If I were to meet you on the street today, I would introduce myself as Heather, stay-at-home/homeschooling mom of my daughters who are six and three. You would ask me my thoughts on the public school system and about my choice to keep them home, then about my method of teaching, and the curriculum I use. I would smile and say all the right things. I would tell you just how much I love it, how passionate I am about being their teacher, and how confident I am that this is the right choice for my family.
But that wouldn’t really be the truth.
You see, more often than not I have no idea what I am doing. I second guess every decision. Homeschooling was never something I imagined myself doing, so I wonder how I got to this point, and what I was thinking. And some days I allow myself to dream about that big yellow bus pulling up in front of my house and taking my children away for the next six hours.
I love my girls dearly, of course. But the days are long, and the weeks are hectic. And I rarely get a few minutes to think, let alone have a conversation with another adult. We have days that we wake up early, get dressed and into our school room right away. And then we have others where I realize we are still in our pajamas at noon and I haven’t even opened a workbook or answered a single question.
Guilt and fear are par for the course in motherhood, but in my life, they are exacerbated by being primarily responsible for my children’s education. I believe that right now they learn so much through play, and have a natural curiosity to explore the world around them. But secretly, I worry that I am not smart enough to teach them all they need to know. I question whether my methods really are the best. And I’m afraid that I am doing them a huge disservice by not exposing them to a more structured learning environment.
As I start asking myself questions, I become riddled with the fear that while homeschooling is what I want for my girls, I might not be cut out for it.
But then…something miraculous happens.
My youngest daughter will count to twenty, correctly read the letters of a sign as we pass by, and ask for her mountain of books at bedtime. My oldest daughter will flawlessly name the planets, sound out letters, and proudly find Italy on the world map. They will ask for more rhyming games and sight words. They will demand just one more sheet of school work. They will run to their dad when he walks through the door, eager to tell them what they learned about that day. And they will beg to have school on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays.
And in those moments, I realize that something is working!
So a more accurate representation of the truth is that I am a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom of two. It is harder than I expected it to be. I don’t know if I am making the right choices all the time. But my children are learning! And they are loving it!! And that hunger for knowledge is exactly what I wanted to instill in them all along.