know, there are wonderful moms out there who love homeschooling and are completely fulfilled by it. There are homeschooling moms who are very active in public life, whether through employment, volunteering or other activities. I am not one of those moms, despite the fact that I myself never set foot in a public school my entire childhood and was homeschooled all the way until I left for college. I had a great homeschool experience, full of meeting diverse and amazing people, traveling independently and taking on interesting apprenticeships that taught me more about the world than high school ever could have.
I loved being homeschooled. Nonetheless, when it came time to consider for my own life what I wanted, I needed freedom and the ability to spend more time in the “public sphere” instead of the “private sphere,” as communication theory puts it. As I see it, we don’t have many good choices readily and easily available in our modern world – we are all usually forced to choose staying at home or working. I feel families would benefit if both men and women were able to balance their public and private lives a little better. There are lots of breadwinning fathers who would love to spend more time at home too!
My solution? I found a fantastic private Montessori school that does not test and promotes having the children follow their interests. The school was pricey, but I worked out a deal to do some basic marketing work for them in exchange for over half my daughter’s tuition each month. I run a business I love and it gives me the flexibility to take a day off anytime I like, and I can pull my daughter out of school without her getting behind in her work (their curriculum is highly individualized, just like in homeschooling, so she could miss a month and pick up exactly where she left off upon returning). We go on the occasional field trip with homeschool groups in fact, or sometimes just decide to spend a day in the city or at the beach. In between I live the life of a business woman – making deals, calling clients, going to meetings, creating new products and services. I work about 30 hours a week in my business, so there’s still time to get a hot, healthy meal on the table every night, decorate my house, shop for nourishing food, have a social life, and be the best wife and mother I can be. I love the world of business and I find it not only exhilarating, but also my ideal creativity outlet. I am a happier person when I am creating something meaningful, and I personally can only do this in the public sphere. For me, staying at home would make that part of me shrivel up and dry out, and that’s not a choice I would ever want my daughter to make, so I won’t make it for myself.
My life is far from perfect, but my choices have at least allowed me to follow my dreams and model a life of passion and goals for my daughter. I am by no means saying all moms should do this – I believe it is highly personal and different people have different wants and needs. I loved being homeschooled and am so grateful for the experience, but I am a different person than my mom and I am making different choices. It’s not perfect, but it works well for us, and my daughter is learning, happy and talks about what kind of business she wants to design when she grows up so she can be there for her kids but have the “public sphere” activity she sees me engaged in.
Create a life that works for you. Don’t settle for something you know isn’t right – the whole family will suffer as a result. Loving your life is the best gift you can give your kids!
Where is this Montessori school and how did you find it? It does sound ideal.
Thanks for this article! I know it’s not the type of thing you typically write but I appreciate it. I have a baby boy about to become a toddler and with back to school season I have been thinking this over as well. I’m on the exact same boat as you, and I have the exact same reasons. I was 23 when I had my baby, but I hadn’t been married long and was looking forward to pursuing my passions. It’s nice to see someone with the same thoughts as me while still having respect for those that choose to home school. Thank you!
Thank you Liz. It’s hard to express true feelings because often times it’s an easy way for people to be judgmental towards you. It’s easy for people to point fingers and call people names. I hope you find some guidance in your decision and whatever you do decide, that you and everyone else is happy.
Homeschooling is not doing public school at home. It’s not about the parent or the teacher or teaching, it is about your child and his/her spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual, psychological needs and THEIR experience in life, just like it should have been yours, when you felt you would be better off away from a negative or oppressive atmosphere. It’s not about “sucking it up” and denying your talents to be something you are not. It is about respecting accepting your little one as a special little creation that you have the awesome “office” and position of speaking life and love into, and it’s about accepting the challenge to be a part of something even bigger than what we can create on our own. Sometimes it’s more about our own growth and healing than our child’s.
I also had a less than happy time during school, even though I graduated in the top 5%, and had a non-involved borderline narcissistic mother. She even neglected to tell me about starting my period- she said the school told her they would teach me “everything I needed to know”. But, I was totally embarrassed to start it at school and not know wth was going on. Whenever I hear there is a class reunion I always decline to visit the “institution responsible for raising me”. Over the years I have realized that I don’t have to be like her, and I refuse to be like her as she was to me and with me. I have finally found out about “clearing” past trauma (especially with narcissistic mothers) so we don’t have to relive that life ourselves or pass it to our children.
Homeschooling or public/ private school is not like a serious commitment to marry, you can change partners anytime, and even use both. The key is to do what is right for your child, and see what the end result will be- happy, feeling nurtured, wanted, respected and balanced, healed from traumatic memories, is a good thing to turn out into the world. And we have to ask ourselves: what do we want as the product of any education? Just a drone worker? Or a genuine authentic person who can THINK critically, can stand up for what is good and right? Sometimes that can’t be achieved at home (especially with narcissistic parent), sometimes it can’t be at public / or private school. We need to heal from the past, and our children don’t need or deserve the same “I survived it” past as we had! Just my .02.
Wow! Homeschooling is definitively not for you. I’m am shocked by what I read. I think it is a tragedy that Motherhood is not enough to fulfill most women these days. What selfish things to say! I’m glad that your son isn’t old enough to read this, He would feel like such a burden. I could never imagine saying…”putting my life on the back burner has proven to be a huge challenge for me; mentally, emotionally and spiritually.” When you ask… “How can I truly give my son everything he needs if my soul is not 100% ?” I can give you that answer…your soul will never be 100%…EVER! That is just what selfish people say to justifies being selfish. If you are waiting until your every desire and whim is met in order to give your son “everything” than I’m sure it will never happen. I like all of your other posts…but I am shocked by this one. And it makes me sad.
It’s easy to make judgement and criticize someone when you’ve never walked in their shoes. No one should ever be shamed for expressing their feelings (that’s what causes people to shut people out).
I am not a mother (yet) but I think your post is very true and honest, and something that other moms need to hear. Especially when the majority of posts out there are about why you *should* homeschool, or why you should do anything. Mom’s should do the best they can with what they have, and for some homeschooling is not an option. They should not feel inadequate for not living up to anyone else’s standards.
Also, I totally agree that mom’s need to have a happy balance between being a mom and living their own life. There is nothing selfish about that. Of course you put your child first.. but there’s nothing selfish about needing time for yourself. I think having time for yourself is healthy for any relationship.. whether it be with a spouse, child, parent, friend.. etc. As much as you might love someone, I think it is unhealthy for both parties to be together 24/7 without some sort of break.
Don’t feel bad about anyone who tells you otherwise. No one else has the right to judge you.. but I think you’re doing just fine. 🙂
Very well said, Jasmine! Thank you for taking the time to comment and express your thoughts.