It's 2009 Now

Long time, no post! Nothing much to update. Basement flooded in February (beginning) and we spent the next two months scheduling our lives around contractors and repair people. The boys got in the habit of spending the day avoiding whatever part of the house was being fixed, I got in the habit of letting them. After months of slacking, school has become the Evil Thing that Mean Mom forces on her unwilling subjects. So guess what? I quit homeschooling!!! That's right. I'm selling Sonlight Core 2, all the books, everything and the boys are going to "real" school in the fall. Until then we'll push through the essentials (math, handwriting, language arts).

Of course, I feel like a failure, a fraud. Can't I handle homeschooling one child? Fish isn't really schooling yet and Mud Pie is far from it. Aren't I deficient somehow, that homeschooling is making me hate my home and loathe my children? Shouldn't I *want* to do this so-called best of things for my kids?

I used to be so high and mighty, so judgmental of the moms who said "oh, I could NEVER homeschool " or "it would never work for MY kids." I equated that with Lazy. Selfish. Uncaring. Short-sighted. And for some moms their inclinations against even giving homeschooling a try may be just that. But I have tried, for two years I've tried. I've watched my oldest progress, grow, have fun. I've also watched him wander around our property aimless and bored, beg for another trip to the library because he'd already read his books a mere two days after our last trip, let himself atrophy in areas where he's not naturally inclined because *I'm* not inclined to fight a battle with him. I've also watched myself become ever more frustrated, my wick shortening every day until the very hint of a moan of anti-math protest brings on blood-boiling rage. Which I then stifle until it slips out later, in angry complaints to Dr. D. I've watched him come home wary, never knowing what the day has been like, and me wake up weary, not wanting to face another day playing the role of "School Warden." I've felt shackles hanging heavy and resentment rising and an almost insatiable urge to flee. And here I thought only children wanted to run away from home! And the guilt, heavy, crushing. I yell too much, I have no energy for outings, I have no desire for crafts or activities or even those spontaneous "come sit with me and hear a story!" moments. I'm on empty. From morning 'till night, empty. I'm not the mother I envisioned for my children. I'm failing them, myself.

So... Are moms who choose against homeschooling lazy? Maybe. As are some homeschooling moms. But maybe, just maybe after a day of someone else explaining a fraction, someone else threatening a trip to the office if St. Nick doesn't sit and do his work, maybe I'll have some of me left for a cuddle and a story.

Selfish? Uncaring? Perhaps, as everyone is. Perhaps it's just as much selfishness to hoard my children at home, to keep them from the world because, for some reason, I need them here with me. I don't know. I know only that my children need a mother who delights in them, who adores them and supports them and shares her joy with them. Maybe, just maybe some of my joy will return with some blessed, beautiful rest. My children need a mother intelligent enough to know when to delegate, even if the delegation is not laundry chores, but the instruction of 2+2 and American history, a mother who knows what she needs to be the sort of mother they need. Maybe the true selflessness comes in doing what is best for my children and myself.

Shortsighted? For whom? Will my children spend their lives at my bosom? And perhaps this is the ultimate selfishness, but I wonder: What do *I* do when my children leave? I give the next eighteen years of my life solely to their education, willingly or not, what then? Do I knit and bake and await grandchildren? And what of my daughter? Will my life, my youth given for her education, require her to do the same? What if that's not her desire? I am free to accept these shackles, but I have no right to place them on her innocent limbs. It is easy to say, "you're free to follow your dreams, dear daughter! No door is closed to you!" Yet if I give her no example to follow ... that is truly shortsighted.

I'm no longer a homeschooling mom. At my core, I don't think I ever was. I'm open to changing things up again should the need-desire-necessity require, but until then ....