Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Keeping it Real

I went out to lunch on Saturday with a friend I hadn't seen for a long time. From the moment I got into her car until she dropped me off four hours later, we didn't stop talking, telling stories, laughing, moaning, nodding our heads, shaking our heads, marveling at how much we have in common.

We talked about marriage, parenting, church, faith, our mothers, our bodies, our love for Spain, travel, and money - among other things.

We also committed ourselves to trying to "keep it real" more often. To tell the truth about ourselves and our thoughts, our faith and our doubts, our families and our wishes to run away from home. We promised each other that we would make a more consistent effort to "keep it real" on Facebook, with our families and friends, and most importantly, with and within ourselves.

Tonight, my "keeping it real" confession is this - I am a terribly underprepared and disorganized homeschooling mother. Whenever I tell people that I homeschooled Kristiana through her entire pre-college years and Daniel has spent only one year in traditional school, they say things like, "Hats off to you. I could never do that. It must be so hard. You must be so organized."

Who wouldn't want to keep this sweet face safe at home?

Thank you for saying all that, but the truth is that I used to be far more organized than I am nowadays. I used to plan units and lessons weeks in advance. I don't anymore. I barely plan two or three days in advance anymore. I'm tired. Truly, I'm exhausted.

I'm ready for a break from wondering what to teach and what to read. I am ready for a break from the guilt of feeling like I'm not teaching him enough and he is missing out on things that "all the other high schoolers in the world" know. I'm ready for a break from worrying about whether or not he will be ready for college. I'm tired of the weight of this responsibility.

Heading off to school for sixth grade

At the same time, I love the fact that every year, except for his sixth grade year, he has chosen to be a homeschooler. Towards the end of his fifth grade year, he said he wanted to go to school, to see what it was like. So he went to school, a local Christian school. He had a great time there, made friends, participated in athletics, and handled his school work without much help from me. He had to decide by Valentine's Day of that year if he would return for the seventh grade. He chose to come back home.

Rating his sixth grade homework assignments

I love being with him every day. I love the fact that he doesn't have to get out of bed at 5 am and prepare to leave the house while it is still dark outside. I love the fact that he doesn't have to find a table of friends in the lunch room, avoid bullies in the hallway, or deal with teachers and administrators who will never love him the way that his father and I do.

In addition, my son and I have fantastic conversations on a daily basis - about rap music, tennis, the Bible, food, college, professional sports, prayer, allergies, politics, those missing Nigerian school girls, our silly little dog, driving, travel, the weather, his friends, my friends, church, television shows, the classes I teach at church, my mother, my mother-in-law, and more. Every day I get to sit with my son and share my heart with him. And remarkably, he shares his heart with me. We laugh together and cry together. We drink tea together and eat cookies too. He makes the best nachos on the East Coast and doesn't hesitate to make me a batch when I ask him to.

Keeping it real - I'm a terribly disorganized homeschooler who needs to spend time grading a paper my boy submitted last week, editing his transcript for this year, and making calls and arrangements related to what he will do next year as a senior in high school. I'm not looking forward to any of that. Not one bit. But I wouldn't trade these days, these weeks, these months, these years at home with my children for any public school, any private school, or any boarding school education that money could buy.


Lori Duncan said...

Blessed to have a friend like you who always has kept it real! Thanks for sharing this! I am a terribly disorganized non homeschooler mom that secretly wishes that I had the money to hire someone to organize me.

Monee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monee said...

Love this post Gail. Can't wait to see you soon and have many such "real" conversations. Xoxo.