“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could…”
For a long time, I have felt stuck in Robert Frost’s famous poem. I’ve been staring down two very different roads, deciding which to take for our children’s education.
Sending my kids to public school was the smooth, familiar road I was confident we could navigate. I spent five years as public school teacher and absolutely loved it. Despite hard days, I never doubted I was right where I needed to be, making a difference teaching and learning alongside children.
I fully understand that many students come to school, not just to learn, but to be loved. School is the safest place for some children in our community and I will always be in support of strong public schools. Many of the very best people I know work in schools and I’m so thankful for the love and passion they pour into their students each and every day. The love and respect I have for educators kept me continually looking down that trusted road.
That other road? The homeschool road?
Well…that one looked a little rocky. A bit foggy, too.
The wonderful, intimidating truth is this; homeschooling looks different for every single family who chooses this path. There is no set model to follow and no data-driven formula for success. That road seemed more difficult to navigate with an overwhelming amount of choices to make:
- What styles of homeschooling best fits our family?
- What is our mission statement for homeschooling?
- Should we buy curriculum? Which ones?
- Are there legal requirements to consider?
- Should we join a co-op or homeschool assistance program?
- How will we stay organized and find a rhythm for our day?
- Where do we even start?
Even though more people are choosing homeschooling and we live in the area with the largest homeschooling community in the state of Iowa, choosing to homeschool still feels like taking the road less traveled. Despite fears of the unknown road ahead, our family has made the choice to homeschool next year.
Choosing The Road Less Traveled
Before we know it, it will be time once again for back-to-school pictures with new backpacks and fresh haircuts. My teacher and mama heart will hurt, knowing my kids aren’t in on all the excitement. Of course, I worry they’ll feel it, too. I’m fearful of them feeling different or left out as well as how I’ll fit in with other moms. I’m afraid I’ll sometimes wish I could just be their mom and not their teacher, too. I’m afraid of not being able to do enough, not being patient enough, and just not being enough for my kids.
Starting down an unknown path can be scary, but stepping out in faith gives me hope. I know I am not enough, but offer myself anyway. After all, a child once offered two loaves and five fish to feed a crowd of five thousand and they were fed. Abundantly. There is so much hope in knowing not a single step is taken alone.
Homeschooling gives me hope in the gift of time.
Time to develop soft skills, building strong sibling bonds, and integrate faith into daily life.
Time to learn a foreign language, cooking skills, or even play an instrument.
Time to just be.
The thought of spending unhurried days playing, learning, and volunteering together makes that unknown homeschooling path brighter and intriguing. Through service learning and field trips, I hope our community becomes our classroom and the people we meet along the way become our beloved teachers and classmates.
No matter what choices you make for your family, your hopes for your children must always be bigger than your fears.
Hope, after all, is what drives all parents. We read to our children in hope of inspiring a love of learning, we care for them in hope of raising a compassionate person, and discipline in hope of instilling morals and responsibility. Hope gives us the courage to keep going when parenting is tough. Even when we think we are messing it all up, hope is how we stay committed to doing right by the children gifted to us.
When it comes to choosing homeschooling for our family, my husband and I are simply choosing hope. Whatever tough situations or decisions you are facing, I believe choosing hope will make all the difference.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost
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