And I'm Going to Homeschool!
Recently, a mom expressed her concern that she would not be able to juggle being a mother, wife, and homeschooler based on her already feeling overwhelmed by the naturally demanding needs of her two young children. In this particular mother's case, she has a baby at home and a three year-old in preschool.
Being a mother today, with limited or no extended family support, is a challenge. On our best days we can feel a little like we are going nuts. And then we throw in the idea of homeschooling, at least some of us do, and then we panic for surely we will go nuts! But, it isn't actually like that and somehow most of us manage to keep ourselves relatively sane.
I would argue that this mother's apprehension about being able to homeschool is made worse by the preschool factor. When we send our child off to preschool, we interrupt the natural flow of development in our relationship with our child and his/her relationship with siblings. Sure, it will give us time to run our errands and clean up our house, but I think if we are planning on homeschooling it could make things more difficult for us later. Homeschooling should be a natural extension of what we have been doing with our children since they were born; helping them to learn to navigate the world around them and to learn how to be civilized human beings.
Naturally, when we have children we have an enormous adjustment to make in our lives. We are used to taking a shower when we want, eating when we want, and even sipping a latte in a cozy cafe with a friend when we want. I remember clearly the first day I was alone after my daughter was born. It was getting close to noon, I had been waiting to take a shower all morning but had been too busy attending to my daughter's needs, and now the day was getting on. I realized it was not going to happen any time soon and it was a bit of a shock!
As new mothers, we find ourselves juggling our needs around the needs of our newborn, which can be challenging on the best of days. Most of us learn to submit to this minor detail of being a mom, but it is a natural adjustment we learn to make over time. Eventually, it becomes our normal daily life and that life was ever any other way becomes a vague memory. It is the "learning to adjust" part that is important and this comes naturally when our children are at home with us and able to become a part of our daily lives. Inevitably, six or seven years down the road, we will have modified our lifestyles to include a full-time life with children.
When we make this transition, homeschooling just becomes one more thing we do amidst the already busy life of being a mom. We learn to further adjust to having a home that is also a homeschool and therefore well-lived in but not always spotless, meals that are simple but not always well-planned, and some moments for downtime, but less than what we wish for. Still, the benefits of nurturing close bonds with our children and of allowing them the opportunity to forge them with their siblings is priceless and the inconveniences of being a mom become minor in comparison. If we get this part right, then homeschooling, without going off the deep-end, should naturally follow.