Even though I had known many successful homeschool families both in North Carolina and in Texas, the decision to home school was an anxious one. That night I couldn’t sleep, wondering if I’d be able to teach Physics or Chemistry and what had I gotten myself into.
But the day that it became clear, Responsibility and Euphoria set in. Whoa. The idea that I was now the single most important role model in my children’s lives kicked in. Why I had never taken that seriously before, I’ll never know. My behavior day in and day out now became the most significant factor in who my children will become. Heavy stuff. I have to become that whom I would wish my children to be. Honest, thoughtful, kind, patient, – enter Charlotte Mason.
I was told by another homeschool mom that I should check out Charlotte Mason. She was an English woman who lived about 100 years ago and was way ahead of her time. She wrote extensively on home education. As I was exploring the world of Charlotte Mason, I came across a list of virtues that we must work to instill in our children. Just as you work with reading or math, you also must teach your children the things that really matter, like kindness, gentleness, gratitude (and the list goes on and on) and then it came to: orderliness and organization.
Well, leave it to Beaver, how the heck am I supposed to instill orderliness and organization in my children if Feng Shui is the least of my skills? It dawned on me. Charlotte recommends taking 4-6 weeks to work on any one skill. I took the next 6 weeks and dedicated them to organizing my world. With all honesty, it’s taken about 12 weeks so far. I looked up ways to get organized and the best I found was this advice: straighten your cluttered areas (your office for instance) and then take 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to keep it that way. No duh. Clean up your act and keep it that way. I’m really glad I didn’t hire an “organization specialist” to tell me that. But it is just that simple. You have to be dedicated to organization in order to make it a part of your life. You have to practice it in order to gain the skill.
Aside from the obvious better me that will arise from homeschooling, the daily euphoria comes from the realization that I will never have to get up at 6 am to get my kid and his sandwich to the bus stop where he will invariably be teased about something. And from the idea that we’re free, free to travel when we want, study what we want, and spend our time together doing the things that have made human life so precious since it’s dawning. I get to spend one-on-one time with my children teaching them in the ways that they individually learn best. And then we get to spend the rest of the time just playing, being, and breathing.
It feels very similar to the feeling I had when I witnessed my sister-in-law giving birth on a king sized bed; I experienced a complete undermining of my understanding of the way things are supposed to be. In that moment I knew I would give birth at home and not in some sterile, cold, strange, sickly hospital. The idea of homeschool to me now is like that – I will now bring learning to my family from the greatest authors, scientists, historians, philosophers, thinkers, and life-lovers. I will not subject them to the dumbing down of their peers, their society, and their government. I so look forward to the next seventeen years of my life. And I, in turn, will certainly become educated, and that excites me almost as much as giving birth.