We went to a meeting tonight of parents considering a Christian, homeschooling cooperative of sorts. It focuses on providing a “classical education” as described in The Well-Trained Mind (see blog roll).
One of their big selling points is that joining the cooperative would help keep me accountable. This way I’ll know that we’ll be on track for the kids to learn Latin and Greek, to understand calculus and the rules of rhetoric, to diagram sentences, and to have memorized huge chunks of the Bible — all by 6th grade. And I am only slightly exaggerating.
The whole time I kept thinking, “Oh my Lord! How could I have been considering un-schooling?!!! Forget about the rapture, my kids are definitely going to get left behind long before Jesus returns.
“I have to ramp things up. No more forts and digging up the backyard to get worms for the new turtles. No more coloring our own yarn with plant dyes. It’s time to drill the multiplication tables.”
I am so easily swayed when it comes to parenting. And nothing can bat me back and forth like anxiety that I am failing to do right by my kids.
I’m not alone. Last week, a homeschooling mom said to those of us waiting to pick up our kids from nature class, “I basically unschool until I panic that other kids his age know all of their sight words. Then I pull out a bunch of reading materials and do nothing but reading for a few days. All of my formal schooling is based on fear.”
This problem of mine, and of so many mothers I know, is of course a problem of privilege. Private school, public school, un-school, classical education, circus training – they are all options for me. So I feel like a whiner for being stressed that we still don’t know exactly which of many good routes to take. Or that we pick a route and change course when a panicky voice in my head says, “Oooh, the other babies are way ahead of yours,” like the mothers in this hilarious scene from Baby Boom (watch from 2:35 – 4:40). But privileged whiner or not, it’s where I am.
Nights like this remind me that I really should spend more time on my prayer life. Sitting still with God is the only remedy I know for the crazy voices that tell me that no matter what we do, it won’t be enough. So instead of writing more, or ignoring my anxiety by playing sudoku online, I”m off to pray…