A Reader asks:
When you have an experience like you had last night at Mass...does it ever cross your mind that your precious boys might end up having to go to a private/public school if you were to enter your eternal reward? I'm a homeschooler wannabe (not enough courage, perhaps??) but I must confess that one of my hang-ups is that I don't want my children's education to be totally dependent on ME and ME alone. Now perhaps you have a fabulous support group in your area, or perhaps your husband is able/willing to continue the work should you be called Home. I guess the concern I always grapple with is...do I want the sum total of my six children's educational experience to be dependent on ME and ME alone? Because ME doesn't seem like enough most days, I'm afraid.
ME is NEVER enough, whether our children are educated at home or are enrolled in schools. A parent's job is endless and our perfections, unfortunately, are not. So, YES, often the huge responsibility of being the sole provider of these children's education weighs on me. I wonder, though, how a teacher of twenty or more children must feel if I have these concerns with my five.
I wonder, too, how much lighter my burden would actually be if I had my children in school. As parents, we are the primary educators of our children. We may perform that duty by putting our children in good schools, but our responsibility does not end at the bus stop. We need to monitor our children's performance at school closely and find ways to supply for what is lacking. To compensate for problems of all kinds or provide opportunities for giftedness, parents often find themselves putting as much work in after hours with their child as the average home schooling parent does in a day.
Also, there are many options for homeschoolers today. Classes geared to the needs of homeschoolers are cropping up all over the country. From martial arts to painting, music and theater, to Latin and chemistry. You can sign your child up for these classes that offer expert instruction by professional teachers who have the advantage of being NOT YOU. There are also online courses, co-ops, support groups and clubs of all kinds. Some people take such advantage of these things they call themselves "van schoolers" because they are never home. More options for homeschoolers means greater flexibility to tailor your home education to suit the needs of the whole family.
OK, so all the planning and preparing and supplying for and driving to these opportunities still falls on your shoulders. That is true and maybe that's more than you can or want to manage. If it is easier for you to have your children in school and they are thriving in that environment, that's wonderful. Why change?
Personally, I really enjoy homeschooling. I find education the natural follow up to gestation and lactation--only far more interesting. I feel the relationship I have with my sons is centered around our learning together and while it can be painful at times--like nursing was-- I know that I am providing them with the most perfectly-suited-to-them nourishment for their minds and souls. I don't think I could find another job that could give me that kind of satisfaction.