It's what we do.

Over the past few years that we’ve been homeschooling Julian, we have gotten quite a few odd responses from people when they learn that we homeschool, especially if they know about Julian’s physical and emotional challenges. I have a range of responses, but mostly I just try to make it clear that this is what works for us.

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.

Happy Monday.

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)


Anonymous said...

this is a totally different view of homeschooling, I never thought about parents who "have to" I just assumed that most people who home schooled did so as a matter of personal preference.I am one of those parents who has always said I could NEVER! but when you put it the way you did I guess I should remember to never say never. Thanks for the enlightenment :)Have a blessed day!

TracieClaiborne said...

Oh sista, I get that ALL THE TIME!

"I couldn't be with my kids all day."
"My kids would be dumb if I homeschooled them."
or my of my best friends told me that her dd needed a better education and when I suggested homeschooling, she said,
"Well she needs something better than THAT!"

I must admit, I have had some hard days lately with feeling bad and a less than cooperative kid but it's all worth it in the end.
Even if I do threaten to put her on a school bus some days and ship her off to school.
I don't really mean it.

You explained it well.
If you know that homeschooling is what you should do (or in your case, must do), then you just do it!

TracieClaiborne said...

PS - I just caught up reading your blog and I left you a comment down there where you said nice things about me. :) Thank you!

Christy B said...

Hey Sarah, guilty as charged. I'm one of those who said I could never, but I've never thought of it as a "HAVE TO" homeschool. I think if I had to - no other choice, I could, I would - I'd do as you said, anything for my child. But, if you ask me if I want to.... my answer is no. I don't have the patience for it. And that's probably not true, I would not be disciplined enough. I was a terrible student, still hate school. Don't even like Sunday School because it has that word in it. But, if Em needed me to homeschool her, I would. It might take a tribe to do it, but we would do it for Em. Luckily, Goodpasture is working well for us.

Sarah said...

That's another good point Christy. I think it's a pretty common misconception that home schoolers do it on their own. I guess there are probably those rare exceptions of home schoolers who do everything themselves but I've never met any. The "use of the tribe" is really the norm.

I think that's why I really prefer the term "parent-led education" over home schooling. I clearly don't do everything myself. We are part of several local groups, I am involved in online groups, I have countless curriculum resources at my disposal thru the internet and the library...and parents and friends who are also parent educators.