Monday, August 18, 2008

Envy and Jealousy

I'll tell you what I've learned re: the above subject since we started our homeschooling journey about five years ago.

It started around May 2003 when Logan, my eldest, was very unhappy in school. I yearned to begin homeschooling but wasn't certain I'd have what it takes. I started by contacting a few friends who were homeschoolers, and the more I found out about their lifestyles, the more I found a wistful sort of envy welling up in me. Their leisurely paced days, close-knit bonds with every family member in the home, freedom to have late nights out on weeknights and then sleep in the following morning, the interesting sounding, wide ranging curriculum that seemed available to them; it all appealed to me more than I could express. Well, those who've been reading my blog know what happened, of course. After five years, we've been doing it for quite awhile and even get the occasional phone call from families who are just starting out and want to make enquiries. It's a grand life and I wouldn't change it.

Yet I have to admit that some days a tiny spark of the old envy pops up very briefly for the opposite reason. This is usually when we've finished a long week with messes, bickering and Blake's energy level being stifled on rainy winter days. My envy sparks up when I hear remarks from other friends and family who are doing the traditional schooling thing. Remarks such as, "I know I can really get a lot of work done between 8.30 and 3.30 so I thank God for that quiet time," or, "I know I'll be able to give the house a thorough tidy up on Monday when I have nobody underfoot," or, "I thought I'd meet a friend at a coffee shop for a leisurely talk after I've done the school drop-off." A couple of young mothers I know are actually ticking off the weeks and months until their last pre-schoolers are off with their siblings, giving them much needed "free time." That's when I snap out of it and remember the trauma that having a school aged child really used to be. It was really horrible for all of us. Then I have a bit of a laugh at myself and human nature in general, which always sees greener grass on the other side of the fence, even when you've been grazing on both sides.

Our memories are still too fresh for us to ever return to traditional institutional schooling, although as Logan gets older we'd consider home-based, on-line courses for him, and later for his sister and brother. I find it really helps on those not-so-perky days to remind myself, "This is what we want to do! This is actually fun!" And it will be over all too soon, just as the past five years have flown.


  1. Oh, my. I totally understand!! We just started school last week and it was hard -- but there was peace in the midst of it. Peace that we were doing the right thing even if it was hard.:-)

    Great Post!!

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    I can't believe I've been doing this for 10 years already. It all happens so fast. I know I will have plenty of quiet time in the years ahead, right now I'll settle for the joyful noise!

    You should really put this one on the Carnival of Homeschooling. I'll give you the link if you need it.

    Peace and Laughter!

  3. I'm actually envious of all the homeschooling moms that get to stay home! I work forty hours a week so I have to get creative on how homeschooling happens along with all the cleaning and cooking.

    I got to be a completely stay-at-home mom for six weeks with my first born and two years with my youngest. It was one of the most wonderful times of my life!

    As for returning to the 'school system', NEVER! They did far more harm then good and I know I could never do worse.