Friday, April 24, 2009

Don't Wanna Homeschool

Most of my friends' kids attend public schools. My school-aged kids attend public school (I'm actually a fan of private school, which Kevin used to attend, but who can afford it?). I am acquainted with several moms, however, who homeschool their children, or who plan to. And honestly? I just don't get it. I have no desire to homeschool my kids. I'm not sure what the benefits of homeschooling are, but I can think of plenty of arguments against it - or at least questions the practice raises in my mind. That said, I fully admit that my views about homeschooling come from a complete ignorance of the practice. I've never researched it, so I really know next to nothing about it.

Having no desire to homeschool is almost incongruous with my basic parenting philosophy, at least for early childhood, and that is attachment parenting. In my circle of friends, I'm actually viewed as quite "crunchy": I homebirth, I practice extended and exclusive breast feeding, I cloth diaper, I "wear" my babies, I co-sleep (to a degree), and with Finn, we opted not to circumcise and not to vaccinate. I really only see myself as "crispy" though: I don't buy organic very much of the time, by the time the baby is a few months old I want him/her out of my bed, I use disposable diapers at night, and hell, I drive a big gas-guzzling SUV (in my defense, they don't make a Prius that seats 8).

Still, homeschooling - or at least the visiting of the option of homeschooling - is typically, it seems, a natural progression for moms with the (semi-)granola, attachment parenting philosophy. And I want no part of homeschooling.

This isn't really a post arguing against homeschooling. What I'm trying to get at is that I feel bad that I have no desire to homeschool. When I overhear conversations between moms who homeschool, or read blogs by homeschooling moms, I always feel a little . . . jealous? Shitty, certainly. I mean, they must love and enjoy their kids wayyyyy more than I do mine to want to spend all that time with them when they could be handing them off to someone else for a few hours every day. I'm not cut out for it. I absolutely don't have the patience I imagine it must require. For all my anal-retentiveness that my friends tease me about, I don't think I have the discipline to structure my and the kids' time in a way that would be conducive to school-learning. And really? I need the time away from them. They make me crazy. I love them with all of my heart, and I would die for any or all of them, but they drive me freaking nuts a lot of the time. Sending them to school every day might be the only thing standing between me and a straight-jacket. And I feel guilty knowing that I feel that way. I mean, shouldn't I want to spend every possible moment with them? And shouldn't our time together be ever joyful? Because it's not. I mean, sometimes it is. But not always. Not usually. And I think there must be something wrong with me that it's not. There must be something wrong with me as a mother to feel the relief I feel when I drop them at school every morning.


Chrystal said...

You know, I feel the same type of bad for being a mother who works outside of the home. I didn't plan it that way, but that's what happened. And now Malea is in daycare. And I have never cried when I dropped her off. Not once.

If you're in the uncaring mom category, add me.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I feel exactly the same way
about it, except I feel guilty that I wouldn't be organized, or driven enough to handle it. That's what I feel bad enough.
I do not feel guilty about not enjoying every minute of my time with them I enjoy most of it, but when they whine or fight- well, who would enjoy it?
I will tell you this. I LOVE my one on one with them!!! So what kind of Mom of Many does that make me?
Oh and when I drop of my oldest six at school in the morning- that's when I exhale.


Jen said...

Out! Out of my head!

Karly said...

I feel relief to go to work two days a week. I will join the shitty moms club. There are drinks at this party, right?

Liz said...

My reason for not even considering homeschooling is that I don't feel I have the tools or knowledge to teach everything I believe my kids can learn in a school setting. I don't doctor myself, I don't fix my own car, I don't put out my own fires. I leave those things to the experts. Does that mean I never take a Tylenol? Of course not! Does that mean I can't put on a spare? No problem! Does that mean I can't work a fire extinguisher? You bet I CAN! So my kids will go to people who are trained to teach. And will still learn with me and Jeff, too, of course.

Amy Andrews said...

Anal retentive? Check. The patience of a gnat? Check. Want time to myself? Check. I'm right there with ya. Homeschooling was never, ever on my radar screen for those and about 14 more reasons! Frankly, I was counting the days until I could send my youngest off to Kindergarten! Aahhhhh!!!! :)

All was going according to plan until our oldest was HATING first grade in public school and really, our options were severely limited; I just knew we couldn't go on like we were. "Homeschooling" came up in a few conversations with people we knew, but I always brushed them off immediately -- I just could not imagine myself holed up in our dingy basement lecturing to my pathetic, friendless children 8 hours a day. Then I heard a story of a homeschooling family (friends of our friends) who were on a 3-month long trip touring all the castles in Europe. Huh? Turns out they read about castles in their homeschool and then thought, "Hey! Let's go visit them!" And I guess they did it for next to nothing too, going off season, staying in youth hostels and shopping at local grocery stores for their food, etc. Frugal travel or not, I'm not sure our budget would allow for a 3-month long European vacation, but still, I was intrigued.

I started poking around online for info about homeschooling and picking the brains of some of my homeschooling friends. I was TOTALLY overwhelmed with a lot of it, but admittedly, I came to realize how completely ignorant I was about it.

Anyway, long story a bit shorter, we decided to "just try it" and you know, I've gotta say, sometimes I think I'm having more fun than they are! (And there is not a single soul on the face of this earth that is more surprised by that statement than me!!) Sure, I've got my days when I'm ready to ship 'em off to...well, ANYWHERE, but the benefits totally make up for it.

I certainly don't want to "push" anything as I know the decision about the education of our children is totally a personal one, but I think this site has a great list of FAQs if you're interested. (I'm not affiliated with them in any way, I just think it's very informative, thorough and helpful.)

Anonymous said...

Don't go and make yourself feel guilty for something like this:-) Most kids do better when it comes to taking direction regarding learning from people other than their parents. There's a lot to be said when it comes to schools helping our kids becoming well-socialized (and in some instances our kids learn what not to do also). Of course, it's a personal decision, but even as a former teacher I did not feel comfortable with the idea of educating my own children on my own.


Nicole O'Dell said...

My friend was thrust into homeschooling this year for various reasons, and she regrets not doing it sooner. That being said, I am TOTALLY with you on this one. I do wish I wanted to do it...but I don't.

Tricia said...

I totally hear where you are coming from and I have struggled with the same thoughts, but then I saw how much Georgia LOVES being around other kids...and really, it sort of solved it all for me. I also kind of feel like there is this general "judging" that goes on with parents/moms for the choices we all make and sadly we end up judging ourselves based on all these ideas that are out there bouncing around. I am trying to look at most things as suggestions and not demands.

There is nothing wrong with being crispy. Or real.

Leigh Anne said...

i'm trying to catch up on my favorite blogs so this comment is a bit late ;) my reasons for homeschooling are likely much different than most....we have a special situation in our husband's entire family lives on the opposite coast of mine. we aren't willing to see/visit one family for only a couple of months a year (summer), so HS'ing gives us the freedom we crave.

i also think i could do a way better job than our public schools (& yes. who vcan afford private ones?)

Anonymous said...

I just don't get home schooling. There's a huge social component missing as well as learning to get along with others, making friends, getting invited to parties (yes, I know the home school thing has it's own network, it's not the same thins)playing sports and club activities, working in groups, going to social events, and build teams.

How fun can it be to roll out of bed and into the next room or meet at the dining room table for school? I think kids miss out on learning to adapt to a schedule or regiment that they will need later in life in orfer to function in the real world.

I've had many debates with a friend of mine who is pro home schooling because the kids who are don't have to deal with the "bad" kids or influences that come with a public or private school.

Oh, please. To me, home schooling is the same as living in a compound in Waco.

As for my son,