I have this blogging/facebook friend who I LOVE and who could probably teach me the correct usage of whom vs. who (since I just spent five minutes deliberating that before giving up). She is hilarious. She’s one of my favorite internet people because she keeps it real, and I don’t have much patience for people who don’t keep it real. Keep your photoshopped pictures of idealistic Pinterested homeschool bliss: if I’m gonna read a book about homeschooling, I want to hear about the muck and the mire, the crap days and how to turn them around, or how to recognize when you need to call it a day and order pizza while making yourself
a five martinis. Because that’s the kind of knowledge I need.
I homeschooled Sienna for one horrible year. It was horrible for both of us. I read so many books about it before I started, and all of them left me feeling more hopeless than the one before. They all ended with some facsimile of “You can do this! After all, you love your kids more than anyone!” That last sentence would pile guilt on my despair and make me want to hang myself in the closet. Oh, you think that’s an exaggeration and I shouldn’t make light of suicide? It’s not, and I’m not.
Most homeschooling books, in my experience, are written by self-motivated women who have experienced great success in the realm of homeschooling because they have sacrificed EVERYTHING else on the altar of the home as school. I refuse to do that, because it sounds horrible and I would probably flee one night with only my bottle(s) of wine to keep me warm. Sacrificing everything, in these books, generally includes sacrificing yourself as well. And I don’t mean in the way mothers already sacrifice themselves out of sheer necessity; the stretch marks, the sleepless nights, the weird habit of rocking in place even if we have no baby in our arms. I mean, these authors illustrated ways in which they gave up their own desires, pursuits, and hobbies in order to spend years upon decades teaching their children. And the back-handing “encouragement” of “hey, no one else loves them like you do, so you’ll do it too!” is basically just a massive guilt trip to kick you into submission.
I happen to believe that it’s important for mothers to retain their own interests even if they choose to homeschool. Sacrifice, for a mother, is utterly necessary; but sacrificing oneself in totality to serve the God of the Home as School only teaches your kids that beyond math and geography, mommy’s boring as hell. It also doesn’t respect our own essential dignity as human beings. We are asked to pour ourselves out as a sacrifice; we are not asked to then lay on the floor and become a human-skin rug.
Entereth Rebecca Frech, the most human blogger I know, the one who keeps it realer than real, the one who makes me think that actually I could homeschool again, if the apocalypse happened and I had to. and maybe I wouldn’t be destined to destroy my children and then jump off a cliff in the process.
She wrote a book because she’s freaking awesome and when other people start to realize how freaking awesome someone is, they say, “hey, can you write a book teaching us how to be like you?” So she did, and it’s called Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us, and it’s dominating the Amazon best-seller list right now, and she’s letting me give away a copy because she’s freaking awesome. Did I say that already?
you should read this book.
Here’s how you can. Leave a comment here about what terrifies you the most when the idea of homeschooling comes up. Is it the frog dissection? Teaching The Scarlet Letter? Is it long division, calculus, physics, anatomy and physiology, or the simple truth that your kids would quickly find out that you can’t add or subtract without using your fingers? Is it trying to make a 5 year old just accept the fact that “N” doesn’t make the “mergle” sound already, even if it looks like it should? Is it that homeschooling would forever destroy your sacred daily soap opera viewing time? Is it that having the kids home all day would force you to not eat all the cookies and blame it on Daddy? And because I’m all about keeping it real, every single thing I just said is something that personally terrifies me when the idea of homeschooling again rears its beastly head. So unless your fear is more embarrassing than that embarrassingly extensive list, you’re in a safe space.
If it actually is more embarrassing, I don’t know what to tell you. I’d say “I promise not to judge”, but an old story about a twice-removed cousin-by-marriage who didn’t want to homeschool because she didn’t like wearing clothes while the sun was shining keeps popping up, and I guess I can’t promise not to judge you if that’s your reasoning. You can, however, be judged by me while winning a free copy of Teaching in Your Tiara, so I think it’s still worth the risk.
I will pick the winner based on a mysterious algorithm of my own choosing (by which I mean, the comment I like the most wins, because it’s my blog, that’s why) and announce the winner on Tuesday. That gives you the whole weekend plus Monday to come up with something brilliant. No pressure, though.
Oh, and you can enter twice. You can enter fifty times. I don’t care how many times you enter. If you keep coming up with clever and funny things to say at 4 am while you’re rocking the teething baby and you want to come fill up my combox with those things, go for it. I will be reading them at 4 am while I’m rocking the teething baby, so you’re already a step ahead of people who do stupid things like sleep at night.
Ready? Set? Go!