Monday, April 13, 2015
It is hard for me to even put that title on this post. I hate not being a homeschooler anymore. It has taken me 3 years to clarify my feelings on the subject but I now understand the struggle. I lost my people. I left my tribe.
When I picked up the book Designing You Own Classical Curriculum 10 years ago, I instantly knew I had found something I did not know I was looking for - a beautiful way to grow in faith and closeness with my children. It felt so right. I was sold...and so the journey began.
I started with my oldest; she never went to school. I moved to Mobile, AL and met the most amazing Catholic moms. These women made me. It was a group I loved being part of. I lived in an area surrounded by Catholic schools, but my place was with these very devout moms who educated their kids at home and made their faith very much apart of what they did. Kids were young, playful and connected to each other. So were the moms. And about this time I started blogging, finding other mamas around the country, and eventually allowing knitting to become part of my life (which I feel plays a part in my story).
Saying things felt hard is an understatement. My two oldest children, however, were making me look good because they were easy to teach and did whatever I told them (for the most part). It was the other little blessings that came along during this journey that made the hard part feel hard. It was a struggle to love being a mama to my little ones and to be a decent teacher. It was a challenge I did not do well...and I had it pretty easy with my 2 students.
Our move to Virginia introduced our family to a little town outside of the capitol which can be compared to a "Catholic Disneyland". It had the most amazing home school group you can imagine. The priest was very pro-home school and so were the parishioners. Before moving I felt like I had hit the home school lottery. How could you not homeschool in this area?
At this point I will admit to becoming a bit distracted with "other" things in my life. I can be an all or nothing type person and looking back I know this to be the downfall to home schooling commitment. I was a knitter, crafter, sewer and blogger - and that was all I wanted to do. Granted, I made myself school the children, but my heart and mind were elsewhere. And during that distracted period my new students, Jack and Lucy, were nothing like the first two! They were not easy learners...or dare I allow myself to think that my attitude may have contributed to their struggles?
And then one day, while standing in my kitchen and watching the neighborhood kids walking by our house from the bus , Emily says, "Mama, I think I want to go to school this year." We had just kicked off her 6th year of school at home. She said what I was thinking. And I said, "So do I." Prayer and discussion were not part of my answer..emotion and impatience was.
"Fine," I said to myself, "let's try it. I can always go back if I don't like it." By the time Pete came home, the papers were signed and kids were starting that Monday. What? Like I said, all or nothing!
It has been a wild ride. The changes that we introduced are constant, complex and vast. But the most surprising and hardest change for me is trying to answer these simple questions...where do I belong? Who am I now? Am I the mom I was very much trying to be if I don't home school my kids? Can I still have a family that strives for holiness if I don't home school?
And for the last few years, I was not sure what to think. I read homeschool blogs, I downloaded homeschool talks. I can identify with moms who homeschool. I get it. I wanted to do it. But I stopped. And I no longer belonged. Yet I want to. I think the way they think. I love my faith, I am open to life, I get it that the domestic church is where my kids need to be formed....I just don't want to teach math, science, social studies and English to them.
I now live in an area that does not embrace homeschooling. Let me just say this is NOT CATHOLIC DISNEYLAND. But I miss belonging the the group. It's funny being on the outside looking in because I remember when I homeschooled the moms who didn't never knew what to do with me...it was weird to them. But now I feel the opposite. I feel like the moms who I emotionally and spiritually identify with don't know what to do with me. Talk about irony!
But here's the thing...I'm still me. I still love being Catholic more than life itself. I still am open to life and want more children (just a reminder Lord), I try to teach my kids the faith, I try to live the liturgical year, I still believe in all the things that I did when I was a home schooling mama, I still try and bring my kids to mass as often as I can. I just struggle with different things than I may have if I stayed.
But there are very few blogs that have homeschool hearts with public school kids. But I am finding out that I can still be VERY catholic without homeschooling...I admit to feeling like I turned in my Catholic card. I didn't!! I couldn't!!
I pray that God will give me the desire to homeschool again. But until then I am still on fire for all things Catholic and being a good mom and wife who leads my kids to kno , love and serve God right where He has them.