Friday, November 02, 2007

More Q&A

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 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.

I say:

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.


Michelle Halpin said...

Very much agreed, Suzanne. Well said.

Cheryl M. said...

Suzanne, I could not agree more! :) Excellent post! :)

Denise said...

Suzanne, I'm not a homeschooler, but I really appreciate your insight here.

"I find education the natural follow up to gestation and lactation"....I never thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense!

Did you always plan to homeschool or is it something you realized as your oldest became school-aged?

Anyway, thanks for such a thought-filled post.

Cheryl said...

Well said.

Michelle said...

If something tragic would happen to you, your boys would be blessed by all that extra time you spend with them. I don't see how putting them in school now would make your life or their life any easier "just in case" something happened to you. Adjusting to a school environment is not nearly as difficult as adjusting to the loss of a parent.

I went back to work 3 days a week after my oldest was born. He went to daycare. One day a toddler was newly enrolled. His mother had died in a car accident. I'm sure the poor thing was miserable, but I really don't think it would have been better had mom put him in daycare from birth "just in case."

scmom (Barbara) said...

I often think "what would happen if something tragic happened and I could no longer homeschool?" Well, obviously, my children would have to go to school. From the beginning of our homeschool days, I have said, "We will homeschool as long as it works for us." If something tragic happened resulting in them going to school, well, at least they would have the years at home that they did, for which I am grateful.

Laura W. said...

Beautifully said...and I totally agree!!!! :)

muddy mama said...

I have not been blessed with the greatest of health. Thanks to God I am doing okay right now, but I have faced the "what ifs" so many times.

I have wondered if being homeschooled by me would make things harder on my precious children if I was no longer there.

After agonizing over it (always in the middle of the night)I, at last, come to the conclusion that it is the time spent with them that is the best gift I could give them. It is comforting to know that I hold so great an influence over their young hearts.I am passing on my Faith and the values most important to me.

Karen E. said...

Suzanne, I loved your answer. I couldn't get this question off my mind, and so did a brief post about it this morning. Thanks for the food for thought!

darcee said...

What a good question and a great answer. Fear is somethin we all struggle with, but we should never allow to rule us.