The last 21 years of my life have included home tutoring my kids. One son has earned a B.A. and is now a successful photographer with his own thriving business after never attending a formal school until college. Another son, after participating in the work force for a few years, is currently attending Gutenberg College as a sophomore, again no formal schooling through high school. Remaining children/students are my 16 and 12 year old daughters. The future holds more years of this which makes me quite happy.
Happy? Shouldn't I be burned out, ready to yank my hair from my scalp, bug my eyes, and twitch in madness? Shouldn't I be swirly-eyed daydreaming about lining up Bahama Mamas in the warm grainy sand while my toes wiggle in a softly-hissing, white-foaming turquoise tropical sea?
I have certainly come close to that in the preceding decades. But, like a good car, our little home school keeps humming along way past the 100,000 mile mark. I think it'll go the distance. Not because I am a Super-Duper Home School Mom. Far from it. Ask my kids, no wait, please don't, they are too much like me. They'll tell you. We've had our moments. Ben got the worst of it, I'm afraid, and also the best. Joe had it a little easier as I began to learn something about patience. The girls have a better all-around situation for the kinks have largely been worked out.
Still, it's not easy, just easier.
For me, the main benefit of this lifestyle is not the superior educational and character-building qualities for the kids but the fact that the four of them love each other so very much. They enjoy each other's company. They KNOW each other. This has been and always will be one of my main goals as a mom, to have kids who are friends into adulthood. Ultimately it will be up to them to maintain this closeness even after they have created family units of their own.
But I have great hope that these four will beat the odds and be siblings active in one another's lives for a long long time.
For now I relish the knowing relationships we share with one another. I know my kids. I know where they started. I closely observe their individual journeys, delighting in their uniqueness. I know how it is that they've developed into the remarkable people they are for I've witnessed first hand their experiences, their associations, their trials and triumphs. We cry, we laugh, we struggle, we forgive....and we persevere. We've integrated.
And it feels good. No, it feels great.
I'm often asked if I wish I'd continued my career rather than opt to stay home with my children. It's an easy answer. The satisfaction achieved through a home schooling lifestyle could never ever have been accomplished through the financial gain and prestige of a two-decades long career.