We’ve all been told American children are at the bottom of the world spectrum of education. We know our children in the public schools suffer from ignorance, mediocracy, and failure. We’ve all been sold on the bill of no child left behind, but our future generations are being left behind in this world at an exponential rate.
We no longer feel safe in the public education institutions. The past few years the media has rang the horror of innocents being gunned down by wounded and out of control individuals. High schools feel more like prison camps with the daily patrols and weapon scanners. As parents, fear grips our hearts as we watch our tender babies walk into uncertain places.
A lifetime ago, I wasn’t a mom. I was the teacher staring back at 22 sets of eyes. I remember the overwhelming responsibility to keep them all on task and learning right at their perfect level. I remember holding tiny girls on the playground because bullies show up even at age five. I watched all learning stop, and the class wait while one struggling child created chaos in the room.
So, when I became a mommy, all I wanted was to protect my babies from all things evil, and give them every opportunity for the best education possible. The thought of my children, my heartbeats, suffering, failing or falling behind, made my very heart stop. I would do anything to protect them from the punches life gives.
I’m not the only one who feels this way, because, by the droves, families are pulling their children from the public system to educate their children at home and on their terms. They’re protecting their children, they’re giving them time, and freedom. Parents are taking responsibility for their children’s learning. And this is exactly what I planned to do.
I created space for learning and freedom in our home. I planned our curriculum, organized notebooks, and researched all the criteria required to homeschool our children. We embarked on a journey of a self-driven education all in the protection of our home, except most days were spent fighting with my children. Weeks would go by without a break from each other, and daily, one of us would have a meltdown that left more than one of us in a puddle of tears. My children were learning, but no one was having fun.
By the time bedtime rolled around, I couldn’t get them to bed fast enough. I would yell, shout and rush them along. I skipped prayers, cuddles and bedtime stories, because I just couldn’t take another moment with my brood. We didn’t like each other and we were tired of being at home. I discovered we had tons of quantity time together, but very little quality time, and I was sinking under the sea of guilt for failing as a mother. I knew something wasn’t right. I felt trapped, and I’m pretty sure so did my children. Something had to change.
I listened to what my children were saying, and I listened to what my heart was saying. That’s when I began to entertain the thought, “maybe homeschool isn’t for us”. That right there sent me under the sea of guilt for failing as a homeschool mother. It took me weeks of grieving before I could move on to a plausible solution. I grieved the loss of plan A. I mourned that my perfect plan wasn’t working, and that we were going to need a new plan. I had to accept that giving up homeschool wasn’t failing. Failing would be refusing to change.
So, how did I change? How did Matt and I let go of our lost dream? Did I give up my responsibility of giving my children the best education possible? Did I decide my children’s safety was no longer my concern? How could I possibly be ok with sending my children into the wolves’ den of bullies? How?
I began to trust that there is good in this world, and that good will follow my children everywhere they go. I trust that we will be able to encourage them to push harder, go further, and be more than what anyone tells them they can. I trust that they will learn who they truly are, and become just that. I trust that when they do experience the bully who tries to dim their light, I will be there to fan their flame bright again. I trust that when they fall through the cracks of the protection I’ve built around them, they will always fall into the net of Love. I trust that they will learn that good always will win, and they can be the good.
As our family begins this new season of our life, I still feel my heart beat with trepidation, but I continue to trust in the good. As I listen to stories of new best friends, teachers with good attitudes, and I see little hearts full of anticipation for the good that lies ahead of them, I believe there is good in the world and together we can be the good.