Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mommy Guilt: Homeschooling Edition

So I have been working really hard on overcoming my Mommy Guilt.  Then I came across a blog post from MckMama about why they decided to homeschool.  And it all came flooding back.

I have thought about homeschooling before, and I certainly agree with many of the reasons why so many people do.  I mean, I get it.  But we have decided that it is not for us.  And then I read MckMama's reasons and I feel all...OMG I AM THE WORST MOM EVER.

*sigh*

But I know that's not true. I know that.  But you know that feeling of why I can't I be that kind of Mom that haunts you?

The Mom who just loves her children oh so very much that she can't stand to be away from them for one single minute.

The kind of Mom that doesn't want other people to teach her children lest they do it wrong.

The kind of Mom who wants to be involved with every single learning moment that their child has.

The kind of Mom that thinks her children poop rainbows and sunshine.

I know, not every homeschooling/unschooling parent is like that last one.  Just like every homeschooling mom doesn't wear a denim jumper with an apple crochet on the front.  It's just my self conscious "I'm not good enough" self pity attitude speaking.

So I remind myself of the things that I do do for my children that makes me a great Mom.  Like laugh really hard at typing do do and thinking doo-doo and then not fixing it.

...ANYWAY....

We do teach our children at home.  As often as possible, in many situations.


We engage with our children regarding their school work.  We certainly don't expect the school system to do all of the teaching.  And we don't leave all the work to the teachers.

We teach our children responsibility with real world consequences.

Our children see first hand the differences in families, cultures, religions, value systems...and we teach them about those differences, about how to value them, about how to stand up for what they believe amongst it all and and about loving, not judging.

We encourage creativity and my boys are some of the most imaginative children I know.  Right now, after playing a rousing game of guitar hero, they are imagining they are on a Rock Band World Tour.  They are using a map to decide which part of the world they will tour next and what songs will work best for those cultures.  I may have just heard the phrase "that's not appropriate for that culture" used. (SO PROUD)  Followed by "what's culture mean?"  Followed by an inspiring explanation of culture by a 9 year old to a 5 year old.  Also, "WOW, this stage really needs to be more organized, let's sort it all out."  And, my favorite, "God music is appropriate for ALL cultures.  So let's just do an all God concert."  (I might die from the cute.)

See? Homeschooling.

I realize that people who homeschool can also teach their children these lessons in different ways.   And I think that's awesome.  FOR THEM.  Not every idea, every way of doing something, is right for every person or family.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

I do enjoy the time while my boys are at school.  And I'm not going to feel guilty for that.  I refuse to.  I also miss them and when they return home, we have a long oh-how-I missed-you hug before the chaos ensues and I wonder how long before they get to go back.  (I tease, I tease...or not...depends on the day.)

That doesn't make me a bad Mom, it makes me a REAL Mom.

We didn't rush our boys out the door for school.  I have not put my boys in preschool.  Chandler, our oldest, did go for one year before kindergarten for three days a week.  He loved it.  It worked for that time in our lives.  But our other boys have not and I've kept them all in half day kindergarten as well.  I know they will be gone all too quickly, all grown up, away from me for too many hours in the day.  And that really does make me sad.  It equally makes me happy in a way though, too.

They are learning, making friends, enjoying school (my kids love school, so far, I'm really lucky about that).  I am home, with a bit more time to try new recipes, get the house for real clean instead of fake clean, and maybe one of these days actually learn how to sew.  (Like for real sew, not having to call my Mommy for help, kind of sew.)

Yes, I'll have time for ME.  I might even take a nap.  Maybe that makes me selfish.   But that's ok.  I can deal with that.  I spent a whole lot of years forgetting what the word ME even meant as I breastfed, changed diapers, learned how to make everything from scratch, taught my boys the alphabet and how to write their names and then promptly wiping the crayon off the wall....so many years...wonderful as they were, I am excited to get a break. 

So sue me.

I am not the mom who can do all of those things and have my children at home.  I mean, I can, I just don't want to.  I'd rather be playing Just Dance with my favorite five year old than wiping the toilet.  Having the boys home distracts me.  The weekends are spent playing and lounging and loving.  When everyone is home, that is all I want to do!  So having them gone for a few hours during the day certainly increases my productivity! 

To the moms who do all of those things and homeschool?  I hate you.  I admire you.  Good for you!  Go for it!  You are a TRUE supermom!  I think homeschooling is awesome for those of you who can make it work.

I guess I just need to accept that I am just not that kind of Mom.  And I'm slowly coming to accept myself for the Mom I am.

I love this post called "Choosing Public School in a Faith Filled Home" and I wanted to share it with you.  I agree with many of her insights about why they choose to send their children to public school.  I think the biggest one I relate to is the idea that I will not be able to always meet my children's academic needs.  I feel so very ill-equipped for teaching my children.  I mean, I can do the easy stuff, but I think Chandler who is 9 years old and a very advanced learner is already smarter than me. (Totally wish I was joking.)  

