I homeschool. To be honest, sometimes it’s Heaven, and sometimes it’s Hell. It depends on the day, the hour, the subject, the amount of sleep and the hormone level (mother’s or daughter’s).
In many ways, homeschooling is fantastic. You create your own schedule, you pick curriculum to match your children’s disposition, and you can spontaneously go to an exhibition/the beach/a museum/anywhere you like at the drop of a hat.
In spite of all these pluses, the first feeling that assaults you (does it ever leave?) when you start homeschooling is that you are going to fail your children horribly. That your weaknesses (science) will become their weaknesses, that their interests will not be yours and you’ll be unable to teach, and that everyone else who is homeschooling/sending their children to school must surely be miles ahead of you by now.
Some of this is true. However, much of it is masochistic fantasy that scurries around your brain in the early hours while you condemn yourself for screaming and stress about what you didn’t do/get done/explain/fulfil yesterday and “how on earth are you going to catch up now??”
On days of superchallenge, you need to remind yourself why you chose to homeschool in the first place. A phrase I find comfort in is that homeschool is ‘Schooling for Heaven not for Harvard.’ Not that I don’t want my children to go to college – my daughter is determined to go to Oxford like her grandparents – but that what matters to me most is what kind of people they grow up to be.
Will they take care of others? Will they use all the advantages they have had to contribute meaningfully to the world? Will they love their neighbor? Will they love themselves? Will they share what they have with those who have less? Will they remain strong in their relationship with Christ? Will they continue to seek God’s best and maximize their talents? Will they live with passion, integrity and grace?
Last week I got a glimpse into how this is all going. An acid test if you like. I took the children with me to meet with my lawyer. I am in the midst of a battle with a well-known insurance giant over a car wreck I was involved in back in 2012. They are offering me a settlement based on the false testimony of two witnesses. I could take the money and let the case rest, or I could fight.
I told my lawyer I would have to think about it. As soon as we got into the car, Sarah Jane grilled me as to how the meeting had gone. I processed it all with her out loud and ended with, “The thing is, I just don’t think I’m going to be able to live with myself if I agree to it.”
Quick as a flash, Sarah Jane turned in her seat and looked me fiercely in the eye. She said, “Well I don’t think you could either, Mom! You cannot accept a LIE!”
And right then, despite all the challenges of learning English grammar, the meticulousness of math, practicing cursive and remembering history, I recognized that my sweet daughter’s moral grammar is – already – just about perfect.