I am not one of those highly confident mothers. There are those mothers who believe firmly that they know what's best for their kids, and they will loudly proclaim that fact even while putting their 12 year old to bed with a baby bottle full of Mountain Dew. I wish I had that level of confidence. But sadly, I’m hyper aware that I'm just winging it. This might come as a surprise, since I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 children. But honestly, every one of those buggers came to be by blatant inaction more than conscious decision making. So, when I began to consider homeschooling seriously, most of my thoughts revolved around the fact that, although I felt that it was the best option for my kids, it made far too much of a statement for me.
First of all, the schools in my area are excellent. They are highly rated, we’ve never had any real run-ins with our teachers, and nothing weird seems to go down on reg. With all this in mind, a reasonable person would say “why bother to homeschool?” And I am a reasonable person. So, every time I took a step forward preparing to homeschool I’d say that to myself and then curl up on the couch in a pile of mommy-shaped fear. The sheer volume of things there are to learn prior to making the decision to homeschool are just so overwhelming. Like if you were to stumble into a Yale graduate level economics class and people were debating the relative merits of fiat currency and then everyone gets quiet and looks at you for a contribution. If you're like me you’d fake an aneurysm and lay on the floor until the class cleared out. For me, that's what public school has been the last few months: the fake aneurysm that gets me out of acting on what I think might be best for my kids.
Now, its possible that the decision of where your kids go to school is super easy for you. I think that's related to your confidence as a mother. I’m absolutely in awe of confident mothers. Most of you are doing a great job and modeling excellent self esteem for your kids. But me, over here, I am just hoping that my kids don't need therapy or fillings by the time I'm done with them. So, this idea that got into my head, that my kids are awesome and deserve to learn all sorts of subjects that public school can’t teach them, is really out of left field for me. For better or for worse, homeschooling is making a statement as a parent. I’m not really a statement girl. More of a middle of the road, nothing too interesting, and painfully aware that I'm probably doing everything wrong girl. I’m super proud to describe myself as boring.
It has been weeks and weeks of researching, buying curriculum, writing and rewriting schedules, asking people’s opinions, encouraging people to argue with me, and trying to bate my husband into making the choice for me. After all that, and the realization that everyone is seriously sick of talking about it with me I realized: I’m the only one who’s going to pull this trigger. As with all things in parenting, everyone will probably have an opinion, but exactly no one is going to show up to do it for you. Sack up, Katie. These are your kids, and if you want them to learn flaming Greek mythology then you need to put on your big girl panties and teach it to them.
So as I sit here, staring at an email to my kids’ principal that effectively says “I think I know best what my kids need to learn”, my palms are sweating. Am I really going to hit send on this? Do I really know what's best for my kids? Is this just absolute hubris? How do I know I’m not going to ruin them? Who am I to think that I could teach these little people to be functional adults? I mean I’m just their mom, who loves them and wants the best for them and knows that failure is not an option.
…oh wait… I guess that might be the right person.