Wildflowers for Jade: I love homeschooling, but it's not what you think

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I love homeschooling, but it's not what you think

I love homeschooling, but it's not what you think.

I ran across a post recently about 'reluctant learners' and mothers who subsequently feel like they are failing in homeschooling. I could relate to it. Then it made me wonder if I've been sending the wrong message to the world. 

OK. Not the whole world. But at least the handful of people who are paying attention. 

I don't do it on purpose. But I can see that when I say "I love homeschooling!" and you think Oh but that's because you don't have my kid, or obviously you have more patience than I do, you've gotten the wrong idea. I am not a patient person. I just love my son enough to send him to his room for his own safety when I've reached my limit. And I'm supplied with whiskey. And no, I don't have your kid, but I have mine and that's more than enough. 

I don't really love fighting him to get to the table and fighting him for every page that I know he could finish in 5 minutes but we have to go through a half hour of drama first. I don't love the drama. 

A little note about me: I hate, hate, hate whining. Aside from all the little buttons it pushes in me, I watch the clock and think 'so much time wasted on this DRAMA!' Hey, I have other things I could be doing as well. I often think about all that I could be accomplishing for myself if he was in "real" school. I just finished my first novel. I did it on the weekends, while he was away at his dad's house. I daydream about all the books I could write, the cleaning I could get done, the relaxing I could be doing. I don't homeschool because I have no other life-goals for myself. 

But these are fleeting thoughts. In reality I am assured - by many, many reasons that I'm not going to list here - that this is the right thing to do for him. Motherhood isn't about me and neither is my decision to homeschool. 

Not just in spite of all of the struggle, but partly because of it, I love what I do. He challenges me in ways that another human wouldn't be allowed to. He challenges my intellect with his insightful and philosophical questions. He challenges my creativity - how can I teach him this concept in a more interesting way?  He challenges my life philosophies - why do we do what we do? How can we look at things differently? He challenges my patience and sense of self - why does this bug me so much, and how can I be a better person? 

I don't enjoy being constantly challenged. It's exhausting. But I need to be challenged. 

More than anything, however, is that when all the drama is finished, my struggling learner has learned something new at the end of the day. He does this in spite of himself. I understand him. Part of the fighting is because he lacks confidence. Every accomplishment adds another piece of confidence back to himself. He goes in fighting and walks away smiling, and a little prouder. I listen to him read now and I'm blown away every single time, because every time I flash back to the difficult years it has taken to get my dyslexic child here. His accomplishments are my accomplishments. I think of the research and the articles and the statistics that bemoan the poor academic performances of children with learning disorders and the national question of 'How can we stop failing them?' and know that we are ahead of where he would have been conventionally. 

At the end of the day, what's not to love about that? 

Crosspost from Homeschooling Aspergers

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