"You must be crazy."
"I could never do that."
"How do you teach the hard stuff?"
"That's a lot for you; you much be a pretty special mom."
"Mine are learning Russian at their school."
"Our school is teaching them to design their own program language and invent a website."
"Mine are in the Honors Program with all AP classes."
If ever I felt unqualified to start our 11th year of homeschooling, it is now. Back to School time. Everyone in a pre-school excitement. Pulling school lists at Walmart. Picking out new lunchboxes and backpacks. New clothes. Finding out who teachers are. Open houses and orientations. New schedules posted and matching classes with friends. Inevitably I run into one friend or another in Walmart and lately the conversations always turn to the first day of school. Most know we homeschool but as the years tick on, more frequently the question from well meaning school choosing friends is, "Are you still going to homeschool?" In my brain I hear, "Are you subjecting yourself to the crazy yet again?" The self doubt not audible to them, the conversation continues and ends up with the excitement of all that is piled in their carts wheeling away.
This will officially be the first year I am dragging my feet since starting Kindergarten with Logan. What seemed overwhelming with him 10 years ago has creeped back into my brain as we step off on our 11th year of "crazy." I will have a 10th grader, a 7th/8th grader (that's another whole blog and issue all together), a 5th grader, and a 3rd grader. As brown boxes began arriving at my door step last week~I told you I was dragging my feet~I could feel the weight of the new school year almost as if with each delivery, the boxes were being stored on my shoulders. I couldn't even bring myself to open the one that arrived on Saturday...our biggest by far. Even with the kids excitement, I used the excuse of wanting to save them all until Monday. I couldn't bear the thought of the sight of Chemistry, Algebra 2, cursive workbooks, Physical Science, and fractions staring back at me. Not now. Not with two days left of summer.
Our summer has been wonderful; busy, but wonderful. Logan and Cole played baseball all summer and we got to travel with Logan and spend quality time with just him. We made great friends with his new baseball family and strengthened old ones with Cole's. We enjoyed the pool, friends, bowling, lazy mornings, late evenings, and play dates. We had so much fun with VBS this year, camping, and sometimes just doing nothing. I got lazy with my to do list and figured out suppers on a whim. We ate pizza by the pool and Sunset Slush on warm summer nights. I was Mom. I had time to play games, make homemade cookies, pick up friends, and have sleepovers. Homemade pizzas and homemade ice cream. I try new recipes and new restaurants. Sure I had to clean, laundry~always~, cook and plan meals, but that's it. I wasn't grading papers or doing lesson plans. I wasn't editing a book report or fussing over missed assignments. No tests were given, no deadlines for papers, and no mandatory reading. I corrected grammar but only half-heartedly and never with a pen. I can do Mom. I enjoy Mom. I know how to do Mom. It makes me happy. It's my comfort zone.
Starting the school year means I am no longer just Mom. I'm back to being Teacher. I make assignments and check them. I introduce and enforce. I test, I quiz, I check. I answer questions. I point out mistakes. I assist, tutor, explain. I at times become the bad guy and I don't want to be the bad guy. I cry over long days, I sigh with relief when long division is mastered, I smile at a good test grade. I hide in my closet for quiet, I stop answering phones, I get frustrated, I get tired. My days are long. My days are fast. I don't have enough time to squeeze it all in. I make slice n bake cookies and frozen pizzas. Trips to the pool are a memory and we start the busy~ness of our school year. I am thankful to have the freedom to homeschool and I truly feel this is what God has called us to do...again this year...and that may change one year. It won't be this year. So. I press on. I will choose to dwell on what is good and in the knowledge that what He has called me to do, He will see me through. But see. I'm no one special. I have doubts about teaching the "hard stuff." I do, at times, think I am crazy. But I am in the trenches like every other back to school mom.