Confessions of a Lazy Homeschooler

I confess to you, dear reader, that I feel I am the soul of laziness. I am not certain whether the trait is inherited or learned but it is at the very least imbedded rather deeply at this point. I keep thinking that I am tired, yes, it must be that I am tired. I am, it seems, rather overwhelmed I suppose, what with my writing, my domestic puttering about, my childrearing, homeschooling and all the other sundry tasks with which I busy myself.

I have so much to do and find that I might even get the time to do some of the “list” I keep but I feel lazy, unable to move, unwilling to participate, depressed and downright defiant…no matter how many cups of coffee I imbibe.

Someone suggeted to me recently that I consider putting my children into “regular school” and for a brief moment it did sound appealing. The suggestion hung there weightily, a red delicious apple gleaming in the sunlight, hanging from a branch labeled “free time” and I reached for it with both hands…and stopped. “Think” says I, to my greedy subconcious self.

All I could think in that moment was “what will make my life easier?” Layered under that brief question however were other, more specific things I hoped would be solved by this momentous decision…what will make my house cleaner? what will help me sleep better? what will make me feel more satisfied? what will make me less cranky?

Will putting my children in school and daycare do all that for me? “Sign me up!” thinks I, yet I stay my hand another moment from grasping the succulent fruit before me.

Will putting my children in school and daycare do all that for me? This is the question and one not so easily answered, “yes” in sudden haste. Moving back from the tree of institutionalized education for a moment I ponder. Why did we detour from the given educational road when my daughter reached the first grade; my first born, my early reader, my incredibly social, super friendly and outgoing child?

I suppose the easy answer to that hard question is that it felt like the right way to go. I felt a crazy pull toward homeschooling that is hard to explain. To be perfectly honest homeschooling was NEVER on my radar, I thought it was a rather crackpot way of doing things. One summer day after the last day of kindergarten I felt this tug. I knew that the school my daughter attended was perhaps not the place I wanted to see her live out her gradeschool years and was examining our other options. The most basic and yet the most complex reason I chose to homeschool was that my heart kept coming back to it, over and over. Finally, annoyed with the whole idea I prayed about it. I gave God this little ultimatum, because that’s how I am with Him (I hope He finds it amusing…) “I’ll pray for one week about this God and I’ll homeschool if that’s what you want but you have to change my heart, because I DON’T want to do it.”

So I prayed for a week and began on monday with a heart of concrete. By wednesday I was looking at homeschooling laws, by thursday I was picking out curriculum and by saturday morning I was doing a “test run” with my daughter in our livingroom to see how it would feel…and it felt right, my mushy, slobbery heart leaking all over the couch as we read together…so we began that way.

Would it really make things easier to put them in school? There would still be driving from place to place, lesson to lesson. There would still be projects to complete, models to make, spelling tests for which to study, math homework to tackle. I woudl still have the “hard ones” running around my feet…the ones too young to put into school, the ones who need the majority of the attention.

What would it really change? It would mean that new deadlines would appear, ones which could not be moved because it’s a beautiful day for a nature walk, because it’s pajama day at our house, because gramma is visiting from out of town. We have this remarkable gift of making our own schedule, making our own rules, making and moving our own deadlines if we’d like. When will they ever get this opportunity again? When will I ever get this opportunity again?

Alas…the apple, she dangles there…ready to be plucked…all I must do is reach and pull. I find though, in that moment that I do not desire an apple but rather a plum…and that tree is planted, already bearing fruit in my own back yard.