Of all the decisions that I've made as a mother, the hardest one will probably be whether to home-school or send them to public school. The thing is, I feel like I'm the only one in the world making the decision. That's because everyone I've talked to about it already knew what they were going to do even before they were pregnant. All my friends at church home-school, while my other circle of friends would never consider it. That means I'll be the weirdo in one group or the other no matter what I choose. That's a good thing, though. I know I'll be making the decision based on good principle rather than a need to fit in. For now, I consider myself both a home-schooler and a school mom. Sophia goes to preschool two mornings a week and I teach a curriculum to her on most other days. For now, it's the best of both worlds. I can talk about teachers and school issues with the school moms and I can talk about designing curricula with the home-school moms. I wish my kids could go six hours a week for the next 13 years, but I know it doesn't work that way. Sooner or later, I will have to make a decision. Tutoring Sophia has been a challenge and a learning experience for both of us. As a beginner, I've tweaked my methods several times but we've finally settled into a good routine. It's an exercise in discipline, too. Formal lessons has taught her that we have to spend some time doing things that are boring or difficult in order to succeed in life. I can see how it's paid off over the last few months. She'll even look up at me at the end of sentence and say, “Mommy, I'm tired but I'm going to finish this anyway.” Other times, I give her a treat and she'll stare at it for a while and say, “Can I do some math, then I'll eat the cookie.” It's as if she'll enjoy it more once she feels that she earned it. Teaching my kids also builds our relationship. They see it as an act of love. I could just plop them in front of movies all day long, but choose instead to take time to teach them even though it can be boring and frustrating for me at times. I have some fears regarding home-schooling, too. I worry that I'd be over-investing in the kids, succumbing to the tendency to live vicariously through them. I also sometimes worry that I'd “waste” talents that should be used in the business world. Yet I realize that all this is selfish pride and should not factor into the decision.
I still don't know what I'm going to do. For now, I'm glad I've been able to get past the misconceptions. I understand that my kids deserve the best of me, but that my self worth should not be tied to their success. That kids will be “socialized” whether or not they attend school. That they will learn their values, good or bad, from the educational environment. For now, I'm doing my best to give them a good head start and we'll see where it leads.