Before I was a homeschooler, I was a mother. Motherhood is my first priority, and it took homeschooling for me to realize this. I also realized that homeschooling requires skill sets I have that I don’t use in motherhood and vice versa.
When I envisioned what education looked like for my kids, it was a school with a small classroom setting, with bright walls and engaging teachers. Programs and clubs would be easily accessible, and my only worry would be to remember to sign permission slips for field trips and technology. My kids would come home, I would support them with their homework, while cherishing the moments we had dinner as they would fill me in about their day.
I would have a great relationship with my children’s teachers and administration and we would be a team in ensuring my child’s academic success. On the weekends we would spend our time as a family enjoying all the things we were interested in.
This did not happen.
And here we are.
I joked with my kids that I am now a homeschool educator now and not a homeschool mom and they all very seriously told me that it makes sense.
Which got me thinking…
I need headphones. I need headphones.
I say this because, when I started this journey I looked to everyone else for advice. I’m new at this, I didn’t actually know how to do any of this. So, like every person who starts this journey, I typed in “how to homeschool” and the first several articles told me “do not school at home.”
Researched on social media and it was the same, “deschool, do not school at home.” Do not replicate traditional school in your home. If you do that then you might as well just send them to school. And I listened and read these comments, telling myself that in order to be successful we would need to be the family that instilled education in all of books and every facet of our life.
And for the last couple years if I didn’t know anything else, I knew this; homeschooling is the liberation of education and to not replicate school at home, but also do what’s best for your family.
And as our journey continued, I kept tweaking at our homeschool, because from the outside looking in we were still trying to replicate school. Even though somewhere somebody is probably screaming “wrong wrong wrong.”
But why such a bad rap? Why is replicating the education ideology we envisioned for our children seen to be so wrong?
Here’s the thing. I have OCD/anxiety. I am secretly a Type A person who in a professional setting has excellent time management, communication skills, flexibility and a wonderful personality. My kids are the same. They need to know when we start and when we plan to stop. “What time is it, is it snack time, and what time is lunch?” How many more minutes is this lesson? Will this take all day? They all have planners and their days are outlined to the T. Not because I forced it on them, but because they requested it.
When things are organized, well thought out, and planned, they thrive. If it’s open and shut, they excel. I’ve tried it all and nothing has beaten consistency, rigor, structure, and balance.
In my home, my kids still explore their interests. We share different experiences. We loved to read and play board games and these things don’t necessarily need to be a part of our homeschool day, if they were already in place. In my home we pour over encyclopedias, excited about the new things we’ve discovered, determined to outdo each other.
This is my family.
We don’t need it to fall under a labeled umbrella.
I’m not worried about whether or not they will learn life skills or if they will get to be children who do children things, because I am their mother.
The statistics in regards to education for black and brown people are staggering and heartbreaking. It glares at us every day, and for me and mine, we need to stare this bad boy down. Striving for academic success through structured lesson planning doesn’t mean confinement but a path to freedom. Knowledge IS power. Knowledge IS freedom.
This does not mean that I do not carry immense respect for the Charlotte Mason’s and Waldorf learners of the world. I’m actually convinced those who understand Waldorf style of learning see in Pantone colors. I value those who fully live in their truth.
Now it’s time for me to live in mine. And to not be shamed for it, because that’s not fair. Especially, if I am rooting for you. I root for all mothers who say “I”m doing this!” and nothing is going to stop me. If you have had the pleasure of chatting with me, you know this to be true.
We strive to start at the same time and end at the same time everyday. And it works for us. And yes it follows a traditional school model.
I’m not ashamed.
At the end of the day, I believe in the education system when it is done right. To me education will alway lead to the path of freedom. Freedom to be courageous . Freedom to be brave. Freedom of choice.
I want the best for my children, and for our homeschool, the best looks like schooling at home.
I won’t feel bad about it because the words we tell ourselves matter. And the kindness, knowledge, and power I pour into my kids needs to be excellent if it’s coming from me. It needs to be the best.
And baby let me tell you, as a homeschool educator who does school at home I am wonderful. I am inspiring. I am engaging. The work and research I put into this is starting to pay off.
If doing “school at home” works for you and your family, then as far as this community goes, that’s the point. Doing what is best for you and your family. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
Leave a Reply