It’s funny how life turns out.
Growing up in the ’80s, I don’t think I ever heard the term “homeschooling”. The only other children I knew attended our Catholic parochial school, and nearly everyone moved up from that sheltered grade school to one of the area Catholic high schools. There was the Catholic high school for the academically-minded, another for the athletically-minded, and a third for the students who weren’t really either.
I attended the academically-minded Catholic high school. Although the academic studies were of extremely high quality, the school was nominally Catholic. We had altar girls at our school Masses long before 1994. The nuns were often promoting women priests. And motherhood was never, as far as my memory serves me, promoted as a viable vocation. I graduated from this high school believing I would start my own business and eventually becoming a high-dollar-earning, power-CEO of a large corporation. And single, of course. Why ever would I want a family, when I could be at the top of my own high-rise building?
Fast forward several decades. My reality is that I’m a middle-aged, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of a large family. Some days, it seems like it would be less stressful to be the head of a large corporation. Being a CEO would require less management than maintaining a smoothly-running household while keeping all the children healthy and in clean clothes, with all of them continually progressing in their different subjects at their different grade-levels, AND being able to answer the question every afternoon: “Mom, what’s for dinner?!” (A CEO has lots of underlings to whom tasks can be delegated and probably eats out a lot.)
I have a mom friend who is a medical professional. She made the leap from being a physician employee to purchasing a private medical practice a few years ago. A few months ago, she shared with me her child’s struggles with reading, spelling, and writing, even after being in the special education program for years at school. She wryly remarked, “My child knows all about global warming and animal conservation but can’t read or spell.” This child had never had a spelling lesson, due to always being pulled out during the spelling lesson for extra reading help. And apparently the extra reading help took the form of the special ed teacher reading to the child. Hmm. In her opinion, the child had been falling further and further behind every year.
Having experienced the struggle myself of having a child who had trouble learning to read — as well as the triumph of this same child achieving spectacularly on standardized tests after six years of intense working — I agreed to tutor her child. After just four hours of tutoring with me over a two-week period, she reported to me that both she and her husband had noticed that their child’s academic confidence had soared. This child, who previously had sadly stated, “My brain is dumb . . .” now happily was experiencing that learning was truly achievable.
I later told my friend how I’ve gone back to high school science, trying to figuring out the periodic table of elements again. My friend confessed to me that she was jealous of me . . . for being able to stay home and struggle, learn, and triumph along with my children in their educational pursuits. I realized just how blessed I am to homeschool my children. The grass truly is greener, right at my feet.