I admit it...I'm not supermom!

{what if people think my beautiful kids are nerds like me??}
Sometimes you run headlong into a barrier in your own mind, a belief so old and so fundamental to your value system that it seems impossible to move. I'm up against a wall like this right now. We are facing some decisions about the children, how they are cared for and educated, and I can't hardly stand to "go there" in my head.

I was homeschooled from kindergarten until college. I always regarded public school as a mysterious, sometimes alluring and sometimes frightening place. The small town that I grew up in was almost entirely made up of Norwegian Lutherans. I have Native American blood in me, and dark hair and brown eyes to prove it. I'm not a Lutheran. And I'm about a foot taller than quite a few of the women around here. All of that added up to a lot of teasing when I was growing up. I was also *blessed* (snort!) to hit puberty a full 2-3 years before the rest of the girls my age, along with the attendant growth spurt, body hair and all the other wonderful things you enjoy post-puberty (snort again!). I had one friend from public school from the time I was about 6 until I graduated high school. And even she wouldn't necessarily acknowledge me if she was with a group of her cheerleader friends.

Schools don't seem friendly to me. They don't seem parent friendly, child friendly, or family friendly. They seem system-friendly. As a parent, I cringed every time the school bus drove by in the dark winter morning, and I couldn't fathom the idea of passing my children off to a non-relative every day for 8-9 hours, especially when my children were younger.

Between depression and beginning a demanding job for the first time since having kids, homeschool has been rockier than ever before. Full-time mothering has always been extremely difficult for me, more so than some. I don't think I'm one of those "made for motherhood" women. All my years as a stay-at-home mom, I've struggled with intense inner turmoil because I love my children very much but I didn't feel particularly good at showing them because of the demands of the parenting role.

I know I was "born" to be a mom because I believe in a sovereign God who knew that I would need to pass through the fiery furnace of sanctification through childbearing. He also knew I would have a tender heart, struggling with discipline and decisiveness; and a sick heart, which makes the pace of at-home parenting almost too much to bear. Simple housework is more than I can handle on "bad heart" days.

I've believed my whole life that I shouldn't work if I had children. That's the belief - along with the equally entrenched fear of public school - that has kept my nose to the grindstone even when I can hardly stand to be there. To be perfectly honest, in my "previous" life as a fundamental Christian, I regarded working moms as less attached or attentive to their children's needs, somewhat selfish, and also more sure of themselves as women and moms than I was.

But then I became a working mom. And I realized that sometimes you leave someone so that when you're with them, you're 100% with them. That sometimes quality IS better than quantity. That my children were equally as happy, well-behaved, engaged, and learning with other caregivers than myself. I also spent a lot more time with my mother this past 9 months because she was the primary caregiver for the children when I was at work. And I noticed she is born for tending home and family - in ways I will never be! She's stronger, has more endurance, is efficient with housework and proficient as an elementary teacher. I began to wonder, is it really the right decision to keep your children at home at all costs?

Aaron and I looked at each other one night, opened our mouths, and the same thing came out of both of us. "I think we should consider putting the kids in school next year." It felt scandalous, ridiculous, even wrong to say those words. Am I not just about the biggest homeschooling advocate on the planet? Yet, as I think back to the difficulties I had socially up until I graduated from college - and even persisting somewhat to this day - I wonder if some of that ackwardness didn't come from the fact that I was homeschooled. I know, I know, "weird, unsocialized homeschoolers" is a cliché. But what if it's true in some cases, like mine? And maybe even my kids?

Ever since we left our church, they've struggled to make friends. They're good at making short-term, transient connections, like those they make during the ball season in spring. Long-term friendships still seem to be elusive for our whole family. I don't think one of us has made a new friend since the hardships of 2010.

My husband challenges my doubts about schools. He points out he went to one, and look at him now! He encourages me to evaluate my students. Would I want my kids to turn out like them in 10-15 years? I stare out at my nursing students and think that every one of them also went to public school, yet they are maintaining GPAs often upwards of 3.8 despite taking the toughest classes the college has to offer - math, sciences, Latin, honors courses. I admire my students. I rarely come across one who has difficulty with algebra or writing clarity, spelling, or grammar. They are compassionate, caring, bright, friendly, service-oriented men and women. They are kind people. Confident. Able. Prepared.


We made the leap. We prayed and prayed, toured schools, read parent handbooks, rules, regulations. We talked with the kids and talked with both sets of parents. We settled on the nearby Montessori school, where the children will be in multi-age classrooms and engaged in self-directed learning just like they are in homeschool. Child and family-focused. No homework in the evenings. Across the street from the hospital and only a mile or so from the University. The school, it's administrators and especially it's teachers, are excellent.

I am grateful that there is a confirmation step to our process. Although we've registered the children at the school, there is a waiting list to get in this year. We are still praying for God to direct. We've knocked on the door, and we're waiting to see if it will open. If it doesn't, we will homeschool another year and try again next summer if we feel led to do so. I feel like I can relax into this choice because it isn't a sure thing. The responsibility doesn't feel like it's resting only on my shoulders. God is still able to say yes or no to this new idea.

What has been your experience with school? Did you enjoy the way you were educated? How has that affected your choices with your own children?
And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Luke 11:9)