Here’s to All of Us…


Years ago, when I actually had time to read books about homeschooling, I came across one that pointed out that Christian women had it easy (hey, they said it, not me) when it came to explaining why they homeschooled. But, it continued, it was a lot harder for secular women to answer what was essentially the question “Why do you want to spend so much time with your kids?”

I’ve got to admit, this was an easier question for me a few years ago. It’s probably no coincidence that my regular blog posts stopped roughly two years ago when my oldest hit preteen angst and my youngest wasn’t so young anymore. There was pee under the bathroom seats, constant humming and whining, and laundry everywhere, with the exception of socks and underwear which, despite all secular leanings, my children will all tell you have “gone to live with Jesus.” If my kids were in school, my house might be clean(er), I’d have more free time…you know how the arguments go.

Two years later, it’s just as hard. Many of my older son’s friends have gone to school and new friends just beginning the homeschooling venture have entered our lives. They’re asking me if we’ll homeschool through high school, and frankly some days it’s kind of like wondering if I’d chew off my own leg if I were stuck on an isolated moor with gangrene, and were also surprisingly flexible. I’m starting to feel the itch to Get Something Done, something “For Me,” that can’t be replicated by a clean-up crew,  paid chauffeur, or fleet of trained monkeys. Part of me wants to go for it, and the other part of me hesitates, thinking it must be impossible to have both some sort of personal career AND homeschool. You can’t have everything unless you’re Oprah. I’m not even blood type A, and I’m not sure I even know where *my* underwear is.

Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way and other books, has nasty things to say to her inner critics, but since this is a family site, I’m not going to swear in my first post. My point is, though, it’s a lot easier to get by when you can say “Hey, GOD’S telling me to do this!” Not only am I short a divine copilot, but my passenger seat is now occupied by either my oldest son and his ipod, or the dog if the Taylor Swift vs. My Chemical Romance arguments get too heated and I depose him to the back seat with his siblings. Spending every day with people who you dearly love is both wonderful and difficult, especially when there’s no manifest destiny or divine charter, just an occasional anemic “what was I thinking?” Sometimes the line between snuggling on the couch and crying in your car is pretty slim.

I’ve got my own secret ninja stealth sanity strategies (only some of them involving box wine), but I want to know yours. I want to know about your struggles and the idiosycratic little joys that make your lives worthwhile and thrill you past the doubt. We’re all living an odd sort of life, off the normal grid of homework and fill-in-the-little-dot-tests, but also functioning often in our own little electric worlds because we don’t really fit in anywhere. Life is much easier, and more fun, with community.

So the bottom line is — we need each other. Some days I can channel the patience of the Dalai Lama, and some days, I don’t need it. Others, I could use a good laugh or the kind word of a friend who’s just been there, done that, misplaced the t-shirt with the underwear. This is that kind of place. I don’t have your socks or your underwear, but what I do hope to do is gather us all around and prop each other up with our solid little heathen souls. And I bet our kids will join us, because they’re turning into some pretty interesting people, aren’t they.

That’s why I homeschool.

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