Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why I Homeschool: Time

This is a post I've meant to write for a long time. Almost every homeschool Blog has it as a main if an explanation is required if you're going to do something so crazy. People have all sorts of reasons: religious, medical, fears for their children's safety or anti-socialization, or just that they think (wisely) that they can do a better job of it than the public school system. My reasoning encompasses all of those to one degree or another, but there is one single reason that overrides them all.

Today I am celebrating 6 years of being cancer-free. Six years and 3 months ago I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Stage 4B. According to the doctors and their statistics I'm not supposed to be here, not when their calculations gave me a 10% chance of survival. Yet here I am.

My babies were 4 and 2 when I was diagnosed. For the three months of grueling Chemotherapy treatments that dropped my weight to less than 100lbs and in itself almost killed me, there was only one thought, one prayer, one desire on my mind: "Please, God...give me time to raise my children. They are only babies. Please."

Life threatening experiences have a way of shaking you to the foundation of who you are. They change your priorities instantaneously and alter your perspective on life for eternity. I realized very quickly that while there were many things I'd like to accomplish in life, none of them were more important than being the best Mom I could be for my children. As long as I did that I could still walk into eternity fulfilled even if I never climbed Mt. Everest, or helped hungry orphans in Africa or any of the other things on my "bucket list," but if I managed to do everything on that silly "bucket list" without having been a good Mother and raising my children well then I would live with that regret for the rest of eternity.

Now, I realize that I could still be a good Mom while sending my children to public school, but the problem that gnawed at my insides as I faced enrolling my oldest, was the vast AMOUNT of time that she would be gone. And then I considered that the time that she would be home would be filled with homework, and dinner, and extra-curricular activities, and getting ready for the next day...and much QUALITY time would I miss with her?? Life threatening experiences also have a way of making you thankful for every single moment, and they keep the constant thought in your head that these moments are LIMITED. I would miss her.

So, there it is. The simple reason that I homeschool my children is because they are my number one priority and I love having them around. A LOT. I love feeling engaged and involved in their lives. I love that I was the one that was there when they read their first sentences or wrote their first words...and every other first. I love that I know, intimately, their quirks, desires, weaknesses & strengths...and that they also hove the opportunity to really know me.

I wouldn't wish a life-threatening experience on anyone...but I'd not trade mine for the world. I know that I'm right where I'm supposed to be doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. I know this because God has a weird sense of humor. After I spent months praying for time...just enough time to raise my kids, (I was thinking 10-15 years know how we bargain with God ;-) just six months after finishing Chemo and being told that my ovaries were fried I was expecting another baby. Maybe it's just my silly way of perceiving things...but I took that as an answer from heaven: "You've got plenty of time."


Mrs.HansenHomeschools said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal story, and such beautiful reasons for staying home with your family. It made me a little teary. While I haven't had any catastrophe happen to prove to me how fragile and fleeting our time is with our kids, I totally agree with your reasons for homeschooling. I want to really know my kids and to provide them with more than they can get in a public school. You are really an inspiration.

Maggie said...

Gosh I wish I had been able to get to that point without having to go through such a major ordeal! I'm truly inspired by those (like you! ;-)who naturally gravitate to such aspirations WITHOUT having to have a proverbial hit by the frying pan. Sometimes I wonder how different our lives would have been without it...I know I'd probably take a lot more for granted. Thanks for the kind words...and for commenting!