“Oh, I don’t care what you expect or what they think.” Scarlett O’Hara
Homeschooling moms, to the outside world, are sweet, passive, God fearing women swarming with kids of varying ages (some overlapping with impossible conception dates). They are those moms who wear denim jumpers with pockets of limitless patience and crafting abilities, right? They humbly hide their children’s abilities from the public eye of scrutiny and politely bow out of confrontation with those who disagree with their choice.
Just picture Melanie Hamilton from Gone With the Wind? She was the mild mannered, humble wife of the weakling, Ashley. She was nurse to the poor, kind hearted, and always hung in the shadows doing good deeds and refusing all credit. A saint in a petticoat. Nauseatingly sweet.
“Thank heavens I’m not that modest.” Scarlett O’hara
Lawsy me, just call me Mizz Scarlet! I’m not into stealing husbands or anything. I barely tolerate my own at times. But I’m no Melanie Hamilton. I’m going to flaunt my homeschooling efforts around in red velvet, feathers, and an unapologetic raised eyebrow of defiance. Scarlet never settled for good enough. She took the reins and gave it all she had for her family and ended up pulling half of Atlanta up out of the ashes.
Now if I owned half of Atlanta, I’d have possibly hired private tutors to teach my boys, but seeing as though I have to milk my own cows here, so to speak…well, I’m at least trying to raise my boy’s education above the level of “good enough.”
Some of my “friends” took personal offense (as in stopped inviting me places and my kids to parties) when we withdrew from school, and I openly stated that it was because “my boys are capable of so much more.” How dare I call into question the perfectly adequate institution of commonality they’re happy with sending their kids.
We homeschool because my kids are more important than the rest.
There. I said it. And I’m not sorry.
Who do I think I am anyway?
But to that I ask, why does your darling need those outrageously priced, Olympic quality athletic shoes, specialty pencils with their favorite character shaped erasers, a $200 backpack monogrammed with his or her initials, and a cell phone with more memory than a NASA space probe? Huh? Because you think he or she is maybe a little more “important” than the rest of the class, right? They are YOUR kids, after all. Of course they are more important! And so you slap that ninja honor roll sticker on your bumper, or post about Suzy-Q selling the most cookie dough and winning the limo ride to Chucky-Cheese. (For the record, I despise fundraisers, but more on that later.)
Ok, so my kids had monogrammed backpacks in our public school days. But, I have since found a new outlet for bragging about the importance and abilities of my children. And all I’m saying is this: It is commonly accepted for mom’s to be proud and boastful of their kids achievements in traditional school, no matter how small.
But why the disclaimer for those of us going at it mostly alone? “Oh, they homeschool they don’t have to do hard math.” or “They may be smart, but they’d never make it through a real school day.” My favorite, “Of course he got student of the month, they homeschool.” Seriously, student of the month is difficult when you gave birth to the entire class. But on occasion I secretly have a favorite student. Which changes rapidly from math to history, or disappears all together from one mess heap to an explosive preteen attitude.
When my boys do something awesome, you can bet your participation trophy you’re going to hear about it! I don’t like to think of it as bragging, but rather a plea for commendation of my work efforts. Homeschool moms don’t get quarterly reviews, bonuses, raises, employee of the month awards, or mediocre dinners with warm applause and an engraved plaque. Hell, we don’t even get a grocery store birthday cake and a forced sing-along in the break room! So when one of my life projects (i.e. my kids) achieves greatness (or finally remembers that dirty socks go in the hamper), I’ll thank the Lord first, and stamp that success on my forehead like a Nike swoosh! I feel I have more than earned the right to brag.