This post is really for my mother, but it’s also directed toward all those homeschool moms who are having a bad day. Don’t be discouraged, this is the thank-you that you so much deserve.
I consider myself a home-school success story.
My parents made the decision to home-school myself and my three siblings from kindergarten all the way through highschool. My entire education was undertaken by my parents. Wholly. My mother gave up anything that resembles a career working outside the home to instill in her four children a Christian worldview while educating all of us. Many people are surprised when they find out I’m a home-schooler. But I am. To the core. With everything but the socks and horn-rimmed glasses.
Most people are surprised because I have friends. In fact, I can even be outgoing when I choose. It’s true, I do prefer spending a quiet evening at home working on a project or reading a book (the kind with chapters in it *wink wink*) but I can attend a party without turning into a wallflower. I got married. He’s a stud. I like to wear pencil skirts, high heels, I know how to apply mascara. I went to college. Graduated at 19. With honors. Sure, I’m not the CEO of some multi-million dollar company, but that’s because I chose to support my husband as he got his Master’s degree. I work full-time, pay my taxes, and generally act as a contributing member of society. I don’t want a career in some skyscraper building downtown. I want to have babies and home-school those babies. I want to instill in my children a Christian worldview while educating all of them. I want to be just like my mother when I grow up.
That hasn’t necessarily always been the case. I remember butting heads with my mom so many times. It’s unbelievable she never whacked me over the head with a shovel and buried my body in the woods somewhere. It’s most certainly what I deserved. I smarted off to her whenever I got the chance. Especially during those teenage years. I was a rascal. But my mom was always a faithful and patient teacher. Working with me slowly and gently through hours of math. In college, I ended up with an A in every math or science class I took. Those hours paid off. Like an adolescent with the obligatory attitude problem, I also gave my mom grief over literature. I didn’t want to write another stinking paper. Don’t even get me started on poetry. I skimmed that junk. My mom however asked those probing questions and caught me in the act of skimming every time. You can’t do that in a classroom of twenty kids. There’s no way to confront each kid individually and figure out they used the Cliff’s Notes version of a literary masterpiece to finish their homework. My mom could, and did.
I say all of this as a thank-you. A thank-you to my mom. And to all the home-school moms out there. Thank you for giving up the high-powered job to be locked in the house all day long. Thank you for giving up the adorable skirt suit for an art smock. Thank you for leaving your pride behind when your daughter is having a math-induced meltdown. Thank you for having grace when someone says “oh, you’re just a stay-at-home mom.” There is no “just” about. You’ve taken on the most trying job in the world, and you’re doing great. We may not tell you this while you’re requiring us to read Hamlet and memorize the periodic chart, but we are so incredibly thankful. For all that you do.
Mom, you’re the best. I appreciate that now. I’m sorry for all the threats of running away, accusations of you ruining my life, and arguments that public school is way cooler. I realize now that I was spoiled. I received the best education I could ever ask for. Thank you mom for your sacrifice. I appreciate learning to teach myself. I love that you let me sleep in, so my body would develop and grow. For looking the other way while I stayed up way too late trying to finish another chapter of Pride & Prejudice. Thank you for trying to correct my handwriting. Thank for not leaving me on the street corner waiting for the bus. Thank you for the field trips, the science experiments, and days spent reading on the couch. You’ve made me a home-school success story.
And someday, I hope to be just like you. Parenting my own home-school success story.