Back to school time can feel a bit awkward for homeschoolers. Personally, I love seeing all the pictures my friends are posting online of their sweet children on the first day of school and the excited posts from my school teacher friends about the anticipation of a new year. The start of a new school year is a big milestone for many.
Though we homeschool year round, I usually make a point of recognizing a new beginning this time of year. We’ve gone to “not back to school” picnics. We’ve taken special field trips. We always take a picture on the first day of public school. It’s always good to mark milestones as they come.
But to be honest, sometimes it feels wrong to share our excitement. It feels like I am saying “What we’re doing is better than what you’re doing.” But that’s not it. What I want to express is this: What we’re doing works for us. We enjoy it. We want to celebrate it.
I am blessed to know several school teachers. My kids would be lucky to learn from any of them. I am so glad that there are people like them in schools across the world teaching our youth. I know that sometimes, people feel like homeschoolers are anti-teacher. I am not. I don’t actually know any homeschoolers who are. There are good and bad teachers, just like any other profession, but I feel like most teachers are in it for all the right reasons. What they do is admirable.
And I know so many moms who would love to homeschool, but can’t for whatever reason. Or parents who just do not want to homeschool, ever. It does not matter to me. All I care about is that kids are getting the best education they can in whatever form works for their families. If your kid loves public school or you found an amazing arts charter or you’ve found a way to pay for a great private school for your child – whatever your choice is, if it is working for you, I am happy for you.
I am not against schools. I don’t look down on other parents for doing what is right for their own family. I support whatever choice you make for your kids.
I just ask for the same support. It gets old feeling like I have qualify our educational choices all the time. “Well we homeschool because….” Because if I give a reason that can’t apply to you, maybe I won’t offend you. But in the end, we’re doing what works for us. I can list of dozens of reasons why it works for us, but that’s really not the point. My kids are thriving in a way I don’t think they would in another educational setting.
I am going to keep celebrating their education. I hope you do the same, no matter where your kids learn.
Life isn’t easy for me.
I have three kids with differing special medical and dietary needs. This includes everything from intractable epilepsy to autism to 16 combined food allergies.
Until a few weeks ago, my oldest child, who is nearly nine, had never slept through the night. NEVER. No one in my family has slept well his entire life.
My husband lost his job last May, which resulted in a 12oo mile move to a new state where we knew no one.
Within a few days of closing on our house in our new state, my dog, my best friend of 10 years died.
A month later, my son had a terrible seizure that lasted 3.5 hours and landed him in the hospital. We were in Nashville – on a layover from visiting family in Seattle-when it happened. We had several months of awful medical struggles afterwards.
During all of this, I was homeschooling my kids and trying to finish my first book, “Nellie Nova Takes Flight.”
I am not telling you all of this so that you can feel bad for me. I am telling you this because I want to you to understand where I am coming from before I tell you this:
Dear Tired, Busy Mama,
You may think that your dreams have to be pushed aside. That there’s no time in your schedule for you.
You’ve convinced yourself that whatever it is your heart desires will have to wait for another season.
But, Tired, Busy Mama, it’s not true. You are still your own person, in spite of all of your responsibilities.
In spite of – and because of- these responsibilities- you need to have an outlet. You need to leave a portion of yourself for you.
Mama, you matter. Your dreams matter. Your soul matters. Your happiness. Your success. Your joy.
It all matters.
Whatever it is that you’ve been pushing aside- go for it. Don’t make yourself a martyr to your circumstance.
You can do it. You can go back to school. You can write that book, paint that painting, get that job, volunteer for that amazing charity you support. Whatever it is, Tired, Busy Mama, that lingers in the back of your mind, whispering,“What if.”
Please leave room in your life for yourself.
If I can do it, so can you.
Another Tired, Busy Mama