There were so many things I wanted to teach you. And that’s how I always thought it was supposed to be. That was what being a father was. Me teaching you. And now it turns out it’s you teaching me. And I want you to know that I’m okay with that.” – Touch (2012)
The other morning it occurred to me that homeschooling Emily isn’t just about Emily. I may have said this before, it sort of sounds like a familiar echo, but the thought startled me nontheless.
It isn’t all about Emily – I benefit greatly from this as well.
And while it may appear self-serving to focus, even for a few short moments, on how homeschooling our daughter benefits both David and I as well, I believe it is an important fact to acknowledge.
Flexible Days and Evenings
I rise early, around 5am every morning. Emily does not. She goes to sleep about the same time as we do, and then sleeps until anywhere between 7:30 and 9:30 in the morning. Our schedule flexes with the cleanings from my cleaning company, kid-oriented events, time to play with the neighborhood kids, and classes I teach in the evening.
Each day is different – and it is really, really nice to be able to get things done in the morning before she wakes up. I get a lot of writing and research done in those early hours!
Each morning I have time to focus on the upcoming day and plan accordingly. I am not filling my early mornings with hurrying my daughter through a morning routine when she is tired and grouchy. And in the evenings we cuddle, read a book, and don’t worry excessively over what time she goes to bed – no fights over brushing teeth or getting on the pajamas!
Challenging My Brain
“Mama, why do dogs lick our faces?”
“What is snot made of?”
“What happens when you have a heart attack?”
“How does food turn into poop?”
“What’s a gecko?”
“If you put a chameleon onto this yarn, would it turn pink and purple like the yarn?”
I have all of these book on my bookshelves on keeping your brain alive, and elastic, and productive by doing brain games. Let me tell you, they hold nothing in comparison to the challenges this child brings me on a daily basis.
Every day she challenges me to learn more simply by asking so many questions. It’s wonderful…it’s exhausting. It is definitely keeping my brain elastic.
I used to frequent a website called Mom2MomKC. What turned me off most was a) the predominance of public schooled families, and b) the comments I saw towards the end of summer, “I can’t wait for the kids to go back to school, I need a break!” and others of that ilk.
I’m not saying that I don’t need me time – often that’s what those early mornings are for – but the start of school always made me sad when I was raising my eldest, because that meant she wouldn’t be around as much. It also meant far less quality time with my child. Hours upon hours of coaxing, wheedling and threatening over homework and all of the confusion, stress, and frustration that came with it did not help and certainly could not be interpreted as quality time. Instead it felt as if I was in collusion with those who made her unhappy on a daily basis.
Emily can be exhausting with her endless questions, her boundless enthusiasm, and her constant presence. Since she began talking, my book reading has sank to unheard of levels. I’m lucky if I get ten pages of reading in a day! But I happily accept that trade-off. Instead I get to spend my time with someone who reminds me every day what life is truly about – learning, loving, and laughing.
And honestly? I really, really like her company. She doesn’t just make strangers smile – she keeps me pretty well entertained as well. I want to be around her, every day.
So there you have it – just a small handful of ways that homeschooling benefits me.