All’s I got to say about today is, to quote a great musical: “We got trouble in River City…”
Might be me, might be them, (okay, I’ll own it) definitely both. Parenting does that for you, reveals the whole scary mess. Turns the nasty insides out and twists them around until you don’t look like yourself. Or at least you hope that’s not yourself. Parenting while home educating, well that’s parenting on amphetamines.
Still having said that, I’ll remind myself, there are some distinct advantages to this life:
1. I get to be with my children. Yes, I know, there are days when nobody wants to be with somebody all the time. And we know that when we get to be with our children it’ll just reveal a lot of interpersonal work that seems, um…daunting. Yet, I get to see every moment that they grow, see them approach a new topic or skill with verve and curiosity. When I get to see those chubby hands, mile wide smiles, my skirt filled with grasping hands, and be surrounded with loads of cuteness, I am so very thankful I fell upon this lifestyle.
2. We’ve got freedom. We can follow our rhythms, no school hours for us. We learn what we want when we want.
3. I don’t have to fuss about bedtimes and wake times. Though I do have my routine, I can be very flexible.
4. I don’t rush out of the house in the morning, rush out of the house in the afternoon, or organize kids’ extracurricular activities in the evening hours when they, and I, want to rest.
5. I don’t have to report to anyone about why I’m doing what I’m doing. The only people deciding their education are me and my husband.
6. I don’t buy school clothes, indoor shoes, prescribed school stuff that I don’t want to buy. I buy clothes for the season…thankfully with three girls, long pants in September can still be capris next summer.
7. I don’t fuss that my kids aren’t learning math concepts at the same rate as their similiar aged counterparts. They might learn about fractions when they’re six, or twelve. As long as they actually learn it…and baby, I know when they’ve learned it. School curriculum has the same value to me as the NDP party’s platform.
8. I don’t need to waste their childhood helping them to recite for standardized testing. Instead, they spend time learning about topics to which they are curious.
9. I learn about things I never thought I would learn, ie: rise and fall of the US dollar, all things geology and zoology, or British history, quantam physics (okay, I threw that one in to make me look smart, I have no idea what that is…but as I’m reading this to my husband, he is explaining).
10. We can pursue stuff no one puts in typical curriculums anymore, like latin, classical composers and impressionist art. And learning laundry, household management and cooking.
11. I get to spend time doing my own learning, like reading, writing, reading about writing, going to coffee shops to write, hanging out with people who like to write, and journalling.
12. I have learned not to care what the mass culture cares about, ie: stuff, stuff management and thinking I’m important cause I own the right stuff.
13. I have learned to befriend people that I like and who make sense to me, not because they are the ‘people to know’ or ‘people with connections’ or the ‘cool people’. Those things I learned in school. But school really is done with me and I am done with it.
14. There is always an opportunity for a connecting moment each day with each child. It might mean different things: moments involving Legos, discussions of the recently watched episode of Full House, chopping mushrooms for lunch soup, staring intently into one another’s eyes and kissing our faces in many creative ways…yes, this really does happen with one child.
15. I get to seriously influence them, influence their character. “Strength of character may be learned at work, but beauty of character is learned at home” (Henry Drummond) My attitude, my focus in life…these are imprinted, for good or for bad. Who else would I hope would imprint my children? They came out of me and I am their mama, hear me roar!
16. I get to work hard to bind their heart to mine. The only things that get in the way are my imperfections and theirs….which, ha ha, is an awful lot of stuff. But it makes me a better person along the way, and them too.
And hopefully, one day, they’ll look back and say, my childhood was my family, the good, the bad and the ugly. And on the days when the downside seems awful down, I can know that the way through it is to look on the upside.