I have five kids who I home school along with my husband. There’s one thing I’ve noticed time and time again. I hear it on the radio and I hear it from people I meet.
“Thank God the holidays are over and the kids are back at school.”
Or, “Can’t wait for the break to be over. The kids are driving me nuts.”
And you know what? That makes me sad.
I dunno, maybe people are just disappointed and feel let down with their whole parenting experience. Maybe they feel that these so called ‘joys’ of parenting are not what they signed up for. Maybe they feel that they no longer have an identity of their own, but are just ‘Johnny’s mum’ to everyone else. I totally get it.
I read a post the other day which gave a list of reasons the mother was happy that she sent her kids to daycare. And I couldn’t agree with a single one of them. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do see that in fact, my house would be tidier if my kids went to school and daycare. I do see that they would come home tired, and that I would only have to look after them for an hour or two before dinner, bath and bed. I do see that I would have plenty of ‘me’ time, and I might even be able to get a job all of my own.
But is that why I had children? Just to pack them off to daycare? To let someone else raise them for me? Because make no mistake, that is what’s happening. Why create these beautiful little people if all you want to do is get rid of them, or park them in front of the TV to keep them quiet?
None of that is for me.
I want to enjoy my kids. I want to experience life with them, alongside them; I want to travel with them and see the world. I want them to know themselves, and to fly and soar. And I would love for them to want to hang out with me and my husband when they are older and we are old. I want to bring them up, not their school teachers, their peers or the TV. And the way I see it, is that I’m not babysitting children; I’m raising adults and I need to parent as such.
We have chosen to home school our kids for many reasons. One of the most important things to us, is having flexibility. We like to travel. A lot. And it’s far easier for school to come with us, than it is to pull the kids out of school (even if we would be allowed to do so).
We want to teach our kids a variety of things, and we want them not only to read about different cultures, but also to experience those cultures for themselves. We want to teach them how to run a business, how to be problem solvers who are not daunted by anything, but who believe they will find a way. And aside from all this, we just love spending time with these wonderful small people, who won’t be small for very long. We want to spend time with them while they still want us around, and we want to cherish and share with them their triumphs and joys, and be with them in their sorrows and disasters.
We are a family, and we want to live, love, laugh and learn as a family unit. Yes, there are the usual trials and tribulations, and a healthy dose of selective hearing going on, but it is worth it. There are the times when after repeating myself fifteen times, or mopping up spilled drinks for the umpteenth time that day, or when my laundry is piled to the ceiling, that I feel like tearing my hair out. But…they are so worth all of the little annoyances. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can always have a pristine looking show home, and a manageable laundry pile once they move out.
At the end of my life, when I look back, I will want to see a life filled with meaning. I won’t care that I spent all my hours working for a difficult boss, or travelling the world by myself. I will care that I nurtured and raised 5 decent human beings, and that I gave them a good start in life. I will care that my husband and I became the best people we could be, and I will see all the sharp corners that got rubbed off us, because of these children being part of our lives. I will see how much I loved them, and how much they filled my life with love, and I will know that I’ve lived a life worth remembering, a life of meaning; one with far more meaning than if I had chosen a career or anything else over them. My husband and I will have been responsible for how five members of the next generation turned out, and that in turn will be passed on to their children. Surely that is worth some gritting of teeth and pulling of hair now and then?