My daughter started kindergarten this year, which means our once peaceful evenings are now marked by the constant frustration that is elementary school homework. Rather than relaxing and playing after a seven-hour school day, each night I sit hunched over, erasing scribbles and uncurling the corner of the page she crumbles in her distraction.
At the same time, I’m throwing cheese cubes at the baby in hopes he’ll leave us alone for just five minutes so we can try to sound out “sight words” that I’ve said so many times they’ve now lost all meaning. I’d be better off just beating my head against the wall, as any person who’s tried to teach someone information they aren’t quite developmentally ready for knows.
But this is early education, and we simply have to keep up.
Needless to say, my concern for what is to come grows all the time. As I hear similar stories of struggle from parents whose intelligent children can’t keep up with the constantly growing demands of elementary school, I wonder if we’d simply be better off opting out. It’s during these occasional daydreams that I’ve developed a far-off fantasy of homeschooling my kids.
I say “far off” because no matter how much my frustration mounts with the school system’s push for early academics, I’m not sure I could ever fully embrace the task of properly educating both of my children all by myself (while also somehow earning a living at the same time).
That said, I have many friends who successfully home-school, and I admire them greatly. They are some of the most compassionate — and patient — parents I’ve ever met, and they routinely put their needs aside to aid in their child’s education. They have my respect times a million; I just don’t think I could do it myself.
Still, from time to time, that same old thought pops up in my brain: “What if we just home-schooled?”
But here are a few reasons why we probably never will.
1. My kids aren’t the best listeners.
In fact, they ignore just about everything I say. It’s why trying to get out the door and get to school on time is kind of a nightmare. I say “get dressed” and they decide it’s time to paint the cat. I say the grass is green, they say it’s blue. After an exhausting back and forth, I give up. FINE! Yes! I can’t take it anymore! YOU’RE RIGHT. THE SKY IS BLUE. Now please get dressed.
2. I like my “me” time.
Like, a lot. I’ve gotten used to coming home after the morning drop-off to my coffee and computer time. Not only has working part-time been financially helpful, it’s given me something else that feeds my soul, aside from taking care of my kids. And I really cherish my time spent being hilarious on Twitter working.
3. When would I sneak eat candy?
Listen, the perks of adulthood as a parent are few and far between. I can barely drink three glasses of wine without a hangover anymore. I can’t stay up past 10:30 even on the weekend. Eating dark chocolate-coated graham crackers without someone telling me to stop is really all I’ve got.
4. I’d never, ever have time to exercise.
I guess if I didn’t have time to sneak-eat candy, I wouldn’t need to workout so badly. But my sanity would likely suffer. Exercise is often the thing that brings me back from a full-on parental stress meltdown. Take it away and no one really wants to be around me anyway.
5. I’m impatient.
The biggest thing teachers and homeschoolers have that I don’t possess is patience. It’s something I’m working on constantly in my life as a mom. But I frequently have to remind myself to take deep breaths, slow down, and remember that my kids are doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing: being kids. And also, driving me to the brink of my sanity on a daily basis.
6. I’m easily distracted.
I’m sure I missed a lot in my first educational go-round due to the distraction I felt when I was younger. But the truth is, I’m still pretty much as distracted as ever — maybe more!
These days, between child-rearing, work, and vacuuming up cracker crumbs, I really have no idea how I’d take on the responsibility of my child’s education in a truly productive way. What if I got sucked down a YouTube rabbit hole of Taylor Swift parody videos? What if Ryan Gosling favorited my tweet? I mean, the possibilities for distraction are really endless.
7. I have doubts about my brain’s power of absorption.
It’s sad, but true. I’m not so sure my brain can absorb information as easily as it once could. Sure, I got through high school and college. But now my mind is clogged with old episodes of The Bachelor, parenting memoirs, and red wine residue. Is there any room left to revisit fractions? I’m really not so sure.
8. So many dishes.
When looking at my sink, one would already assume I’ve been feeding an entire rugby team five meals a day. With kids home all the time — kids who seem to eat constantly — I can’t even fathom what would happen to my kitchen. Would it just implode, or look like something straight out of Hoarders? Probably the latter. And it’s terrifying to think about.
9. And who would do all the laundry?
Not me! I’m still over here trying to figure out fractions with measuring cups while making muffins. Wait — are we doing this right?
10. All the hours in all the days.
Honestly, sometimes I’m not home with my kids for a solid hour before shit hits the fan. They’re pushing and shoving, dumping more crackers on the rug, and I’m gritting my teeth and checking the clock. The hours of 3 to 7 p.m. can be rough. So when I try to imagine all the hours in the day, all the days of the week, my heart starts to race just a tiny bit.
Honestly, I love my kids endlessly. But, sometimes I like them better when they’re gone most of the day.More On