“Help! My daughter/son/grandchild is struggling in public/private/charter school, and I think I want to homeschool. Where do I start?”
How many times have you been asked that question? Countless for me… But I stumbled across this article by Heather Sanders (Published on The Pioneer Woman) and found it very profound..
Heather: The above question finds its way into my inbox multiple times in any given week.
Each family’s needs are unique; so, I take each of them on an individual basis, often praying before responding to some of the more difficult emails.
For instance, this weekend a woman wrote me to confess feeling guilty because she honestly believes public school is the best choice for her two early-elementary aged children. She is a stay-at-home-mom and has felt judged by her homeschooling friends who have vocalized that she should have her kids home with her as they do. She reads The Pioneer Woman’s Homeschooling blog to gather ideas for ways to supplement and extend learning on weekends and in the summer months, and volunteers at her kids’ school regularly, but here is the kicker; she cherishes the quiet hours at home.
She is rested, drops off and picks up her children at school with a smile on her face, and the way she described her kids sounded like they were thriving in both their school and home environments.
“No” I verbally responded to her email the first time I read it.
The next portion of the email described what she saw in her friends who homeschooled. All but one was overcommitted, stressed, frustrated, and perhaps even, resentful of her quiet afternoons.
It made me think of my own struggles through the years to be a work-at-home-mom and homeschool. I have been all of the things she mentioned, and while I am confident in our family’s decision to continue homeschooling (and it is a family decision where everyone gets to weigh in), I am not always a brilliant beacon of homeschooling light for others.
Have I stood on my homeschooling soapbox, looking down my nose at those who make decisions different from the one our family has made?
There are a number of books and blogs that offer suggestions and guidelines regarding the technical details of how to homeschool. They cover topics that span the legal responsibilities of each state to the vast array of curriculum choices and homeschooling methods.
I’m contemplating all that was in that mother’s email this evening. The dishes are finally cleaned up from a late dinner because Mondays are our homeschool co-op days, which means we are “on the go” from 6:45 am until 9:30 pm.
I am tired, overly committed and slightly stressed.
Granted, I am making change for next year, but I wonder if throughout the day, I reflected a mom who loves homeschooling her children, because I do.
And yet, I want to be respectful of those whose choices in educating their children are opposite or different from mine.
It gives a new spin when I’m responding to the question “Help! My daughter/son/grandchild is struggling in public/private/charter school, and I think I want to homeschool. Where do I start?”
Maybe the best (Only?) fitting response should be, “Where do YOU think you should start?”
Heather Sanders is a leading homeschooling journalist who inspires homeschooling families across the nation.