This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2.
Everything is so hard right now. I am tired—I can barely keep my eyes open to feed the kids, and all I can think is how the orthodontist told me the preteens are not brushing their teeth often enough. I am so stinking tired I can’t even manage to tell them to keep their teeth clean.
I can think of all these good reasons why I should be the exception to homeschooling and just quit. But every time I do, I find there is an anti-school core running straight through me that will not bend. But’s here’s why maybe someone should quit homeschooling.
1. You should stop if you have special needs kids.
I have 2 special need kids in addition to 3 typical kids. My younger two were born meth-addicted—my son is the bio mom’s sixth child, and his sister was that mom’s ninth. We have weeks of hell as their bodies try to come down from all the drug exposure and as we try to repair damage. It’s crazy. I can’t hold my eyes in focus and now wear glasses. I have a grey streak in the front of my hair from the stress. I have gained 10 pounds for every year I have done this. I should stop homeschooling, right?
Zach can’t speak very well. He has so much sensory hitting him he can’t concentrate on talking. He can’t sit still long enough to eat. At school, he would be made fun of for his speech, be the kid who gets into trouble in the class, and slowly turns into someone I don’t want him to be. I could get him an IEP at school, and fight the system, but why not just let him stay home and be himself with no worries?
Life would be easier for me, but not for Zach.
2. You should stop if your household is crazy.
I have no idea why Andy and I thought it would be a great idea to live within our means. We chose to buy a remodel and live in it while fixing it. We are converting two connected houses into one. Many days school is interrupted because I can’t find the material, or we are moving one room to the next to work on something. I have moved my bedroom 6 times in the past 3 years.
If I sent the kids to school I could move things around faster, and not spend weeks trying to move stuff, feed, clean, and school. Yes life would be easier for me (and cleaner). My kids would be right at grade level instead of above, they would learn to shut up and follow the system, and most importantly their friends would be the top of their list, instead of family.
Life would be easier for me, but it would not be the way I want them to grow up.
3. Your spouse isn’t a help.
My husband works so many hours. When we moved to this gloomy state 3 years ago, Andy had a great job of 60 hours a week. He was laid off 4 months later, and started a new job that required a 100 hours a week. I knew no one here, Zach had a fresh diagnosis of autism, and I live in a remodel my husband has no time to work on. These were good reasons to quit.
But I didn’t. I kept faithfully lying to myself that the next year would be better.They are getting better. Slowly, I have hired contractors for the house. The kids are older, and I made a couple of friends. Andy’s hours are becoming fewer. Money is increasing.
I’m glad I didn’t quit, because we all grew from family to Friends.
We all have a list of reasons not to homeschool. Some lists seem more reasonable than others. The fact is you and I aren’t willing to bend, our cores are all made of different, unchangeable principles that keep us going and unite us. Can you imagine what life will look like with such a large generation being raised to think for themselves?
That is what my core is made of: hope.