I will teach my children everything I can at home and let the learning they do at school supplement what I miss.  

That feels good to me.

I still have one little guy at home.  A few more months until all of my kids are in school.  And I'll be honest, (I can be super-duper no one is going to judge me honest, right?)

I dread the day he goes to Kindergarten.

And also?

I am so looking forward to the day he goes to Kindergarten.

AND THAT'S OK.

Please say it's ok.

17 comments:

  1. I love this:
    I will teach my children everything I can at home and let the learning they do at school supplement what I miss.


    Love it. My little one is picking up so fast I am scared to let someone else influence him! Thankfully I have a few years before I worry about schooling, but I really loved this post. Thank you!

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  2. Every family has to do what they decide is best for them. That is what makes a happy home. We can not be good at everything and the world tells we should be. Pick and choose what you do best, we are not all great teachers, we are not all great cooks, we are not all great ____ you can all fill in the blank.

    My kids were better off with a happy mommy that didn't teach them school stuff...I taught them all the other stuff :)

    www.paperflora2.blogspot.com
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/PaperFlora
    http://twitter.com/PaperFlora2

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  3. followed your link from twitter. I like this. I sometimes feel guilty, too, for not missing my kids every minute they're away from me. But then I let that guilt go, because really. Guilt is for chumps.

    My kindergartener is in public school and we have been thrilled with it. I think you're absolutely right that all of us -- homeschoolers, public schoolers, all of us - we're all teaching our kids when they're at home. But I personally, am grateful for what he's learning at school, too.

    Glad I popped over here. :)

    -elizabeth (@claritychaos)

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  4. YOU ARE A GREAT MOM! (Now repeat that at least 10 times a day while looking in the mirror)

    My advice to you is to quit reading blogs about ladies who homeschool. When my children attended school, I felt guilty ALL THE TIME. I was friends with homeschoolers, I went to church with homeschoolers, and every time I saw them, I felt guilty.

    God finally told me that I was where I was at FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. Embrace where you are at and make the most of it.

    If my kids were still in elementary school, we would probably not be homeschooling. If something ever happens and they have to go back to school, I will be okay with that.

    Don't compare yourself. God made you a special mommy for those children and they need you to be the best mommy for them. You know what your children need. Comparing yourself to others only makes God look like He doesn't know what He is doing and that is SO not true!

    You are doing a great job for your family! (oh and by the way, I am jealous of your me time)! LOL

    Blessings!

    Jennifer

    www.jennifersikora.com

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  5. I have a lit of the sameconcerns that you do and I DO homeschool. Homeschooling is defintely not for everyone and I do miss the chance to just have the house to myself and just get things done but this life works for us. All I can say is thank God for grandparents in VA that wil take the kiddie weeks at a time during summer and (because we homeschool) sometime at other times in the year. Every mom needs to be at peace with the decision they make and not feel guilty about. I don't think you are a bad mom, knowing your limits makes you a great mom

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  6. I had the same thoughts as I read MckMama's post (and that's how I ventured here). I have to say I feel like I was the one writing this as I was reading it! I completely agree with you!! I love everything you have to say. My boy is only 1 years old, but 5 will be here sooner than we think and school is something to think about for the future! I'm with you, "I dread the day he goes to Kindgarten. And also? I am so looking forward to the day he goes to Kindergarten." :-)
    I can't tell you how much I love this post. THANK YOU!

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  7. Hi! I found your blog through Mckmama, and I am glad I took the time to sit down and read this post.
    I suffer from the mommy guilt. Here in our area, semi rural, you have three choices for your kid's education. You either go to public school, go to the really nice charter school (if you qualify), or homeschool. I have friends who fall into each group. For me, my daughter goes to public school. Although she is only in kindergarten, I struggled with what to do with her. My two best friends homeschool and they did not pressure me, but I felt the guilt on my end. When I decided to put my daughter in public school I also decided to be super involved with the school by volunteering and serving on the PTO board. I guess that is my way of feeling like I am real player in her education.
    I love what you say about having the time during the week to get your things done around the house and then the weekends you can just enjoy your family. I have my five year old(who has gone to school since she was 3), and boy/girl 16 month old twins. I have the time to get things done while they nap, which is nice. If my five year old is here, for some reason I get nothing done.(-:
    I think one of the biggest things I struggle with is feeling like I am giving my kids the option that is the easiest for me and not necssarily the best choice for them. But my daughter has done wonderfully this year and loves to go to school and loves the kids and the interaction that she has with kids every day.Yes, it does make my life easier, but I feel she is getting all she needs right now, so it was a good choice.

