I never thought I would be thinking about, or saying the word “school” so soon in my children’s life. At least, not without the word “home” preceding it. As we prepare to enroll the kids in a private “school” program a few mornings a week, I’m battling with mommy guilt, negative feelings, and doubt. Allow me to explain. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with schooling my entire life. I remember the excitement of a new school year (mostly thanks to my mom’s back to school parties), the rush of adrenaline as I climbed onto the school bus with a brave face, and the thrill of making new friends and learning. However, most of my school memories revolve around anxiety. Heavy, at times debilitating, anxiety. As much as I loved (and love) to learn, I struggled with the environment and always felt it was a distraction from the education itself. When we started planning for a family, I began to look into our educational options. Preventing my personal issues from clouding my thought process and decision making has been a challenge.
My research kept pointing me in the direction of homeschooling…my thinking was, who understands my children better than I do? If I can provide a safe and loving environment for them, the focus can be on learning. However, quite a few things have chipped away at my desire to homeschool. One is my career – I have many exciting opportunities coming my way that I want to pursue. Nurturing my passions + entrepreneurial spirit is essential to my happiness, and my happiness directly affects my children. Another reason is my sanity…when you are literally WITH your children all the time, it can take a toll, especially with twin toddlers running circles around you! I don’t know how to maintain my own identity, my marriage, my business, AND dedicate adequate time to their education. Also, the issue of socialization comes into play – with twins, it’s easy to become lazy with playdates and outside activities. They have each other to play with, so why go to the trouble? Luckily, Marie is a social butterfly, but Henry struggles a bit, and we feel that he needs an environment that takes him out of his comfort zone. I’ve also come to the inevitable realization that we cannot shield our children from struggle and pain. In fact, it is almost essential to success in life that they experience it. This is tough pill to swallow as a mother, as instinct calls us to protect, fiercely. Allowing them to fight their own battles will be a constant struggle for me.
As the summer begins to fade away and their first school experience approaches, I am riddled with anxiety and questions. Will they like it? Will they thrive? What I do know is that if it’s not working for them or us, we will take a step back and reevaluate. If we need to switch gears or make more sacrifices for the sake of their education, we certainly will. I’m so thankful to have had two solid years with them, and know how lucky I am to have the option to be a stay at home (WAHM) mom. I never take that for granted. I feel I’ve established a very strong foundation of discovery and learning which will stay with them always. Of course, I intend to continue to educate them to the extent of my abilities on a daily basis…everything is a learning opportunity, and that excites me. Seeing the wonder in their eyes, and learning along with them, is such a joy. I would love for you to weigh in friends, and share your thoughts on education and choosing a path for your children. What have you struggled with? What has worked for your children? I appreciate your feedback.