Thursday, August 25, 2011

St. Michael's Academy

Today, while reading a sweet post from a facebook friend about homeschooling, I started thinking about my feelings on that very subject, which made me cringe for a long time. I have considered homeschooling my children but honestly didn't think I was up for the challenge. I have an enormous amount of respect for parents, like my friend, who are filling their children's homeschooling days with love and learning. Unfortunately, I realized that I had an awful lot of unresolved issues related to the subject that needed work.

I was homeschooled from second through seventh grade. While those years gave me lots of quality time with my mom, they also made me feel different, weird, ostracized, and freakish. At my only extracurricular activity, gymnastics, I told my friends I attended a private academy, as I was too embarrassed to say I was homeschooled. Today, I happily realize, that there is no stigma--and maybe there never was--and that homeschooling is normal, accepted, and even encouraged in many ways.

Not for me though. After I went back to public school, I swore my mother to secrecy making her promise not to tell my new junior high friends about my dark past. Thinking back, I feel terribly that I surely hurt my mom's feelings, but it never even crossed my mind then. Making friends, fitting in, being popular, and not letting anyone find out that I had been a freak were my goals. My mom, bless her heart, just laughed and went along with my wishes.

It wasn't until many years later that I realized how profound of an effect it had. She mentioned something about our "home school" in front of Brad--at the time we had probably been married more than ten years--then quickly caught herself, asking, "Can we talk about it in front of Brad now?" I laughed but at the same time felt horribly guilty for being ashamed of my mom and our "school."

I know several families who homeschool, and we have played with homeschooled kids at the playground. One of Lily's preschool classmates is going to be homeschooled after preschool. When I meet these kids, I want very much to hug them and tell them never to feel different or freakish or insecure about their situations. I want to gush at them that they are so loved and special and should be grateful that their parents undertook this huge responsibility. I want to tell them that they will be so well-prepared for life educationally and emotionally. And I want to hug their moms and apologize as if that could make up for all the times I shunned my own mom.

But I don't. And no one has to call the cops about some crazy lady at the playground. I just smile because I can see on their faces only happiness and content. Then I silently say a prayer for them, and for my mom.

1 comment:

  1. A beautifully written reminder that time often gives us a different perspective. I wonder how long that lasts... how differently today's things will look tomorrow.

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