I’ve always been a relatively cautious one--worried about coloring outside the lines. Choosing to home-school, especially with my background of four generations of public school teachers, feels like coloring outside of the established lines.
On Saturday I went to confession to clean up some of the sins I committed during the decision-making process. In the middle of my confession, my beloved priest said a) home-schooling is good for families that can do it, b) education of children is the decision of the parents BUT c) I need to be realistic about how much time I’ll be able to devote to home-schooling with a 1 1/2 year and a 3 year old in the house. “How fair will home-schooling this be to your 5 year old?” he asked. “Why don’t you just come to our January open house and check out our good parish school? Well, that’s all I’m going to say about that” and he turned the discussion to my next problem.
I came out of that confessional with such anguish. I truly believe that the advice given by priests in the confessional is directly inspired by Jesus. (I could have saved myself and my husband much anguish in our 2006 job search by taking my confessors advice “Don’t be so focused on New York City, be open to living in other cities” a bit more seriously—instead of immediately dismissing it as “that poor priest doesn’t understand artists!”) So most of Saturday night was miserable as I kept turning around my priest's words. Am I being unrealistic about the time commitment involved in teaching my kindergartener myself while trying to mother two other young children? Am I truly following God’s will?
At the same time, Hannah’s academic achievement is honestly one thing I’m not worried about if we home-school. We are already working on “education” and “socialization” and “religion” sixteen hours a day around here. Even if she only gets my undivided attention for instructing proper letter formation for twenty minutes a day, won’t she still come out ahead? Or as my blessed, calm friend Maria states: “How does competing for attention with two siblings from one mother so much worse than competing for attention with twenty-nine classmates for the attention of one teacher?”
Whatever your position on home instruction, please pray for my husband and me to have wise discernment on our children’s education this week. Thank you.