I’ve been asked a hundred times the last couple months why on earth we have suddenly decided to homeschool. It’s the big elephant in the blog, I know. It’s just such a complicated question with a very long and multi-faceted answer that I’ve been intimidated at the prospect of putting it in writing–why we’ve made this gigantic paradigm shift as a family. I’ve made vague promises to answer the question on here in full detail. And in my head, I’ve crafted bits and pieces of that answer and narrowed it down to the top 10 reasons why we’ve made this unorthodox choice. But a part of me can’t bear to write that post because I’d feel like I were trying to justify it to those of you out there who are skeptical of the whole homeschooling thing in general. And I don’t owe anybody that explanation because….well, because they’re OUR kids. And we get to do what we think is right for them.
However, something happened this morning which basically captured in a bottle why I’m doing this. It’s my reason #1. This may be all you get in blog-form, so savor it. (Of course, if you really want to hear more, just ask me!)
Sunday nights are late nights for our kids because of Awana, so they’re always a little extra sleepy, so I let them sleep in this morning, until about 8:30. Before, the kids had to get up at about 6:30 to get to school on time and they had to be rushed every step of the way out that front door every single morning. Hate that. So back to this morning–we were leisurely eating our breakfast and chatting, and Adam began quite the detailed monologue on a dream he had last night. Seriously, he went on and on for 10 minutes about how he and his Daddy were swimming in the ocean and got swallowed by a fish who then got swallowed by a bigger fish who then got swallowed by a bigger fish who then got swallowed by a bigger fish. (You get the point.) For real, 10 minutes of excruciating description, not a single fearful omitted and told with sleepy-headed awe. Claire and I listened and responded appropriately with “oooos” and “ahhhhs” and when it was all done, Claire exclaimed, “Adam, you had a dream about the food chain!”
I about spit my Oatmeal Squares out all over the place. We laughed long and hard at the breakfast table this morning. And I realized we were having one of those moments. Aerosmith moments. Sing it with me:
“Don’t wanna close my eyes!
Don’t wanna fall asleep
cuz I’d miss you, baby
And I don’t wanna miss a thing.”
So here’s the #1 reason why we’re homeschooling. It’s not the most cerebral of my reasons (I have those kinds of reasons too). But here’s the deal: I don’t want to miss those moments. Before, when Claire and Adam were going to school all day long (and then extracurricular activities after school and then homework and then dinner and then baths and then bible story and then bedtime), our life was becoming this horrible rushing treadmill, each day identical to each other and full of busyness but void of the magic I want them to grow up in. Just like every other kid, I’d ask them how their day was, and mostly all I could get out of them was “Fine.” I felt like my primary job was to get them ready and out the door for their next activity. I was constantly rushing them and it was necessary to keep them on that path. But I could feel it in my bones that my kids were slowly slipping away from me, that in a few years, they’d be assimilated into a peer-needy culture and I’d have to fight daily for their hearts not to be stolen by the world. Something was in danger of being irrevocably lost, and I was giving that up basically because I was looking forward to that not-so-far-away-day when all my kids would be in school and I’d have the spare time to do whatever it was in the world I wanted to do all day long. But there came a day a few months ago, in the car with Claire, driving her home from ballet class (at 4pm it was the first time I’d seen her all day), and she looked at me with aching eyes and said, “Mom, I really miss you.”
I want to know these little people, to deeply and truly know them. And I want them to know me (and their dad). And that kind of thing takes a lot of magic moments. It takes time and commitment and wide open spaces to live and breathe.
And though I’ve certainly been more exhausted since we started doing this, and my house is perhaps not as clean, I’ve been blessed to be reminded almost daily why this is going to be entirely worth it.