Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Homeraising Mom

I have a few friends who are homeschooling moms. Neither I nor my husband feel that homeschooling would be right for our family. I am far too selfish and far too appreciative of the time I have to do "other things" while Amanda is in school. In addition, I don't think I have the self-motivation to actually get it done. I'm afraid we'd take advantage of the loose schedule to do other things, and we might never get done with our lessons. Also, the combination of my personality and Amanda's personality just don't seem well-suited to me being her teacher all day. I think we'd end up like my mom and I did back in Junior High school when I was trying to do my first Algebra homework at the kitchen table--crying (one or both of us) and screaming (both of us). But in those families who feel called to do it, there are some things that I really envy.

1. The Schedule--Being able to vacation at times other than school breaks when everyone else is trying to vacation. And as much as I like to know that I have some time alone to do housework, read, watch TV, or lunch with friends, Amanda is gone an awfully long time each day. I would love her to be home a couple of hours earlier.

2. The Team--By going to "Insert Your Last Name Here" school, there seems to emerge a sense of community. Yes, we are all a community within our families, but Amanda's community at school is a different one, whereas for the homeschooled families, the school community is layered into that of family, creating a more significant bond.

3. The Influence--For most people I know who choose to homeschool, the influence that others would have on their children factored into their decision. Five or six years old is awfully early to have your child facing influences from other students, the school curriculum, and to spend as many or more waking hours with another adult instead of you. When your children are home with you, their primary interactions are with you and with their siblings. Homeschooled children remain sheltered at home, and when I say sheltered, there is no negative undertone at all. I continue to try to shelter Amanda in her outside playdate choices, TV and movie viewing, and things that she is exposed to. Homeschooling extends the amount of time you have to exert influence, or raise, your kids.

I have latched onto this notion, and decided that even though Amanda is away from me a good part of the day, I can hopefully continue to be her primary influence, as opposed to a teacher, the school system in general, or her peers. Fortunately, she shares pretty much everything with me, so we actually have the opportunity to discuss choices, behavior, and consequences of actions. In fact, I've even seen a benefit to her interaction and eductation at school. While she's still young and still values my opinions above all others, I can help her respond to a cruel classmate, or others who want to exclude a girl from their play, or explain to her why saying "Oh my God," is disrespectful to our Lord. These are opportunities that one friend who homeschooled realizes that she won't necessarily be able to face at this time. Of course, her children are completely unaware of some of the choices that Amanda's secular classmates make, and in this case with a young child, ignorance really is bliss.

So, I'm not a homeschooler, but I'm trying my best to be a homeraiser.


Anonymous said...

I love the term "homeraising" - thanks for your insight.

Dianne said...

Hey Jennifer . . . good post and I thought you might like to know that the "Hobbit" had her little one this morning around 3am! I think you know what I'm talking about :)

Dianne said...

One additional comment . . . as a former teacher, I taught lots of home-raised kids and what a joy they and their families were. Their parents only expected me to supplement the strong foundation they were already laying in their child's heart. I felt like I was working in tandem with those parents and they made teaching truly a joy. So you go girl; you will be a blessing to many with this approach!

Gina said...

Just found your site. After years of saying I could never homeschool (for similar reasons as you) when my oldest was going into 3rd grade, God showed me that's what He wanted me to do.(at least for a season) We've been at it two years and it has its good and bad days,(and we've signed up for a third) but God's doing a good work in us all through this adventure.

Whether your kids go to school or stay at home, being in the will of God is the best and safest place to be!

Blessings on you and your kiddos!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for all the encouragement. I think that as moms we need a lot more encouragement and support of the choices we make, instead of bickering over them! Knowing great moms of great kids who make all the different choices regarding education helps me understand and support all of them.

Tammy said...

Hi...I posted to another post but found this one and wanted to add that I agree with the others. I home school...this was my first year and we loved it...but as the gal, gina, said, being God's will is the best and safest place...and that is different for each person or family...and sometimes changes with each season.

It's like when I was a new mom and choices of breastfeeding vs. bottle...and cloth diapers vs. disposable...whatever our choices are, motherhood is hard enough without us being overly judgemental of each other. We all just need to listen to God's leading for the season we're in.

And also- yes...that is a great term you coined-homeraising!

Lisa writes... said...

Can I comment like a year later? Hopefully so, as I too am a "homeraiser" who sends her four children to public school. Like you, my husband and I see ourselves as the primary educators and indoctrinators of our children. I've decided both homeschooling and public schooling require a good measure of faith! It is critical that each of us, homeschooling or homeraising, are walking in obedience to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Great post!

elizabeth said...

Hey I'm commenting THREE YEARS LATE! Not my fault--I didn't know you existed at the time! But I agree with your philosophy of this. Homeschooling is a terrible fit for our family, but we never felt we were giving up our influence in their lives by sending them off every morning :)

PS It's edj from Planet Nomad but all day blogger has been giving me issues and refusing to recognize me as legit!