By Julianna Duerksen
So many times, I’ve heard moms of littles share how overwhelming the thought of homeschooling is: “I could never do that!” Or, for those who’ve dared try, stress themselves out by recreating public school at home — desks, whiteboards, and the pledge of allegiance to top it off. I hear them. Especially with multiple children, that is overwhelming.
I’m grateful for my own experience as a homeschool graduate. Perhaps it’s because growing up we definitely didn’t have an Instagram idealized homeschool life, rigorous academics, or a perfectly organized school room that I’m thus able to appreciate the beauty of homeschooling as a lifestyle. And because of my own mom’s passion to help us love learning, I grew up loving school!
Now, as a new mom of a two month old, I’ve added yet another angle to that perspective. It may sound simple, intuitive, but it has profound implications for the way we approach the educational decisions we all as parents face:
Homeschooling is the natural extension of motherhood.
It’s not something confined to 7:00am to 3:00pm (minus recess of course). Or that you have to extensively prepare for that grand “first day of school” when you suddenly have all your duckling-children in a row.
Rather, what I’ve long observed in other moms, and am now experiencing firsthand, is that teaching happens naturally in the moments of life. It begins with learning to nurse, then slowly (waaay too slowly) discovering that sleep is for nighttime and waketime is for the day! Each step of development has lessons, and with our motherly instincts, we guide our little ones through each new discovery.
Homeschooling is no different. So many moms, trembling at the thought of homeschooling their kindergarteners, are already expert teachers! They’ve already taught their child his ABC’s, numbers, colors, “please and thank you,” possibly some sign language, as well as the names of countless animals and plants!
Yet, all of us face this enormous pressure to “do school right” — all placed upon us by the professionals in the public education system. May I assure you that no matter your educational background (or lack thereof), you are already far more qualified to teach your children than the supposed professionals? We are the best teachers because we know our children better than anyone else! What’s more, God has given us (not anyone else) the high calling and task of discipling, educating, and raising our children.
As I saw in my own mom, homeschooling is the simple continuation of mothering. Being both your students’ teacher and mother are not separate roles, in which you have to put one hat on during the school day and another before and after. Walk alongside your children in the discoveries of life, just as you always have. Sure, there becomes a need for more formalized academics as students reach middle and high school, but then, our role will shift from primary teacher to facilitator of our children’s interests. “You’re interested in learning more about masonry? Let’s find a mason to shadow for a day…” and so on. Here is the joy: if we don’t know a subject, we can learn alongside our children or find another source like a friend, local college student, or video course to help.
The day after my daughter was born, my husband was sitting in the hospital holding her. He was looking down at her and said to me, “We are definitely going to homeschool her!” I just laughed. We’d already talked about it, but there’s something that kicks in when a new dad first holds his daughter to want to protect her with everything he’s got!
I guess homeschooling does start at birth…