Not every homeschooling mom fantasizes about murder. But every single one has plotted her Great Escape, one way or the other.
That Wednesday night, sitting at the table with my teen, waiting—watching—waiting for him to compound that fucking interest, I was coming out of my skin. If you’ve never helped with homework: Imagine a friend telling a story that’s taking waaay too long and at some point, you just wanna scream, “Get to the fucking point!” (But you don’t. )
As the primary home educator in our house, it’s all on me, Baby. Whatever my son has/hasn’t academically learned over the past nine years has been my doing. Even if it’s just been taking him to a docent-led museum tour, another parent-led co-op or sending him and his father off to some homeschool game day so I can dance naked in the living room, I spearhead the projects. Most of the time, however, it’s been him and me doing time at a table.
Yeah, yeah, yeah – all that kids’ self-directed learning crap. It is absolutely true. Kids DO explore and learn about what interests them. But I doubt if Morgan is ever gonna ask to learn Geometry. But that’s what I’m gonna teach him this coming school year. Or I should say, “that’s what we’re gonna learn together.” (Come on, how much Geometry to YOU remember?)
So get real. There are moments when we who homeschool have our doubts. Not so much about our child’s ability, but about our own.
Eight years ago, sitting at the table with my six-year-old, waiting—watching—waiting for him to sound out the consonant blend “CH”, I was coming out of my skin then, too. So does that mean I shouldn’t be home educating my kid? No, if anything, questioning my abilities/motives/sanity has made me a better teacher. But I’m still keepin’ that rock on the table.
… And I’m thinking, “I could bash him in the head with this rock. But then I’d have to kill his father, too. Better wait until payday.”
Fortunately for my son struggling with Compound Interest and his father sleeping on the sofa, Friday was a few days off. By then, the test would be in the mail.
Ah, the mind of a homeschooling Mom. Seriously. If you ever meet a woman who’s home educating her child(ren) and she tells you she’s never run a similar Escape scenario in her head, she’s lying. And, no, Andrea Yates doesn’t count.
One of my prompts back to Blogging included a Welcome post to a homeschooling newbie on a Yahoo Group:
“We started HSing in 1st gr and now I’ll be starting HSing through high school in Sept.!!! It is so much fun that it all goes by all to fast…ENJOY!!!’
“So much fun???” Obviously this woman is doing something wrong.
And “it all goes by all to(o) fast…” I don’t know, I gotta tell you, that night, waiting for my high schooler to “Find the total amount and the interest on $506.09 invested for 4 years at 31/2% per year compounded annually,” Time was standing still. And I needed to Jump.
I know I can’t be the only self-aware homeschooling mother out there who questions whether home educating her kid was the biggest mistake she’s ever made in her life. Look, don’t get me wrong; I am committed to the belief that it’s my Constitutional Right to fuck up my own kid. But, damn, there are days when I understand why most parents ship their kids off to “school.” For better or worse.
The rub is, figuring out which is which. And for who—parent or child?
Something happened this month that I never considered. Another homeschooling Mom who I know told me that she read my blog. Now, you would think that I’d be pleased. I mean, isn’t that why people keep blogs in the first place? Well, sorta.
I really started writing a blog as a way to vent via the written word. As many diaries and journals as I’ve filled in my life, I rarely make entries any more. Same shit, different decade. Why bother?
This blog would be good practice, every three days, keep it short, brand me, Baby, brand me. Also this concept of blog-to-book: Organizing my entries as the seeds to chapters for essay/humor non-fiction. Like electronic 3 x 5 cards.
But basically to BITCH. So I found myself sending an email admitting my embarrassment. Because what I primarily bitch about are homeschoolers (or some cheap imitation thereof.) She said she liked it, that everybody has a right to their opinion, but not everybody is brave enough to share theirs the way I do.
Brave? I don’t know about that. Bitter? Definitely. I’d like to think that my seething strikes a cord with readers. Somehow all this snipping will open people’s eyes to look at their own petty, little worlds from my own petty, little perspective.
But who am I kidding?
In total befuddlement, I resigned from our homeschool Steering Committee this morning. Bottom line? A woman’s gotta know her limitations. And it seemed like I was doing an awful lotta rowing, but didn’t get to do much steering. Meanwhile, we’re moored in the shallows because others prefer to just drag their feet like anchors over the side.
I understand as the mother of a 13-year-old boy, his interests and needs are different than the group’s median age of six. Yes, six (6), as in second-graders. Almost half of the children in the group are not of “legal” homeschool age, and several of them have no older siblings who are. (Gee, I though EVERY Mom of a 3-year-old already IS a home educating Mom.) But now that homeschooling is so hip, many parents with toddlers are calling themselves “Homeschoolers.” Of course, their moniker may change when they move beyond macaroni necklaces and Veggie Tales.
But when I was told that I am “intense” and “a perfectionist,” I had to laugh, then beg to differ. Okay, maybe I am a little high-strung (i.e.: menopause). But a “perfectionist?” Never! I am as lazy, neglectful and slovenly as the next parent. And if expecting group activities that require an adult’s independent thought, creativity and follow-through instead of photocopying some lame-ass camel cutout as the “older kids” craft for the Egypt co-op is considered being a perfectionist, our children are in big-big trouble.
Yet instead of asking this all-volunteer crew to sit up straight, grab a paddle and help head for deeper, more bountiful, waters, I was told that would be counter-productive (i.e.: mean) and nothing/nobody is gonna change. And, well, sorry, but could I be “okay” with that? Well, sorry, no, I can’t.
Better to jump ship now while I can still wade to shore before the skiff crashes on the rocks.
Okay, well, I’m not sure if I still have the hormones to be passionate about anything anymore. But I can tell you – I’m definitely still pissed off. About everything. So I might as well start spewing it out again instead of continuing to shallow, hard and dry.