Mariah needed to interview me for a school paper, and offered some really good questions that I hope to answer with eloquence and honesty. Ha! Well, here goes!
"What made you decide to start homeschooling?"
"Somehow, kindergarten registration for my daughter really snuck up on me. Though I fully intended to send her to school (at 3 years of age, I longed for the school bus to come for OUR house), instead of a feeling of excitement, I began picturing what this new phase of our lives would look like. Now, I went to public school, so I know full well what THAT lifestyle is like, and I'm not just speculating here. Jump out of bed, rush to brush their teeth and hair, rush to get dressed, shove down breakfast, throw on coat, forget backpack, run back for backpack, run back to school bus stop--and that's all before 7:00am! It's my opinion that we do WAY too much rushing to begin with and we're teaching our kids to do the same. Then it's, come home from school, exhausted and starving, eat snack, start homework, do chores (or NOT!), eat dinner (many families don't eat together), get back to homework, fall asleep on books, then repeat! NO THANK YOU. Forgive me if I'd like our day to look a little more like this:
1. Wake up, 7 am, get dressed, make bed, tidy room, brush teeth and hair.
2. Come down, eat breakfast (made by mom, half the time), clear dishes.
3. Do morning chores (Empty dishwasher, etc.)
4. Prayer, begin school.
5. Finish up school, go outside, play, dig, climb, move.
6. Come in for lunch, eat together, talk together, clean up.
7. Lay down for nap or quiet time, read a book.
8. Wake up, go outside, play, participate in extracurricular activities.
9. Come in for dinner and help out.
10. Eat dinner, as a family, clean up, play with dad.
11. Take baths, jammies on, story time, prayer, lights out.
Granted, not everything goes how you plan it, but this is the kind of life I am striving to provide for my family.
That's what made me want to homeschool. Since then my reasons FOR homeschooling have multiplied and matured."
"Is it difficult to be a homeschooler and business woman?"
"Of course! Isn't everything in life a challenge, though? There have been many, many times, as you know when I've had loads of work to get done, but Ada insists on sitting on top of me or insists on touching my wet paint. And when Celia asks if she can get out beads to play with. There are a lot of forces working against me getting my work done sometimes, but as I understand it, many people play the role of babysitter in their workplaces, too. Owning my own business allows me to express myself, my abilities, and my visions in a way that washing my kitchen floor never will. Probably one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling while owning your own business is that your kids will see firsthand what it takes. We all have unique talents and gifts--homeschooling moms get to pour those into our children. I think that's pretty darn cool."
"How do you think being a stay at home mom will positively or negatively affect your children?"
"Though my children may not realize until they're much older, with children of their own, their Mama gave up and sacrificed, willingly, her freedom and her former identity to pour her love and energy into her family. I want to be the kind of mom who makes fresh cookies and lets them nibble on the cookie dough. I want to be the kind of mom who cuddles and kisses my babies when they need it most. I want to be the kind of mom who teaches and prepares my kids for the real world. They'll know how to cook for themselves and their families, they'll know God, they'll know responsibility and the true meaning of consequences. But probably the most important part of my sacrifice is that my children will KNOW me and I will KNOW them.
I hope that there won't be an negative effect on my kids--haha, who knows, though. I remember someone saying once, 'we should be careful how we parent--someday our kids will talk about us to their pychiatrist.'"
"What would you like skeptics of stay at home moms to know?"
"Oh, I try not to worry about this one TOO much, so naturally, I do. I'd like them to know that though we don't have to wear pantyhose or heels or climb the corporate ladder in them, our work is no less real. Our work involves spit up, vomit bowls, and endless piles of laundry some days. Most of us stay at home moms don't stay at home with our kids because we didn't have anything else to do. We don't have a 'Yaaa...working didn't really work out for me. I guess I'm just not cut out for it,' kind of an attitude. I know plenty of capable, articulate, competent women who gave up their professional lives to stay at home. I can't say that I've ever heard any of them say that their new lives at home is easy. Its tough stuff. We often give up the luxuries of frequent haircuts, fancy dining out, cute little cars and $60 jeans to live off one income. I truly believe that our sacrifices are the most worthwhile in life."
"Why did you decide to be a SAHM?"
"Ooh, for us it was the big 'income vs. daycare' argument. At my highest pay, I made $9 an hour. Daycare costs would have eaten that up and then some. We would have had a few bucks to rub together after all that, and someone else would have been raising our baby. We waved that goodbye and haven't looked back since. I feel extremely fortunate to have a husband who provides for our family and values my hard work at home."
"Your daughter Celia is very smart. Do you think you staying home all day with her had an impact on that? Would she have been so advanced if you had sent her straight to day care?"
"Celia is very bright. I think she would have shown her gifts and talents in any setting. It'd be awfully confident of me to say that she's bright because of my time and effort. Do I think that my time and effort had an impact on her developing those gifts? Possibly. As a little girl, she would ask me a question in typical 2 year old language (ok, maybe not typical--the girl talked fluently at two), and I'd repeat it back to her in it's correct form. I thought of it as a non-intrusive way of letting her hear how it should be phrased without saying, 'oh, Celia, you're always saying that wrong. It SHOULD be...'
My hope is that my time and effort does help her to become the best person she can be."
"How would you like to encourage other SAHMs?"
"I would like to put the power back in their hands. I'd like to remove all their self doubts and lift them up. We CAN raise our children, and though the going might (and will) get tough at times, you'll be hard pressed to find a cause more worth the work. Our effort to raise our families and bring them up as God would want us to, has tremendous value. That value shouldn't be diminished by words or attitudes, by anyone."
"What do you do when you have had enough of your kids?"
"Haha, that's an awesome question. I pray for nap time to come early, and wait with bated breath for my husband to come home. Sometimes, though, I'll send them outside or have them play in their room. Twenty four hours a day is a long time to spend with someone--with anyone. Sometimes Mama has to have a time out for a few minutes to regain a cool head."
Well, that's all folks. Just wanted to get it down in writing. No response needed. Have a glorious April day!