For anyone who has kids, I am certain we all feel a bit inadequate when it comes to what we have accomplished with them. We look at them and all of their quirks and oddities and wonder if we contributed to all of that awkwardness. Of course, there are those moments of pure grandeur when we look at them and think how awesome we are for having such amazing kids but my guess is that those moments are few and far between. Especially for a homeschooling mom.
As a homeschooling mom, I can’t blame the school system, teachers, bullies, society or anyone else for how my kids turn out except for me. For them, I am their school system, teacher, sometimes bully (let’s be honest), and knowledge of society. What they become is largely what I teach and model for them. How’s that for pressure? And yet, I still feel it is the greatest gift I can give them.
I’m often challenged by what I do. I am told I am ruining their lives by not putting them in public school. That just might be true.
Here are a few ways my choice has messed up my kids:
My kids are socialists: Yes, you heard it right. I am raising socialists and I don’t even know how it happened. At Halloween, my kids dump their candy into a big bowl and share it with everyone, including neighbors and friends. When a younger child comes and likes one of my children’s toys, my child gives it to them to keep. And when a natural disaster hits, they are ready to send all of our extra blankets, pillows, food, everything to the relief effort. When they get invited to a birthday party, they come home and share the candy with their siblings and if there is ever an extra cookie left over, they split it evenly between them. When it comes to school they work together and help one another. They share everything, not because I demand it but because they want to. I don’t know who taught them to share, but I am certain that they, too, are socialists. I use my children for child labor: While other children are out having a fantastic childhood, my children have to work. They go grocery shopping, help cook their own meals, do dishes, sweep the floor, vacuum, do laundry, clean the bathroom (including the toilet) and have even learned to sew. Even my six-year-old completes these tasks. My house is generally clean, not because I clean it but because my children do it. Unfortunately, I have worked them so hard that they carry their need to clean outside the home and clean trash off the floor of the church, the park, the store, the campsite and the road. You may think it’s because they have learned respect for their surroundings, but don’t be fooled. My children are opinionated: There is nothing more frustrating than a child that talks back to you when you know you’re supposed to be right. It gets even more frustrating when your child is right. I made the mistake of allowing my children to have choices from the time they were very small. They have always had their freedom to choose and I have always asked them for their opinion. Unfortunately, because of this, they are not afraid to come to us any time of the day or night and tell us what’s on their mind. This is very frustrating when I’m trying to sleep. Children are meant to be seen and not heard and yet my children don’t understand this. They are completely confident with themselves in asking for what they would like and then going out and making it happen. My children are geeks. I did everything I could to not get the label of geek in school and yet my children have become the biggest geeks I know. My 12-year-old took an entire computer apart and fixed it again for a neighbor. He is learning code language and creating apps for fun. My children think that documentaries are the best movies ever and we have more books than we have toys. My 11-year-old’s dream is to build and program a lego robotics robot. My six-year-old is reading Harry Potter and my 7-year-old and 8-year-old ask to do math worksheets for fun. I have ruined them for life. Instead of believing learning only happens in school, they think it happens every minute of every day. To them, learning is fun. Ask other kids out there and I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to be. As you can see, my kids are pretty messed up because of the choice we made to home-school. You can see it that way or you can see that they are actually caring, sharing, confident, hard-working, respectful, intelligent, well-rounded children. They have a passion for learning, a good relationship with their parents, they are well-liked by friends and they have a deep love for everyone. As I said before, I truly believe that home schooling is the greatest gift I could give them. For it is the gift of time, my time given freely to them.