When I began homeschooling in 1989 I had big dreams, soaring expectations, and two children to mold into upstanding citizens. Twenty three years later I find that I have four graduates and my last homeschooling moment will be sometime in May of 2020.
If I live.
I never really expected to be homeschooling for this long Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but I have found in my lifetime that most of my life is made up of things I never expected strung together with a few pretty predictable moments. One of the benefits of hanging in there this long is that people tend to believe I know more than I do and I have the unique ability of being able keep things in long term perspective.
The down side is that there is no such thing as a retirement fund for the homeschool mom. The benefits are immeasurable, however.
If you are just starting out or even a few years in to your homeschool journey you have to know that it is worth it. It really is.
Sure you are going to have those days when the kids never get out of pajamas, the cereal bowls are still on the table at dinner time (and the contents have developed into a cement like substance that you are sure can only be removed by men is HAZMAT suits with large, gasoline powered tools) and the majority of what was learned is that chocolate syrup mixed with oatmeal and kosher salt and then poured over big brotherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s new, expensive math book will make mommy claim that it is a parent teacher conference day and go back to bed. With vodka.
Not that that has ever happened in my house.
All in all those days, while giant to you at the time, are mere dandelion fluffs in a tornado. They have no substance and they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t last except as stories told around the dinner table years later amid much laughter.
The truth of the matter is that homeschooling your children, whether for a year or a lifetime, is time invested in the most important thing ever Ã¢â‚¬â€œ your relationship with your child.
I can remember when it seemed that I was the biggest failure as a mom that ever paged through a TobinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Lab catalog. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s because we compare the worst moments in our lives to the best moments in other peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lives and wonder why we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t measure up.
The benefit of homeschooling forever is that I can look at my four oldest and see success Ã¢â‚¬â€œ theirs and mine. One has a family and is a brilliant photographer, two have military careers, and one is in college doing very well on an art degree. None of them have become serial killers or terrorists, and really if you are going to count your successes avoiding raising those two types of children is high on the list of success, right?
Now I have learned to really compare myself to the conventional school system. When I get upset I Google how many serial killers have graduated from a conventional school. Then I count how many of my children are serial killers.
Whoa! I totally did better than the entire public school system Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even with all of my tax money that they squandered.
Silly? Sure it is. Plenty of kids have graduated from the public school system with honors and gone on to become important people. My point is, though, that if I am going to look at the best of what comes from there I need to also look at the worst of what comes from there.
Cut yourself some slack. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give up. Enjoy the time you have and 23 years down the road give me a call. I am willing to bet that you feel the same way.
How long have you homeschooled, if you do?
photo credit: Erynne Nicole Photography