I drove my daughter Louisa (14) over to her Orchestra class at the local charter school. On the drive, she began to tell me about the teenagers she has met in high school that are angry and hate homeschooling.
“Why in the world would they hate homeschooling?” I asked, truly surprised. Many teens aren’t that thrilled about attending public school and wish they were homeschooled!
“Well, they hate it because they used to be homeschooled and their moms really didn’t do anything. They say that they just got handed some textbook and told to do it. Or their mom didn’t expect anything—just let them do whatever they wanted. And basically they sat around all day, bored, no friends, no activities. So now they hate it. And never want to homeschool!” Louisa explained.
Oh, how tragic! How truly tragic!
Motherhood is my chosen career. My biggest efforts in my life right now are to facilitate my children’s education and help to make their preparation for adulthood optimal. I work at it hard. I plan lessons, classes, socials, dances, field trips, activities, parties, book reviews, apprenticeships and opportunities to learn from experts. It is how I mother. My grown daughters can’t wait to have children of their own to homeschool. Louisa loves homeschooling with a passion! Because it is being together, firstly, and learning, secondly. I do not want to hand her a textbook and go about my (less important) business.
We have such an opportunity to mold our child’s mind into a fruitful field for the Lord. The child’s attitudes, faith, character virtues, study habits, focus, manners, citizenship, and mindset all rest in our hands, Mom. The responsibility is staggering! And I cannot imagine anything more important to do than to guide and influence my precious children’s hearts!
Recently, I taught a history class to my daughter Louisa and several other homeschooled teenagers. We delved into the scriptures and read and applied them to what we were studying. We talked together and discussed things. Louisa loved it! I think they all learned. After the teens left, I walked into the kitchen and assessed the work that needed doing. I acknowledged that the afternoon could (and maybe should) have been spent cleaning up the dishes, making dinner, and getting things in order, since I had an appointment that evening. But I know there is not enough time or energy to do everything, and right now, the timing is crucial to do the more important work of teaching and being there for Louisa. A few years from now, Louisa will be grown and my nest will be empty. But the dishes will still need washing, I know. First things first.
I like a clean house as well as anyone, but it is all a matter of priorities, and sometimes we have to turn a blind eye to all the undone work. Involve your kids working side by side with you, and when you’ve put in an allotted time, accept it as good enough. Better to play with the baby, or read to the little ones, to sew with your teenager, or throw a ball with your growing son . . . those things are remembered and cherished. If the dishes were washed or not, if the floor needs mopping or not, is not going to likely blaze in the memory of your children. But your time—given freely, happily, and lovingly—will make all the difference!
Homeschooling helps me keep my priorities straight. It is on my schedule to focus on my children from 9 to noon every single weekday (for the past 24 years!) That comes first. Dishes (and doorbells, and dentist appointments) come later. They have to wait. Because I am doing something very important! I am transferring my values, my faith, my attitudes, my worldview to my children via learning and happy times spent together. Nothing is a vital as that!
Who could hate “homeschooling” if that is what it really meant at your house?