Having concluded our first year of homeschooling, I actually feel like I could unashamedly shout from my rooftop that I homeschool and I love it. But it wasn’t always so! When we were taking our initial steps down this path, I wished I could homeschool “undercover”. I wished I could somehow keep this whole experiment a secret from our family and neighbours. Turns out that’s impossible, especially when your driveway is the school bus stop for the neighborhood! Guess who wasn’t out there to catch the bus that first day of school last September. Word travels fast.
Given my love of homeschooling and my inability to talk about much else these days, it seems funny now that I was so worried about it. Maybe I was just worried I wouldn’t be able to answer everyone’s questions. Maybe I was scared the whole homeschool experiment would not yield favorable results. But I think the biggest fear I had was that people would automatically peg me and have all sorts of preconceived notions about me if they got wind that I was homeschooling. I didn’t want people to assume they knew what I was like just because I was one of those homeschool moms. I mean, wouldn’t that kind of imply they were assuming the motivating factors behind our decision? In reality, I wasn’t exactly sure what those reasons were myself!
I knew the motivators that were not driving our decision. One thing that has always been crystal clear in my heart as my husband and I have discussed our children’s education is that we would never make decisions based on fear! That was not our reason. Neither had there been any negative experiences with our local public school. We had had only positive experiences there. We were not homeschooling to “run and hide”. We were not homeschooling to be subversive. We were not homeschooling because we wanted pictures of Jesus on our kids’ math sheets! We were not homeschooling out of compulsion due to some deep-seated conviction that it is the best way to go for every family.
If the reasons that didn’t factor into our decision were crystal clear, the reasons we were choosing to homeschool were not so nearly well defined. The only way I could describe it was a tugging on my heart, a sense that there was something about homeschooling that might allow for the kind of closeness and love of exploring and learning that we envisioned for our “family culture.”
And you know what? Looking back, I now think it was a good thing to not have polished answers for everyone who asked us what in the world we were doing. I think just being honest and humble about the fact that we didn’t know how it was going to work yielded genial responses from folks. Without arrogance, there was no need for defensiveness. I didn’t have all the answers. We were just going to see how the year went. And even though I’m no longer feeling the need to be so covert in our homeschooling, I will still readily admit to not having all the answers, and we will probably always take it year by year with no overarching statements or long term commitments.
Now I want to hear from any of you fellow homeschoolers reading this. Did you have anything you wrestled with in making that decision? Can you relate to any of my misgivings or was your experience completely different?