Okay, before I start:
Homeschoolers, put away your tar and feathers (yes, I see you hiding those behind your backs). Remember that I am starting to homeschool in the fall and hear me out.
Everyone else, I hope this enriches your understanding of how homeschooling can be right for some people, even if it’s not right for you.
Now, where were we?
Homeschooling is selfish.
How do I have the audacity to write one post about starting the grand home-education adventure and then turn around and pull a stunt like this? Because I know one of the reasons I homeschool is entirely self-serving.
Putting aside the opportunity for free dishwashers and floor-sweepers, I homeschool because I want to share this with my child. I was reminded of this tonight as I was reading Little House on the Prairie to Laura and Max. We were reading about Pa digging a new well and the dangers of releasing harmful gases while doing so. Questions from Laura progressed from a basic explanation of how gas can be dangerous to what ‘passed out’ and ‘unconscious’ mean to ‘What does enchanted mean?’ I explained that being enchanted meant being put under a magic spell. Since we had just watched a classic from my childhood a couple of nights before (a live-action Sleeping Beauty musical from 1989), I explained ‘So when Sleeping Beauty was put under a magic spell, she was…’ ‘Enchanted!’ was the reply, said in such a tone that I could cry. That voice, right there, is part of why I’m homeschooling. The excitement Laura has from making connections between parts of her world and applying new knowledge is palpable. And I feel so blessed to be able to witness it day in and day out.
How could I send her off to have these moments with a stranger? How could I give up these opportunities for our relationship as mother and daughter to grow and deepen? Seeing her eyes light up as she understands a concept or conquers something she didn’t believe she could do has to be one of the most rewarding things about being a mother and a teacher. Feeding that urgent need for knowledge she displays every day is one of the reasons I am here in this place with this beautiful soul as my charge. If I am able to do it, what’s the sense of sending her to public school?
Basically, the relationship I am building with Laura as her fount of knowledge (until she’s a teenager, at least) is part of a bigger picture. I believe that, ultimately, the relationships that will be lasting are those of the family. I hope to go through eternity with my family. That includes Laura, Max, and every child that comes along in the future (and December). I want to build the relationships in our family to such a point that not only will we be willing to live together forever, but we won’t be able to imagine life without each other.
On that same note, these relationships have to be strong to withstand the storms that will come our way. Having recently experienced how disruptive various tragedies can be to healthy family relationships, I feel even more urgently about growing our family up together. If we have built relationships of trust, honor, love, and teaching, we can and will come out of tragedy not only still a family, but stronger for it.
So, yes, homeschooling is partly selfish.
But it’s a good kind of selfish.