September 7th, 2010

My Annual Homeschool Freak Out

Tomorrow morning we start our homeschool year. I often choose the Nativity of Mary as a starting date because leaning on Our Lady a bit helps me fight off that choking feeling of panic that rises in my throat every year at the beginning of September.

So, here we go.

I have written before about my ambivalence about homeschooling (Darn that new Inside Catholic site — it’s very cool and all, but I can’t seem to make the links to my old columns work anymore). My husband and I have prayerfully determined that homeschooling is the best choice for us in our current circumstances, but I don’t at all pretend that homeschooling is the ideal or that it’s for everyone.

It simply isn’t. No system of education is.

My precious charts! Nobody touch my precious charts!

The truth is, I think I find homeschooling especially stressful because I have never been a “planner.” I am a “do-er.” I see homeschooling moms who oooh and ahhh over curricula, who have nifty little planners all filled out with liturgically-themed popsicle stick craft projects, state capitals poetry exercises, and recipes for Cooking Your Way Through Roman History, and I wonder at the vast variety of God’s creation.

Because I am not sure at all that we are of the same species.

It would appear that some of us are genetically pre-disposed to be homeschoolers. I am not.

There is something about the broad responsibility of homeschooling that makes me feel like, no matter what, I must be doing it wrong. Or not enough. Or I am using the wrong books, or I shouldn’t be using books, or my kids aren’t getting out enough, or they are getting out too much, or I have too rigid a schedule, or I have too loose a schedule, or I am doing too much housework at the expense of the kids’ educations, or I am educating the children at the expense of basic sanitation, or I am paying too much attention to the little kids and not enough to the big kids, or I am paying too much attention to the big kids and not enough to the little kids, or …

Well, maybe you get the idea.

The white board in our classroom.

Whether I am comfortable in my role as a homeschooler or not, I have to admit that God put me here, and that it is His will for our family to learn at home for yet another year.

Would I rather be dancing through the aisles like those parents in the Staples commercial? The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?


But when I consider the idea of sending my kids to school, an entirely different kind of choking panic rises in my throat.

Which leaves me to think that it’s not homeschooling that is especially hard. It’s just plain parenting that is especially hard.

All parents, whether their kids learn at home or in a classroom, should lean hard on God’s grace. Because though our details might differ, God calls every one of us to sacrificial love through our family lives. And that’s not likely to come easy to any of us.

Perhaps it’s time to mom up. Perhaps the time for analyzing our schooling decisions for this year is done and what’s left to do is only work hard and pray harder — whatever it takes to live up to God’s particular call for me here in this particular family.

Hang on tight, kids. Here we go.

(cross-posted at The Anchoress)

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