On many occasions, including again this weekend, I’ve had people tell me “I could never homeschool my child. I don’t have the patience.” or “We can’t stand to be together that much.”
The smart-a$$ part of me really really wants to say “Really?”. And let it hang there until they think about that statement, because I don’t believe it for a second.
Because of all the mothers I know who have made this statement to me, 99% of them would find a way to do whatever was necessary to care for their child in any arena. That’s the kind of mothers they are.
If a baby was physically sick, they would work tirelessly to get the baby the medical help that was needed, no matter what. Even if Mommy wasn’t a doctor or a nurse, she would learn about every conceivable treatment option and pursue the best care possible. She would study and research and become that child’s biggest, most well-informed advocate for treatment and health. She would become a rock—an immovable force on getting what her baby needed. It wouldn’t be easy…but mothers are known for doing things that aren’t easy…starting with giving birth and lasting all throughout life. We aren’t in this because it’s easy. We are in this because we are mothers and that’s what mothers do.
What I do is no different. I had no choice. After 5 years of public school special education not working, we were left with no other choice. If Julian was going to get an education, I had to be the one to see that he gets what he needs. The school system was unable and unwilling to give him what he needed, by their own admission. I had to step up, otherwise my child was going to be wasting a lot of his life in a school system that refused to meet his needs. They gave up on him and that’s something I absolutely refuse to tolerate or to do.
In the beginning, I didn’t choose this path—it was forced upon me. When I put what Julian needed ahead of everything else—system time constraints, budgetary concerns and his perceived inability to progress, we quickly realized that there really was no alternative. He needed an advocate who didn’t give up on him. He needed someone to specialize in him. He needed someone who was not going to allow his challenges to be anything more than stepping stones. He needed a rock—an immovable force. Who better to be his rock than his parents—especially his mother?
I didn’t go into this knowing much about education, (probably more about what not to do, based on my own experience) but I learned quickly and am continuing to learn more every day. I am an expert in my son, as I believe most every mother is, and that carries more weight than any thing else could.
Homeschooling/Parent-led education is not easy--I’ll give you that--but what about being a parent is easy? Most things worth doing aren’t, in fact, easy—that’s just part of life.
I can accept that many parents would prefer to have other educational choices. I certainly do. I can accept that it’s not easy. Most definitely. There are plenty of life-circumstances that prevent or discourage parents from choosing to home school. 100% understandable.
But when I look closely at the women I know who have said “I couldn’t”…I have to think “you would if you had to”…and nothing would stop you. You would be the rock, if your baby needed it. I used to think I couldn't. Worse. I thought I shouldn't. Afterall, he has special needs and I am not a professional educator. I'm not qualified.
We see where that got me... :)
May you be a rock--an immovable force in whatever part of your life demands it and may you do so with passion and dignity and great strength.
The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;'
Twas fought by the mothers of men.
Nay not with the cannon of battle-shot,
With a sword or noble pen;
Nay, not with eloquent words or thought
From mouth of wonderful men!
But deep in a walled-up woman's heart -
Of a woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part -
Lo, there is the battlefield!
No marshalling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh! those battles, they last so long -
From babyhood to the grave.
Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,
She fights in her walled-up town -
Fights on and on in her endless wars,
Then silent, unseen, goes down.
Oh, ye with banners and battle-shot,
And soldiers to shout and paise!
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Were fought in those silent ways.
O spotless woman in a world of shame,
With splendid and silent scorn,
Go back to God as white as you came -
The Kingliest warrior born!
- Joaquin Miller (1839-1913)