I come from a family of educators and educated people. My father was in the Navy, and my brother is a very successful landscape design artist in the Arlington/Great Falls area (at least that's what I call him. I don't know what his real title is). My mother was a teacher, actually she was MY teacher for 7th and 8th grades, and then, after I finished high school, I went back to the school where she worked to run the before and after school care program and worked under her as my principal. (We were a great team and that was the best job I ever had, but that's a totally different story.) She and my sister both have their master's degrees in various subjects, and my sister is a middle school teacher in the public school system in Maryland, and she is an awesome teacher who is constantly taking classes to continue her education. She is actually one of the ones who is called on over the summer breaks to write lesson plans for various programs that are implemented through out the school system If I could know that all my kids would have teachers like her all year every year, I would move and gladly put my children in the public school system.
Well, kind of.
Ok, not really, now that I think about it.
One of the reasons we decided to home school was so that the kids would be together more, so no matter who the teacher was, unless they came to the house to teach, it still wouldn't work.
But anyway, I digress.
Needless to say, our decision to home school has not been taken very well by most of my family, and I think that Jimmy's family has a hard time really understanding the concept since it's such a foreign idea to them since I don't think that they ever knew anyone who was home schooled in their country and we are the only home school family that they know in the US.
During the time that I was on bedrest and in the hospital, the kids spent quite a bit of time at my parents' house and talk was flying about how they all needed to go to school, preschool or daycare, and as I lay there, tethered to my bed, I wondered if they might be right.
Wouldn't it be easier to just farm them out to other institutions to be taught and cared for there? How am I going to be able to make this all work?
I have been accused of many things when it comes to home schooling the kids:
I am being selfish and not letting them have their own childhood experiences.
I am being too controlling.
My husband doesn't drive...I'm not sure how that one fits in with schooling, but it seems to be a big issue in some people's minds...
I am sheltering the kids.
I don't know how to teach them properly.
My kids will be/are behind in their education.
Some of my kids will excel despite what I am doing, but some will not and I am hurting the ones who need a special education...
The list goes on.
And when you are constantly bombarded with negativity, especially from people who are 'more educated' than you who you look up to and who supposedly have the best interest of you, your kids and your whole family in mind, it's hard not to be driven down the path of self-doubt and second guessing.
And so, I began to wonder...
Are we doing the right thing?
And then sweet baby Hazel Grace was born...and it all changed.
I mentioned to Hazel's doctor that we have 4 children at home, and her face got a look of concern on it because it will be the middle of the cold and flu season when Hazel is finally released from the hospital.
'Wow', she says. 'That's a lot of germs!'
Well, I told her, we do home school, so the kids don't go to school and pick up germs from there to bring home every day...
'Great!' she says. 'It's great that you home school. It will be better for the baby!'
And that's all I need.
Not that Hazel Grace is more important than any of the other kids, but right now, at this point in her life, she is the most vulnerable, so we will do what's best for her.
And hopefully, despite my best efforts, the others will actually learn something useful as well.