Getting the Best of Them

in Relationships & Family


I’ve always said that I would not want to home-school my kids. I greatly admire those who take on that challenge. I don’t view them as being weird, or hippies, or even weird hippies. I know that the decision is not made lightly, and they are doing what works best for them as a family, and that’s what’s important.

I read an article months ago (I wish I could remember where so I could link to it) in which a mom made the decision to home school her son because she felt that she was giving the best of him to someone else: his teachers were getting him bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning, and she was left with a grumpy, tired child at the end of the day. His teachers got to see his academic achievements, while she was left with frustrating homework battles. So she decided to take the reins into her own hands so she could share in more of his life and education.

I can see that. I really can. But I still don’t think it’s for me.

My twins aren’t even in preschool yet, but after being home with them for the past three years, I am more than ready to get them in a program that’s at least twice a week. I see it as an opportunity for them to get in a more structured environment and interact with more kids within that same environment. I see it as a chance for them to learn things that I may not think to teach them. I see it as a chance for them to gain some independence, both from me and from each other.

As I go about my days with my children at home with me, I realize that I don’t have to think of it as someone else getting the best of my children. I am teaching them, and I see the fruits of my labor all day, every day. Okay, most days. Let’s be realistic.

I see:

  • love, as they show affection towards each other, their little sister, and their parents
  • respect, with displays of impeccable manners and good listening skills
  • remorse and forgiveness, through heartfelt apologies and forgiving hugs
  • fun, with dance parties, educational crafts, and lots and lots of paint and Play Doh
  • attentiveness, seated around me (and on me) for story after story
  • stability, with a strong and loving support system that will always be there

We hunt for roly polies and caterpillars. We try our hardest to jump up and grab the moon when we can see it at night. They tell me the sirens in the distance are from a fire truck, and that the airplane flying above is headed for the airport. I hear “Excuse me!” after little burps and “May I have a turn?” when waiting patiently.

Where did they learn that? my husband asks. And I realize: they learned it from me.

As I sat to write this post, I pondered some of my reasons that I don’t want to home-school: my lack of organization; the fact that I’m not really a teacher type; the need for that small break from my kids so I can grocery shop during daylight hours. They sound a bit petty. In researching this piece I gained a lot of insight into why some parents choose to home-school, and who knows? Maybe by the time they’re due to enter kindergarten I will have changed my mind. Maybe my tendencies towards public school will remain stronger than ever. Whatever I do, I need it to be for the right reasons, and I need to make sure that the decision I do make is for the better of my family.

But for now, I’m okay with the idea of someone else dealing with the math, science, and other academic subjects. As they blossom from toddlers into little girls, I see the results of my teachings so far, and I can be assured that whether they go to preschool in the fall or we decide to wait another year, I will continue getting the best of them to myself each and every day.

What about you? Do you home-school or send your children to public school?