For All the Homeschooling Moms Out TherePC: Debbie Slaughter

The school year is coming to an end and whether you’ve been homeschooling for one year, two, five or fifteen, you’ve most likely asked yourself the question of whether or not you’ve done a good job this year or ruined your kid’s life and chance at ever being a productive citizen. 

We all do it!

So, for all the brave homeschooling moms out there, this one’s for you!

**(An excerpt from my homeschooling book “I Could Never Do That! And Other Homeschooling Obstacles You Need to Get Over.”)**

I Haven’t Always Been the Best Homeschooling Mom recently read an article written by a homeschooling mom, who recalled how diligently she taught her kids throughout her homeschooling years and I’m not going to lie… stirred up some “mom guilt” in me.  So much so, that I texted my oldest son and point blank asked him if I ruined him by homeschooling him.

You see, I haven’t always been the best homeschooling mom.

The memories go way back to his first year of school….in fact….the very first day of Kindergarten, when we found a baby squirrel in the flower bed out front and had to save it from the cat.

I’m pretty sure all the inquiries to the vet, finding a shoe box and medicine dropper, figuring out what to feed it and oohing and awing over said squirrel, took precedence over ABC’s that day.   It’s been so long, I honestly can’t remember, but I probably should have been flogged for choosing humanity over academics that day.  Sorry kid.  Not a great way to start your education.

Then there was that time I made him do an entire unit study on Thanksgiving, complete with the building of a cardboard Mayflower, and made him stand in front of the entire Four-Year-Old class at Mother’s Day Out and teach them about the Pilgrims.   Public speaking at the ripe old age of 6?  Yikes! What was I thinking?

And, hopefully he won’t remember that year in 2nd grade when he was the youngest member of the Ukulele band at church and had opportunity to go around the city playing for the public.  Yeah, that whole “picture in the newspaper” and being “the youngest member of the band” was probably what propelled him in to an incessant need to play music.  Not to mention all of that socialization.  Oops! (oh, and ukuleles are back in, by the way).

There was also that really gutsy time (when he was 10) that I made him call the owner of a famous spice company and personally tell the man how much he loved his product.  Yeah, we probably should have been diagramming sentences instead of hobnobbing with royalty that day, but I just couldn’t help myself!  But, hey….his phone skills took a huge leap that day!

Then, a few days later, when he received a huge box in the mail (from the famous man), we ditched sentence diagramming again to play with all the goodies the man sent.  I’m pretty sure we never cared about dangling participles from that day on.  Oh, well.

If you count all the times I made him take his workbooks to the hair salon or do Math while he was sick, you’d realize how awful I was over the years.

I mean, really…. all the business trips we tortured he and his little brother with and all the cool museums and restaurants we hung out in, eating Cuban food from Boca Rotan, Florida and eating dessert at Serendipity’s too.  Ice skating in Dallas after touring the city was probably one of the worst, not to mention the aquariums.  Oh, and there was that amazing Children’s Museum in Temecula, California.  Shame on us!

Touring the Battleship Texas and being a volunteer on the U.S.S. Orleck with real war heroes and his dad, were certainly not up there with learning yet one more day of Algebra, but hey, we did our fair share of equations.   One of my favorites being “all math and no play = oh my gosh, die already!”

We treated his little brother the same way – living and educating at the same time.

It was rough.

Although life took some twists and turns by the time my 2nd son was knee deep into school.

In fact, life got real and we spent a lot of time studying the inside of a hospital room, keeping my dad company while his health was fading before our very eyes.   Talk about Life 101.

Listening to history lessons on the road, staying in hotels, visiting ICU waiting rooms – those can educate you in ways you never thought possible.

So can looking for your favorite pet, who’s been lost for three days.  And, grieving for pets who get sick and don’t make it.

We skipped many a lesson, in order to live whatever life was given to us that day.

But, at the end of the day, when dad laid down next to the boys and read The Hardy Boys or Bob and Arty, all was well in their little world again.

And, I can honestly tell you that not one math lesson or prepositional phrase would have made a difference in their lives.   They wouldn’t have been better had they studied Shakespeare or sat quietly at a desk and recited obscure poetry.

You just can’t substitute real life learning with a manufactured scope and sequence, because real life will win every time.

I guess I’ll always wonder if I did right by my boys.

Because…you know….I haven’t always been the best homeschooling mom.

Check out Debbie’s book: I Could Never Do That! And Other Homeschooling Obstacles You Need to Get Over

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