When people ask me about our decision to homeschool our kids, I usually tell them that we make the commitment to do so on a year-by-year basis, but that is not exactly true. In reality, I have to make a conscious re-commitment to homeschooling on nearly a daily basis–sometimes even several times in the same day. It can be hard to choose to spend my mornings conjugating verbs, correcting math story problems, and dealing with the constant interruptions of smaller kids when I know that other moms send their kids to school, meet a friend for coffee, and then actually have some time to themselves or get the housework done.
I don’t know much about the author Gary Smalley and I haven’t read any of his books, but I liked the title of one I heard about recently: Love is a Decision. It is. Loving our families and doing what is best for them doesn’t always feel wonderful: In fact, sometimes it requires a great deal of work and self-sacrifice. If we don’t make and re-make a conscious decision to think beyond ourselves, we might follow an “easier” path that in the long run is not best for ourselves or for the people we care about.
Of course, I don’t mean to say that homeschooling is the best option for all families–it isn’t. What I mean to say is that, like most of the important decisions we make in this life, like getting married, having children, or following a call to the religious life, deciding to homeschool is a choice we make with high ideals in mind. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty details of actually living out that commitment, however, we need frequent reminders of the idealistic thinking that brought us there in the first place. Homeschooling isn’t always the easiest or most comfortable choice, but at least in my case, that’s part of the reason why I know it’s the right one.