I was reading Cheryl's blog today and her comment about "Where have we been?" really got me thinking about how far we've come in our homeschooling journey.
It's amazing for me to look back at where we started and see how our lives have morphed during all of this. I started out refusing to homeschool, thinking that people who did such things were just insane. After all, you can't protect your kids from the world. It's ironic that the only reason I started looking at this possibilities was for that protection.
Lorna went to the kindergarten at the LCMS church we were attending. She was harassed by a little boy who would go around pinching the behinds of all the little girls. He would also go around hitting them "below the belt". Our daughter decided not to take it any longer and hit back. Of course she was the one who got into trouble and we were asked to pick her up. During our talk with the teachers it came out that they knew this boy was doing it but wouldn't do anything about it. We sent her back to school the next day with assurances that they would separate the two kids. A few days later I was called again to pick her up. At this point I was upset and went to talk to the two pastors whose office was adjacent to the classroom. They were sympathetic and said they would look into it. They didn't and the problems continued. This was the final straw that pushed me to realize that we couldn't continue to expose Lorna to such things, especially when she was being blamed for standing up to this child. I thought we could try this homeschooling thing for a year and see what our choices were then.
Six years later we are committed to doing this for the long haul. It only took a few weeks into that first year when we decided that this was the life for us. It was my first experience with being a SAHM too so we had some serious adjustments to make. Our first year was so structured, I really tried to recreate a classroom. I can look back and see how overboard I went, planning our life down to the minute. I had just finished up 2 years of teaching jr/sr high school age kids, so I was determined to teach my daughter to sit still and pay attention. It took awhile for me to realize that I needed to lighten up. It's a good thing I practiced on Lorna first because there is no way Malachi could have made it through that first year!
I'm still fighting with the idea that I should be out contributing to the household income. I look at the faces of family and friends who hear about Paul's second job and I feel their accusing stare. I know I'm imagining it for some and I am seeing the truth in others. Maybe someday I will be able to completely let go of society's expectations of me. This last year has been the most difficult for me in this regard. I was the odd one in our neighborhood before we left CA, no one else stayed home with their kids. When we left and moved to Indiana I found an entire community of SAHMs, that's what most people did. When we came back here I found myself back in an environment where I am asked, "So what do you do for a living?" I haven't run into one other woman who stays home, let alone homeschools. I realized this week that this is adding to my negative attitude the past few months, I feel so alone.
Thankfully I'm not alone. I'm somewhat active on a Lutheran homeschooling email list, Loopers, and I have lots of blogs to read from some of the people on that list. Now all I have to do is find a way to make it to the get-togethers that always seem to be held in the Midwest!