When I tell people that we homeschool, the very most common reaction is this phrase:
Oh! I don’t know how you do it!”
It’s said with a mixture of admiration and total terror, I think. As if they’ve just met one of those ladies who eats swords or makes her own cheese.
I was telling a friend this a few nights ago when we met for dinner and shopping.
She doesn’t homeschool, but like all my non-homeschooling mom friends, she’s still completely awesome and supportive. She’s never said that “I don’t know how you do it,” phrase to me, but the other night, I said it to her:
When I tell people we homeschool, they always say, ‘I don’t know how you do it,'” I said. “But sometimes, I think about everything that goes into sending kids to regular school and I think, ‘I don’t know how you do that.'”
It wasn’t something I thought about in advance (obviously). And I certainly didn’t mean it as an insult. Her kids are amazing, and their school adventures sound like the very best sort.
But the thought of waking early every morning to pack lunches, sending the kids out the door with socks that match and a belly full of something nutritious before I’ve had time for a slow cup of tea and a long shower … it’s overwhelming for me.
My husband often reminds me that it wouldn’t be, if we needed to do it. It would soon just become normal. We’d get a routine. Sure, there would be hard days, but aren’t there hard days now?
Yes. There are. But there are also slow mornings. There’s Bill Nye at breakfast. There are days when the kids want to make their own eggs or pancakes, and the entire process including clean-up ends right about when a public school kid is starting recess.
There are days when math isn’t working, and so we read some stories instead. There are long days with friends and quiet days at home. There are pajama days. There are days when we get so involved in a project, that we forget to make dinner.
But they are our days.
And that makes me feel lucky all over.
I would never, ever say that homeschooling is for everyone. I understand the doubt and fear other people experience when they think about trying to teach their children.
I understand it because I feel it some days.
I feel it down in my soul.
But those are the rare days. Most days, I just feel incredibly grateful that we have found what works best for us.
And I guess that’s how we do it.
Or at least that’s why.