Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why I Homeschool: Against Proselytizing

Let me say it again: I am not trying to convert you. You will not find me on any street corner, passing out homeschooling tracts. If you come to my house, you can drink the Kool-Aid, or more likely, the cafĂ© latte, without worry. I am not going to drug you. We can talk, be friends, and I won’t launch any campaigns. I won’t send you any Charlotte Mason or classical education pamphlets.

Or, worse: I won’t try to make you feel guilty.

(Oh, because I see it in every face, every single time someone—another mom—finds out I homeschool. Oh, they say. They are afraid, angry, disgusted, baffled and ashamed all at once. They look back at me, processing this new thing they’ve learned about me, and they think: Oh, you’re one of those. Oh, you think you’re so freakin’ good, don’t you?

Believe me, no. No. I am not thinking this. Instead, I’m worried that you’re going to remind me to make sure my kids are properly socialized.

Or, that you’re going to look at me and immediately discern all my weaknesses as a homeschooling mom. You’re going to think: Is she smart enough? Organized enough? Patient enough? Is she, well—enough, period?

And more: Is she stupid or just completely deluded, that she thinks she can do this?

We mothers—all of us—suffer enough guilt. I refuse to pitch a single stone into the mommy wars. I refuse.)

Simply, this—I am a writer. This is how I encounter the world. This is how I encounter myself. I have to write about it. And, in writing about it, in sharing my experiences, what I’m trying to do is tease the threads of my life open. I want to fray the ends, look at them. And—this is a writer’s greatest ambition, her fiercest secret wish—I hope that my frayed ends have something to say to you. 

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