Monday, April 11, 2011

In which I take "Deep Thoughts" to a whole new level

I felt impressed to bring some cookies to a friend today. In the back of my mind I wondered if she were having a bad morning - or on her period - or didn't have ingredients for an FHE treat. 

What I didn't realize is that I was the one needing the visit. 

We got to talking about 5Pillars, books, writing, and self-improvement.  Just your average nine-o-clock-in-the-morning-conversation. 

She is struggling with improving her writing, seeking a way to better express herself. I confessed that I don't write what I truly feel, either - at least not in class. I hide behind humor and bad Irish accents. I confessed that I have a blog. And I confessed how much I struggle with being the only non-homeschooler in the group. I feel judged, and worse, I feel that people think I'm judging them. (Which is a judgment, but let's not go down that road ....)

And she saw me. She looked into my eyes and saw that the reason I struggle is because I'm not sure. I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing. Words can only hurt weaknesses. "No one can stab my testimony," she said. "Because I'm sure of it. I'm safe there. I'm at peace with the gospel." 

I plunged. I felt myself dive deep down, breaking down walls and doors that I had kept locked inside. I exhumed each emotion, turning it over and over in my head, examining my frailties and questioning each motive. I struggled to maintain the conversation while my thoughts swirled a mile a minute. 

A hug. A goodbye. A walk to the park. 

My children buried themselves in sand while my vision tunneled. 

How do I really feel about homeschooling? What do I fear? Why would I want to? I've always admired homeschoolers. I have defended them in many a forum. I admire. I applaud. I commend. 

Yet I don't do it.

Why? Am I doing the right thing? What do I want for my children? 

One by one, my desires for my children flooded me. Pros and cons marched into my mind, straight-backed and orderly. And then the big question: Can I accomplish my desires while they attend public schools? 

It's a question I'm not done pondering. It's so much bigger than myself. I've already prayed about it - I've fasted - I've even gone to the temple. I've already made this decision.

But she's right. I'm not at peace with it yet. 

I'll let you know when I am.


Sarah said...

I'm not sure, as mothers, that we are ever at peace with our decisions - even when they are the right ones! There is always the maybes, what ifs, if I only hads. Always. We homeschooled Josh this year, as you know, but not Carly. For Josh, it was right. For Carly, it simply isn't. They are different kids with different needs. Sometimes public school is right, sometimes you get amazing teachers who bring new perspectives to you and your children (we've had this happen many times). Sometimes homeschool is right, is more focused, is one on one. Is a royal pain the butt, too. I know you'll find the right answer, but that settled feeling? I am not sure that is possible with kids - after all, when we stop wanting better for them, we stop doing our job.

Kim L. said...

Every kid and every family is different. One thing I do know is that the Lord answers Moms who ask. If you have received YOUR answer, NO GUILT if it is different than someone else's! LOVE you!

Nikki said...

I had to go back and watch that Irish accent post. It was great. I think I deleted a lot of posts from my reader in those last few weeks of pregnancy. Glad I caught it today.

Now to the subject at hand. Sarah's comment said it SO WELL.

It's something I pray about all the time and continue to seek re-confirmation for. Our decision may change from year to year and child to child and school to school. My prayer is that Heavenly Father will continue to guide is on the path we need to be on.

One thing I do know, you're a great mom.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm learning more and more that what's right for us is almost never going to be right for lots of people around us, so we need to stop thinking our right is their right, as well as worrying if their right should be our right too. First thing that I thought of was that D&C 9 scripture (I think) that says "Did I not speak peace... totally paraphrasing... point is, we get peace and our own fears stir up the waters. I just heard a talk this weekend about how our fears morph into doubt and we tend to question things-- not because they're wrong, but because we're afraid. I'm rambling. But that's all the stuff I started thinking when I read what you wrote. And the hardest thing about my recent move is figuring out my children's schooling so I promise I understand the struggle you're having. It will all be fine. I keep telling myself that God's not going to put me where he has at the Peril of my family. That would just be silly. So I need to relax and focus on making me who I should be. Still rambling. Sorry. My mom just told me the other day that she made a decision about my brother's schooling once and always worried if she'd done the right thing. She told me she got her confirmation 19 years later. So go with what you feel; the peace may come later.

Jill said...

Oh! That kind of turmoil is so hard, but so good for us. It is growth!
I've homeschooled. I love so many things about it. Right now, mine are all in public school. It was an agonizing decision. But I believe it was harder for me than it needed to be for one main reason: I had allowed it to be a huge part of my identity. I was not a mom who was homeschooling, I was a "homeschooling mom". When that season past, and it coincided with my youngest also starting school, I was lost and heart broken.
I am now at peace with it and have learned so much. Mostly, I have a sense of self separate from how our family's year to year priorities pan out. I would be happy to homeschool again. In fact, I hope I do. But I rejoice in the knowledge that what I will be then is the same thing that I an now, what we all are: a mom who is just doing the best that she knows to do.
Being self righteous and judgmental is something I will always fight, but this realization has really helped me in that struggle.

The Prices said...

You just posted everything that I have been thinking over the past couple months! I, too have considered homeschooling and have been fervently praying to try and figure out what I should do. When I decide, I know I just have to be confident in my decision. I'll be interested to know what you decide.

raprettyman said...

Oh Sister! I have struggled with the same question. My answer had to be no, when my heart wanted to say yes.
I agree with many others, it depends on your family and your needs.
If you didn't have things in the way, I would always say YES DO IT. But life isn't that simple.

I'm still sad a lot that I can't do it. Finances hold us back, but I don't always think my children are getting the best education they could. So I supplement. I try to add in things they like and don't get and things that I'd like them to learn about. That adventure is fun as well.

It's a work load. If you do it, ask for help. Talk to moms who do it and don't expect the first year or two to be "perfect." Find a group. We have homeschooling co-ops here.

Most of all good luck and don't beat yourself up over your decision. Like one mom said, we always second guess whether we know or don't really know that our decisions are right for our kids.
Love you!

Riddlez said...

I really don't know you, but I kinda think I do because I stalk your blog. But what I do know is that you are a great mom. You are not a lazy mom. You are clearly dedicated and have your kids best interest at heart. From making sure your summers have meaningful activities to protecting and strengthening you marraige with weekly dates.

No matter what you choose, you should never feel like you have to apologize for your parenting choices.

p.s. If you do home school, can I start sending my kids to your school?