    So, I just wrote all that to say that I can totally relate.I feel it. It is so stressful to live up to all that we have to measure up to being moms these days.
    Guess that is why I like blogs, you can connect with other moms and know you are not alone! I am not a faithful blogger. I got hooked on Facebook and slacked on my blogging. I am going to try and get back to it!!(-:
    Take care and thank you for the wonderful post, so glad I am not the only one that deals with this issue.

    Hannah

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  8. Good for you for having the courage to post this! I don't mean to be blunt, but any mom among us who doesn't admit we feel guilty about SOMETHING we do is simply not being honest. It can be difficult in the "bloggy world" (just as in the real world) not to compare ourselves constantly. But, as Jessica over at lifeasmom.com is fond of reminding me..."Don't compare your insides to her outsides." Great post.

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  9. our son will not be home schooled, I think the best thing they learn in school is social skills and w/ out those they can not survive in the world. My son is finishing his first year in preschool and for him it was the right choice he has learned so much and has become so independent!

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  10. Well, that's a good start... learnings at home is badly needed in nourishin' a child...

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  11. My mom tried homeschooling me for a year, it didn't work out--I was more stubborn at 5 than she was at 32. So they put me in school. My aunt on the otherhand homeschooled all 5 of her children-I think it depends on what works for the family. My husband & I are now in the middle of what will be a 5 year debate on whether or not we do Christian private schools (I did 1-12) or public schools (his mother was a public school elementary prinicipal for 25 years)...It gets pretty heated & I just expect it to get even more heated as the time inches closer to the baby going to school!

    I think your mommy guilt is a great sign you love your kids! I'm a new follower! Thanks for letting me know about how you approach online security!

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  12. Loved your honesty in your post. My kids are one and two. Right now I plan to home school. Who knows, in two years, I may change my mind. I have changed my mind twenty times in the last year.

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  13. I REALLLLY admire people who homeschool. I just can't. I tried it for half a year with Briyana and half a year with Tre (my two oldest kids) but the thought of homeschooling FIVE kids at once? That's a little more than I can bear LOL Ours are in school and while sometimes I do second guess myself (more due to the influence the other KIDS have on my kids than the teachers, but sometimes because of the teachers too) but all in all, I do think that it is best for them, especially since I'm back in school myself as well now. I was homeschooled when I was younger, then was in public school for the rest of my grammar school "career" and guess what - I turned out ok :) I'm guessing your kids - and ours - will too!

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  14. This is a great piece! I don't feel guilt either because in our family the parents also go to college full time because of the economy changes and we have to do what we need to survive. My kids love me and I love them but I know they need to be independent of me sometimes and be social with kids. We live rural so the kids can't just ride bikes to friends houses. We also don't have the money to cart them to museums or gardens since the closest Wal-Mart is 20 minutes.

    I don't feel any guilt for sending my kids to school nor do I feel any for going to college while my youngest is a toddler. I have very bright social children who love to learn.

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  15. Love your post and I can so relate!

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  16. Would dare tell a working mom that she doesn't love her children as much as a SAHM because of the time she has to spend away from them? Of course NOT. Well, not unless you'd like an earful... :-P

    My point is, we're all doing our very best for our children, but we all have our limits whether they be financial, emotional, or physical.

    I love being with my children, but in order to be centered, I need time to myself as well. So, not only am I not homeschooling. I'm actually looking froward when they are both in school. No guilt.

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  17. I'm a homeschooling mother of 1, who's been doing it for almost 5 years now. I really wish women would stop having a "us against them" mentality. Perhaps that isn't the intent of this piece, but I have to admit it stings just a little.

    I know homeschooling families that I think to myself, "That child needs to be in a public school." Because, yes, not everyone is meant to homeschool. Goes back to the 'just because you can doesn't mean you should.' school of thought.

    That said, most HS families are the same as families who do PS... struggling to make sure their child is doing well.

    Are there days when I see that yellow bus go by and think 'hold on, I got one more for ya!'? Absolutely. Is my house a mess... yep, most of the time. Do I miss working outside the home? Sometimes, but let me tell you working inside the home isn't a breeze either.

    Our intention was not to HS. We chose to HS b/c our state's PS system failed. I couldn't imagine continuing to spend that much emotion and energy fighting the system when I could spend it on doing it myself with a lot less stress. Why does that have to mean anyone who doesn't HS cares about their child any less? Should I think a PS kid's parents are better than me because they may get more time to themselves and don't have to feel guilty because they are reveling in going to the grocery store alone?

    I have friends who sends their kids to public school and we seem to find that we envy each other for specific items like time to yourself vs that feeling of am I doing EVERYTHING I could be for my child. It's a recognition that no one way is the right way.

    The answer, I have decided, is that people's lives are different. Their needs are individual. Why on earth would I want anyone else's life but my own (for good or bad)? I wouldn't, so why worry about what anyone else is doing, because I wouldn't change it if I could.

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