Monday, September 13, 2010

A Ramble on Homeschooling and Alcatraz

Remember the scene in "So I Married An Axe Murderer" when Phil Hartman's character was giving tours of Alcatraz? And his line, "Here's something the other tour guides won't tell you..."?

I love that line. I think of it often. Like now. As I'm sitting here being an imperfect homeschooling mom. Many women are perfect homeschooling moms, but I'm not one of them. And I'm here to share with you the lesser-known facts about Alcatraz (homeschooling). Uh-oh, I just compared homeschooling to a prison. I swear I didn't mean to do that.

Anyway... when you do something a little out of the ordinary in this life, you find out many folks have a common response whenever they find out.

Take homebirth: "You have your babies at HOME? Isn't that incredibly messy?"
Honestly, without a doubt that's the most common question I get. (For the record, I don't think it's any messier than having the baby at a hospital. Of course, the real issue is that the mess is in your bedroom instead of a hospital room which has its own custodian/janitor/orderly. There are ways to deal with this, however, and if a midwife wants to stay in business, she usually doesn't make the new mom clean up her own placenta. Now you know.)

Or convert to Catholicism in your adulthood: "What? Now you worship MARY? Isn't that unbiblical?"
Yep, Mary and Confession (which most non-Catholics have only seen in the movies) are the biggest hangups many people have. I don't worship Mary any more than I clean up my own placenta.

Or homeschool your children: "Ohmygod! I could never spend all day every day with my kid(s)!"
Well, here's the honest truth. It IS horribly difficult some days. But as I realized today, the issues that make the 24/7 problem a problem wouldn't be remedied by sending them to school out of my house. They would just be swept under the rug, easier to ignore or deal with in smaller increments.

My issues, friends, are that I am too permissive with my children and I have a pretty gnarly anger problem. Can you see how this combination could be ugly? It is. And it's heartbreaking and despair-inducing. But now, since I've decided to spend all day every day with my kids, I gotta work on being a better, more disciplined disciplinarian while simultaneously praying my booty off that Jesus will heal my anger. It's gonna take a miracle. Anger seems to be my default trait. Beneath the surface on any given day at any given time is a really mad woman. But I'm dealing with her (me) and I am hopeful that I will see some improvement any day now. The struggle is huge these past couple weeks so I know something is going to change.  It has to.

Getting back to my Alcatraz allusion/analogy, I have given my last tour and am now riding in the boat back across the shark-infested waters toward the mainland. I've shown the people what they came to see. Yes, it's often tremendously difficult to be with my children all day every day. But, as with homebirth and becoming Catholic, it has been revealed to be the best thing for my family. Even with the messes and the misunderstanding and the mayhem.
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