…. and if they aren’t, they haven’t quite figured out that homeschooling is not the same as school at home.
I received a brave but terrified email the other day from a fellow mom who was drawn to homeschooling her children, but wanted to know how such a thing could possibly work for her family because, she said, she is also a writer.
Wouldn’t homeschooling take away from such a pursuit, she wondered. How much time did homeschooling take? When would she find time to write? And how in the world would she explain to her kids why they didn’t go to school?
It wasn’t that long ago that I was facing the same dilemma. It wasn’t that long ago that I was completely disillusioned at the fact that while all the other moms were rejoicing that their kids were (finally, finally!) back in school, it was life as usual for us year round.
It was the oddest thing, I realized, as I wrote back to her: there has been no other time in my entire life that I have been more fulfilled – as a person, as a woman, a wife, a mother, and – yes – as a writer.
Homeschooling gives you what other careers can only dream of – the ability to have fun while you work, the potential to see your hard work pay off right in front of your eyes, to see a specific project to the end, to pour the best of your intellect, creativity and every aspect of your personality into your own children.
Homeschooling is also the only career in the world that gives you the freedom to use the raw material of your experience however you would like and not a few writers have made it the springboard for their books, their small businesses and their side jobs.
There is a myth – partially created by the teaching community and partially by older homeschooling moms (who followed school curricula because they taught their children at home at a time when they couldn’t buy curricula unless they were a traditional school), I think – that teaching is hard.
What’s hard about opening a book and reading it to your child? What’s hard about following written instructions? Children are curious, they ask lots of questions, they learn some stuff along the way. That’s not hard. What’s hard is discipline.
What’s hard is trying to keep everyone in lock-step with their public schooled peers.
Conformity is hard, not homeschooling.
The real concern I had when I began, the concern my friend who wrote to me now has, the real concern of all homeschooling moms when they begin – whether they realize it or not – is conformity. It’s all those little what-ifs that constantly claw at us. What if I fail my child? What if he’s old enough to go to college and can’t add 2 + 2? What if she has no friends? What if he turns out, you know, weird?
But if you’re a writer, aren’t you already a non-conformist to some degree? You see things others don’t. Take heart, fellow mom. You’re on the right track.