My three children are all very young. The twins, my oldest children, are just about to turn old enough to attend public school next fall. And if I were like most other mothers on my street, I would have already checked into the formalities of getting them enrolled. I would have already scoped out the school, talked with a teacher or two, found out about their curriculum and what I could do at home now to get the children ready for their first day of school.
I’m not like most moms on my street though. I haven’t set one foot in the school. In fact, I’m not sure I even know which school in town is the elementary school. Hows that for avoidance? I haven’t spoken to any teachers and I don’t know who I would have to get in touch with to sign my children up for school. Why? Because I don’t want to send my children away. Every fiber of my very being is recoiling against the idea and has been for quite some time.
I want to homeschool.
I want to wake up in the morning, hug my children close, cook them a nice breakfast and talk with them, not as if I’m a stranger trying to crack the shell of their lives so I can claim to know them, but as their mother, the one person in the world who knows them better than anyone else, except maybe for their father. I have enjoyed every discovery, every wonder, every ‘first step’ from their first step to their first realization that letters make words and words mean something. I love that look, you know the one, when your child has just made a connection, a discovery, when the light has just shown them another piece of this lifelong puzzle.
In some respects, I do want to shelter them, as some might suggest. I do want to be their safe harbor. I am their mother, after all. More than that, though, I want to open up their world in ways that no institution can do because they don’t have time enough, resources enough or love enough to actually care about all the children they are charged with teaching.
I want to develop a tight bond with my children, built on love, respect and trust that can’t be built in the few moments left after school, homework, and extra activities pushed on children. I want my children to feel loved. I want them to feel confident. I want them to know that when they spread their wings to fly away, they are doing it because they are actually ready, not because they are 18 and the failing system has offered its last.
I am writing this tonight mostly for my husband, who is on the fence on this issue. I want him to know what it is that first brought me to this decision. Much has recently happened that has added to my desire to keep my children away from public school and I may take some time soon to write about it. But for tonight, I lay my heart out for you. Maybe my words can not only help my husband find his way to the place I’m in, but help you find the confidence to make your choice.
Until next time,