I am realizing just how much my identity is wrapped up in being a homeschool mom. Because of that, I feel like I am going through an identity crisis of sorts, like I am making a huge career change. Scouring the web, I found very little support for moms who leave homeschooling, and the feelings they deal with. I hope I can adequatly articulate some things I am going through and maybe it can benefit someone else who is experiencing this or knows someone who is having the same experience.
I have had this "homeschooling ideal" since before I had children. I thought if I did this, I would have close bonds with my children, they would love to learn (and thus not fuss about it!), and that they would love having their siblings as their friends. I believed I could shelter and protect them from bullies, being teased, feeling dumb, etc. Sadly, as the years went on, I found these things were not a guarantee. We are close but we get sick of each others company and the children fight like crazy. They were teased by their siblings and other homeschool friends and they felt dumb numerous times because of comparing themselves to others. I also felt like I had to protect them from all of the evil out there (and yes, I believed school, especially public school was evil), and I could only do that by having them with me. I felt like it was all in my hands.
But reality set in. Life threw me several loops that I could no longer handle. I really struggled with this whole thing. But I finally realized I had to give the control to God (to protect them) and do what was best for them. They deserve to have a happy mommy and to be in an enviroment where they can learn. They are adjusting well; I am the one still struggling. I want to list (in no particular order) things I am dealing with and learning and the conclusions I have come up with thus far. The best article I have found on this is here.
1. I thought my children would hate learning in "school" fashion. So far, they love it.
2. I became so attached to my ideal (homeschooling) and the way I thought it should be that I lost touch with what my family really needed. My homeschooling ideal and reality no longer matched.
3. I am learning to let go of that ideal (and that I have everything planned and figured out) and that I have to do everything perfect.
4. My school experience will not be my child's and so I shouldn't use that to make decisions.
5. I am not ruining my kids (or our relationship) by sending them to school.
6. Don't make decisions based on fear.
7. Homeschooling does not make me a better mommy. Don't use it as a measuring stick of whether you are a worthy mother or woman.
8. Make peace with the idea of schooling outside-of-the-home so you can be supportive of your children.
9. Some pluses to school: positive peer pressure (get your work done so you don't look stupid), they get mad at the teacher and not me, they have more accountability. They actually do science experiments that work!
10. The parent/child relationship is the key to success.
11. I am still connected and attached to my kids.
12. I am grieving what I have given up and that is normal.
13. I can cut myself some slack in the demands I put on myself. I don't have to do it all and be supermom.
14. Through the sadness of them going to school, I have an amazing sense of peace that we are in the right place for now.
15. We are having more "quality time" now because I am refreshed when they come home. When I was homeschooling, I slogged through each school day (dreading it all) and by the afternoon, I didn't have the energy or desire to do fun things like baking and crafts. I just wanted to retreat to my room and rest.
16. I need to remember it is about what is best for all of us. Not what I hope it will be.
17. I am not giving up and letting anyone down. It doesn't mean I am a failure and homeschooling does not make anyone a hero. I am a mom doing the best I can for myself and my children.
18. There is no one-size-fits-all for schooling choices, birthing, or parenting.
19. Instead of controlling their environment, I can give them the tools and support to deal with different situations.
20. Not all Catholic schools are "bad".
About Rest for the Weary
I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.