At a crossroads again. I’ve decided this is what life is all about….decision making. It’s constant. I prefer deciding on what is for breakfast, rather than choosing major life decisions, especially when those decisions will effect the children.
I remember a handful of years when life was steady and secure, no major decisions to be made. Years of coasting through life with no bumps are rare.
I reluctantly began my 17th year of home educating children this year. Reluctant sounds harsh, but it had nothing to do with the children. It’s just me. I have been home raising children for 23 years. I will be continuing to raise them for another 10 years until the youngest is 18. And let’s face it, the raising, worrying, and advice giving will not magically end at 18. This is a lifetime career. I absolutely love it and will never regret the time I have with my children.
That is why it has been tough to let go of homeschooling. It has worked so well and my tiny little humans have, and are, growing up into thoughtful, caring, intelligent people. I like to think I had a a little to do with that.
So why was I reluctant to start this year? Mother’s intuition. Damn that “gut” sometimes. I knew over the summer, it was time for a major shift. As the house was filled each day with neighborhood kids and laughter, I knew my four youngest were ready for something new….just like mom. As I surveyed the ground below, like a mama bird in her nest, I almost allowed them to jump….but then I panicked and couldn’t let them go just yet.
You see, I wanted it back. I wanted that new homeschooling mom motivation. As I imagine them rushing out the door on rainy school days, when we all just want to stay in bed, I remember when I first started out on this journey and had two young children. Dark, rainy days were a great excuse to pop in an educational video, curl up under blankets and stay in our pjs until noon. I would look at my children and my heart would overflow with love as I watched the busses go by, filled with tired children who had to get up too early on a dark morning. Mine were snuggled up at home and I loved that feeling. At that stage there was no concern for future ACT tests, how will we accomplish biology labs, which foreign language should we learn, and good lord!….no one was asking me how to solve algebraic equations!
Home education was a beautiful thing when the children and I were younger. I didn’t believe in text books. I believed in time. They were allowed time to explore and use their imaginations. We had no cable tv or Netflix, and instead I filled the house with excellent books, encyclopedias, games, and dvds (no garbage allowed) They kept lovely nature journals and filled them with beautiful drawings of trees, birds, whatever they wanted. Under the pictures they would write descriptions…..they were practicing writing, spelling, and grammar without knowing it.
It was lovely, exciting, fulfilling……It was sometimes lonely. When I began, homeschooling was rare. But so am I. 😉
I’ve always had a rebellious spirit. My poor mother…I was not an easy teenager. That rebellious spirit carried over into raising children. I looked at them and thought, “They have learned to crawl, walk, talk, eat, communicate, within their first 5-6 years of life with me….why is it that suddenly at age 6, I am no longer capable of teaching them anything?”
And so the journey began…..
And now it is coming to an end.
As I get emotional about sending the children to school, I remind myself that my job is to be their mother and make the best decisions for them. I know in my gut that since I am no longer passionate about homeschooling, that will trickle down to them. To continue at this point would be selfish of me. If I were still giving it my all, then continuing would make sense. But it is time to retire and move on to a new phase in life. I will always be full time mom. It is who I am.
I know I will find new ways of being involved in their education. It isn’t like I have to drop them and forget them. I look forward to volunteering at the school and watching the children blossom in a new environment.
New chapters are scary. I have been facing one after another the past few years, as have the children. Separation, divorce, moving to grandma’s, moving to a townhouse, then moving to our home, new friends, new schedules, and now a new school.
I think what scares me most in motherhood and chapters ending, is the finality of things. For myself, the finality of homeschooling means many years have gone by, which means I am older. It means time is flying and my children are growing up. By midlife, the finality of stages remind us that time is fleeting. That is a little hard to accept. But we have no choice. The choice is either grab on and embrace the changes, or sink into a depression worrying about time. Precious time. Embrace it.