This week I’ve put on a new hat: homeschooling mom. I must admit, for as much as I have admired home-schooling moms, for as much as I’ve loved (and been impressed with) the home-schooled students I’ve taught and tutored over the years, I did not want to be a home-schooling mom.
Last year, the summer before she entered third grade, my daughter asked me to home school her. I told her no. I didn’t think it was a good idea. I told her she’d probably miss her friends too much. I probably even told her I prayed about it and I did. Sort of. In a half-hearted, throw out the question but don’t wait for the answer way, like when your waitress asks how you’re doing without really caring to hear the truth. I probably said, not asked, something like Lord please let me know if I should home school and then let myself get distracted by other facets of life. It’s funny, especially to God I’m sure, because my kids often hear me say, “If you’re going to ask me a question, LISTEN TO THE ANSWER!
I didn’t listen because I was afraid of the answer. I didn’t like the idea of letting go of some of my goals for my writing or teaching, of loosing some of my freedom, of giving up opportunities to meet a friend for coffee, or grab a lunch date with my husband. As much as I loved my daughter, homeschooling seemed a little bit like a year-long sentence. So I kind of stuck my fingers in my ears and said, “La la la la la!” to God. But nobody knew. It’s frightfully easy to ignore the Spirit of God and look perfectly normal at the same time. And it wasn’t like I was dealing with a big bad sin issue; I just wasn’t open to hear what he wanted to tell me regarding an issue that wasn’t right or wrong. A grey matter. A personal conviction. (Which I guess in a way is a big bad sin issue but that’s another post.)
Anyway, I didn’t listen until I couldn’t NOT listen any longer. Nothing horrible happened at school. No big incident with a student or teacher. I still support public school and our district and I still think what teachers do day in and day out with a boatload of kids is amazing. But it was like a whole bunch of little red lights kept flashing everywhere saying “You need to home school your daughter!”
So, after lots of conversations, with home-schooling parents, with my husband, with my daughter, with my son, with God (dialogues now instead of monologues) I, we, decided to home school.
The week leading up to back to school day, I felt kind of sick. I had let the district know I’d be schooling my fourth grade daughter at home but still got the emails about Back to School Night and I found out what (highly recommended) teacher she got and who would be in her class. As summer came to a close, my sick feeling turned into something like panic. I had fleeting thoughts of calling the whole plan off. It wasn’t so much that I thought I couldn’t do it (my teaching degree gave me a shot of confidence) it was more that I worried that I wouldn’t want to do it. Day after day. Month after month. From September to (gulp) May. I love my little girl to pieces and wouldn’t change her a bit, but sometimes… how shall I put this? Sometimes the two of us butt heads. Hard. I prayed for more desire, more wisdom. I prayed for this thing to work.
On Tuesday, while my son started his freshman year at the public school with our total support and approval, Maylie and I began our homeschooling day. I know sometimes (often) God answers prayers differently than we want, or sometimes they don’t seem to get “answered” at all. But I also know that sometimes (okay always) he wants us to obey and sometimes (not always) he blesses us when we do. We’ve only been doing this homeschooling thing a week. I’m most likely in the honeymoon phase.
this past week… has been so much fun. We learned so much, we read so much, we talked so much about so many things (Helen Keller, The Puritans, North Korea for goodness sake) We got along so well I’m actually a little shocked.
I don’t know how I’ll be feeling a month from now. I don’t even know how I’ll be feeling next week. And I don’t know if we’ll be doing this next year or if we’ll decide that it’s right to go back to public school, but right now, in this season of life, for this year, this is exactly where we are supposed to be and my fear and dread have melted into this crazy, mind-boggling peace and I’m falling in love with this little girl I get to call my daughter all over again.