Honestly, I was a really good mom before I had kids. My future imaginary children were respectful, calm, intelligent. They were little angels, all due to my impeccable imagined parenting skills.My real-life children are no different. Sure, there was that one time that little bit threw himself on the floor kicking and screaming in the middle of a very crowded mall, much to the extreme embarrassment of my mother. And, my little Rae of Sunshine once wandered off in the Christmas-crowded mall to find Santa (SO many thanks to the random, older Indian lady who took the time to take her hand and lead her back to her hysterical mother! Way to be the village!). Oh yeah, Bear actually stabbed my (still extremely embarrassed) mother’s pristine, you-can’t-touch-this, fancy living room couch. And now that I’m thinking about it, at least one of them makes a ruckus in the middle of prayer every. Single. Sunday. And don’t even attempt to open the door to the playroom. Or their room. Best to just avoid our house altogether.
Alright, so maybe they aren’t perfectly ‘behaved’ according to your traditional expectations, and I am certainly not the ‘perfect’ parent I thought I would be. I advocate against spanking, I sling the sarcasm right back, I give in probably more than is advisable. But I also laugh more, love more, feel so overwhelmed with the beauty of my life more.
Which is a long and rambling way to get to homeschooling. I remember when my sister-in-law-who-is-actually-my-sister starting homeschooling her now 16-year-old son. (Wait, that can’t be right, 16!? Yes, 16.) I was adamant that *I* would never do such a stupid and damaging thing to *my* children. My how the mighty have fallen.
A few years ago, when the kids were well before school age, something started to change. I call this God. God placed homeschool on my heart. While researching fun activities to do with my preschoolers, I stumbled upon several blogs, like Red Ted Art, that published articles about education reform as well as educational activities. And, much to my surprise, I started to get interested in what they had to say.
Then I came across Alfie Kohn and my life was forever changed. I read Unconditional Parenting, then devoured everything else I could find, including What It Means To Be Well Educated, another eye-opening life changing work. From there I read (that one in kindle) and watched Waiting for Superman. I wanted strong and creative children. I wanted them to have time to run and play. I wanted more time to cement my relationship with them and create a strong moral foundation. The public education system seemed a far cry from these goals. I was convinced.
Problem was, then-husband and kids dad wasn’t. Once we got divorced, it seemed like a lost cause. I would have to go back to work, the dream was dead.
But then, as life has a way of doing, we got a curve ball. We found ourselves living out in the country, working with my cousin and homeschooling. The schools in our small rural town were some of the worst in the area, and it was decided on all sides that homeschool was our best option at the time. God has a funny way of working things out.
Now, we are back in the suburbs, but life goes on. And thankfully so does homeschool. I’m proud to be a homeschool mom, just like I’m proud to practice positive parenting. I’m proud that I didn’t become the parent I thought I would be, but instead work hard to be the best parent I can be.