I am mostly confident about my decision to homeschool Elle.
Except for when I am not.
As I walked through the halls of my kids’ elementary school during Parent Teacher Conferences, I peeked into what would have been my daughter’s 6th grade classroom. The room was neat and colorful. Kids and parents buzzed in and out. I saw cute bulletin boards and student work displayed. The board outlining the writing process caught my attention.
And a twinge of self-doubt shot through my veins.
Would my daughter be learning more if she were at public school? Would this teacher teach her writing better than I could? Would Elle understand the writing process better if she were in this class? Would Elle have more learning experiences in a traditional classroom?
Fast forward a month or two, when I was at the school Christmas sing-a-long. Again, that little twinge of doubt shot through me. I felt sad that Elle wasn’t singing the traditional 6th grade song that we had heard every year since she was in Kindergarten. She wasn’t getting this performing opportunity.
Again, the thoughtful questions crept in. Did Elle miss a fun performance? Would she be having more experiences at school? Is she missing out on social relationships? Would she regret not singing in the sing-a-long?
In both stories, I let myself answer my questions honestly with a MAYBE.
Her former teacher might do a better job at teaching writing than me. She might go through the writing process more formally than at home. Elle would not get to go to the medieval fair or do the country report project with her peers. She might be missing out on some social interactions and some performing opportunities.
I let myself be honest with all that public school has to offer.
And then, in a moment of clarity, I remembered that everything has a cost – an opportunity cost. When you make a choice, you are choosing to give up something else because you deem the other choice to be better for you.
The cost of early morning exercise might be sleep. The cost of a college education may be time and money. The cost of living in the country is convenience. The cost of being a “stay at home mom” is additional income.
We need to remember that no decision is all pros and no cons. We lie to ourselves if we think there is a perfect decision out there. Nothing is “free”. We must acknowledge that every decision comes with a price. The cost may be time, sanity, money, energy, relationships, self-esteem, or peace of mind. And that price is different for all women.
After both of my “twinge” moments, I let myself acknowledge that homeschooling has a price and so does public school.
I let myself consider the cost of homeschooling.
With homeschooling I have less time to myself and more responsibility. There is also more noise and more messes. I feel like I have to explain myself to others, and I feel a dull, constant pressure. I acknowledge Elle might be a better writer if she had gone to public school this year. She may have had more friends. She would have sung in the sing-a-long.
But there is also the price of
Reading scriptures on the couch together each morning.
Less stress in our home.
Less tantrums and outbursts.
More time together.
More time for friends.
Seeing the “light bulb” go off.
Seeing Elle play and read with her siblings more.
Eating lunch together.
Getting to write a family newsletter.
Reading as long as she is interested.
Managing her own time.
Memorizing The Family Proclamation.
Developing more life skills.
Overall, Elle is happier. I am happier.
I know homeschooling is not free, and I am willing to pay the price. The cost is worth it to me.