by Kristy Howard of LittleNaturalCottage.com
(find this article at Growing Home)
Sometimes, I get this funny feeling that many folks think we home school mothers are just not normal. “Not normal” meaning: we are somehow exempt from the common plagues of womanhood. You know, impatience, griping, anger, poor time management, selfishness, loneliness, hormones, etc.
I’ll never forget the day a mother told me, “I wish I wanted to home school. But I just need that alone time while my boys are away at school!” Where do people get this idea that women who choose to home school their children, do it because it’s just so easy for them?
That we don’t “need alone time”. Don’t wake up tired and grumpy on occasion. Never get sick, or have sick little ones. Don’t crave adult conversation, or relish a hot shower without interruptions, or wouldn’t like to spend one day without peeling hardened pasta off the kitchen floor with a spatula.
I have a news flash to share: Homeschooling moms are “normal”. We are flawed, selfish sinners, just like everyone else. We fight the same battles with our flesh (and our flesh and blood) as every other mother in the world. The one difference between the “I don’t want to’s”, the “I wish I wanted to’s”, and the determined “I’m going to’s!” is nothing but… Grace - the power and desire to fulfill God’s will for our lives. That grace is new…every morning.
I well remember the frazzled day I told my husband (in a not-so-gentle way), “I AM NOT CUT OUT TO BE A HOMESCHOOL MOM! I just can’t do it!” Looking back those eighteen or so months, I realize I am not the same woman who sobbed those exasperated words to my husband. Granted, I have the same struggles. Wake up to the same challenges every day. But I am not the same. Because of grace.
I’ll give you a few good reasons why I’m not “cut out” to be a home school mom:
- I’m impatient. This lack of virtue has been my life-long struggle. I get irritable. Easily. Gentleness does not come naturally or easily for me. I’m task-oriented. High strung. A perfectionist. Interruptions bother me. Chaos distresses me. Need I say more?
- I’m inconsistent. Home school moms are Super Women who know how to train perfect children, maintain a well ordered home, prepare healthy meals, sew their own clothing. I can’t do all those things all the time. I start… and stop. Learn… and burn (out). I struggle to with stick with basic routines, much less strict regimens. I’d ruin my kids!
- I don’t have time. Seriously, what mama does “have time” to home school her children? Who is supposed to clean the house and buy groceries and do laundry and plan menus… while Mama teaches her children? I haven’t even mentioned my role of being a wife, much less the wife of a pastor. I definitely don’t have time. Do you?
- I don’t have space. In my house, I mean. Right now, there are 7 of us living in a 2-bedroom house. Where would I put all those books and supplies and materials- piled on the dining room table? We’d be in each other’s hair all day. It just isn’t reasonable. I need my space.
The odds are against me: temperament, schedules, circumstances. It just wouldn’t work! But it does work. And I am. Not because I’m necessarily “good” at it, or because it comes easily for me, or because everything always just falls into place for our family.
Homeschooling “works” for our family because we make it work. It is a priority. A calling. Even a conviction. Because of our commitment to home school, there are many other things we aren’t involved in, don’t spend our money on, don’t invest our time into. Not because some of these “other things” are bad, but because they would rob us of these precious years to nurture and train our children.
I can only home school my children once in my lifetime and theirs. Now is that time. It is up to me, and to my husband, to make these days count. For eternity. This is why I choose to get up every morning, sit down at our dining room table, and teach my children in the best way I know how.
Honestly, I don’t love it every day. But every day I am learning, growing, and increasingly grateful to be a home school mom. Even though I’m not really “cut out” for it.