As of yesterday, I have officially added "homeschooling mom" to the list of titles that I have carried in my life. And just like the "pastor's wife" title that I have carried since I said, "I do," it's one that I thought I would never, ever, in a million years, have associated with my name… not because I ever had anything against it, but rather because I've just never felt like it was for me. The conversation would come up, and I would pretend to entertain the idea, but deep down I just knew it was never going to happen. Period.
But sometimes life is funny. It wasn't until I was away from my kids this summer for almost three straight weeks (with a tiny break in the middle there) that I continued to feel something pressed upon my heart. It was this "thing" that I just couldn't shake… like a small whisper or a nudge, and even though it was oh-so-quiet, it would wake me in my sleep and penetrate my thoughts in even the loudest room. And it was one that was telling me, for reasons that I could not understand, to at least consider keeping my little ones home this year. I disliked the voice so much that I did not even tell my husband, even though he had a major part in the process of making this decision! But I just couldn't go there… not yet.
If you're wondering why I was ever so set against this idea, I can honestly tell you that I'm not entirely sure. I will say that there is a small part of me that was looking forward to kindergarten, so that I'd have more time to pursue some other passions that I've put off for awhile and throw myself more into the work of our church. Another part of me did not want to fall into the stereotype that all pastors' families are homeschooling families. I've never had anything against any type of school, whether it be public, private, or anything else, and I have loved everything about the little preschool we've sent our kiddos to over the past two years. In regards to why one should homeschool, I've had conversations that were completely uplifting and positive and many that harbored so much animosity toward any other way of doing school that it turned me off to the idea. It can be a hot topic, that's for sure, and if you're not homeschooling, let me be the first to say that it's alright… it's not for everyone, and honestly, not everyone is in a situation where they can make it work for their current family situation.
And that's just the thing… it's YOUR family. In all the times that I spoke to anyone about it, very few people made it about US, about MY kids, and about MY family. If it's such a personal decision, I couldn't figure out why everyone kept talking about why the world ought to be doing it one way or the other, rather than applying it to the person in the conversation. And so this is my new answer, for this and just about every other decision this family is going to make over the next seventy years:
We're just doing what's right for our family right now.
I cannot tell you how much JOY I have found in that statement, and how freeing it has truly been! Right now, in this season of our lives with Josh traveling a lot and our weekends not really being weekends, homeschool works great for us. The kids can travel with us and experience things they cannot get if they are in school, and I can stretch myself and teach them, and soak up these days while they are still little. But can I say that this will be right for my family next year? Ummm… not really. Not yet. I know some people feel like you should commit whole-heartedly, but through the years I've learned that life changes in a blink of an eye and throws surprises at you that you never saw coming. And so we learn to roll with it, adjust on the fly, and evaluate our current situation with every changing year. Take me for example: since we've been married I've worked in an office, I've worked from home full-time, I've been laid off, I've worked full-time for the church, I've worked part-time for the church, I've taken time off to just be a mom and a wife, and now there's this. Because in those times, those things worked best for my family.
So I think here's my point… whatever it is that you're fretting over right now and whatever decisions you're facing, just know that as long as you're doing what's best for YOUR family, that's the best you can do. Whether your kids are in public school, private school, charter school, or homeschool, just make sure it's the best situation for what you want your family to get out of it. Whether you breastfeed, bottle feed, or give your child goat's milk, just do what's best for your family. I moved one of my children to his crib at 5 weeks old, and my little girl slept in our bed until she was 9 months old, because at those times, those choices worked best for our family.
So for you moms out there, stop looking left and right. Please stop doubting yourself and your instincts so much. Instead, look within your own home, evaluate everything that is happening around you, and take notice of the season of life that you're in and base your decisions on that. And know that what you decide does not have to be the way you do things forever, because I guarantee there is a curve ball coming at you that you won't see coming. And then you'll adjust.
But most importantly, never say never. This pastor's wife who home schools her kids hardly recognizes herself these days, but she's doing what's best for her family right now and it's the most rewarding feeling I've ever had.
Sidenote: our first two days of homeschool have been awesome! I do plan to share some of my thoughts and experiences on here throughout the year (considering that BOTH of my kids are napping right now, which NEVER happens anymore… hooray for this new schedule!), but can honestly say that I am blown away with how much I have loved it. And that has very little to do with homeschooling or not homeschooling, and everything to do with giving into that little whisper. Is God whispering anything to you right now?