Before I begin, a bit of background is required. I do not write this letter to add more fuel to the whole home school versus going to school debate. It is not my place to harbour an opinion on what you should or should not do with your own children. This is also not a letter explaining why my children are going to school (well, on second thought, maybe it is here and there) and to question why you home school yours. This is also not a letter to bring any further division with regards to this subject. I am well aware of the fact that, as the status quo so often is in this world, this has become an area of great conflict where it should actually be one where we simply learn from each other and have grace with one another.
At this point, I also have to admit that, indeed, you do make me uncomfortable. But, in a refreshing way as with anything that is not in my comfort zone. My children’s schooling was more or less mapped out in my mind. But then, you did come along with ‘your’ home schooling and necessarily urged me to think about this in ways that I never thought I would. I am thankful for this.
Simply put, this is an honest letter from my mother heart to yours. Yes, I realize we differ fundamentally with regards to many things, but I know that we have one thing in common. We agree that we want what is best for our children. And for each of us, this indeed means something different.
So, here goes….
To my dearest friends and family who home school…
You have been in my thoughts today. Actually, you have been on my mind quite a lot during the past two weeks, but especially today. For my children were on holiday these past two weeks and today returned to school. Now (and, yes, I am holding my breath) I am going to be brutally honest at this point and I hope that you will also have grace with me. Once I set foot in my home after taking them to school this morning, only one emotion overwhelmed me in the best way possible. What I experienced was utter relief. I walked peacefully into my peaceful kitchen and through my peaceful house and marvelled at the fact that a few uninterrupted, quiet, peaceful hours were on the cards for me in order to reach a state of peacefulness. God knows, I needed this today to gather myself. I actually phoned a friend to merely say, “Just for today, this is the definition of relief.”
I absolutely adore my children. I would not have it any other way. I could, however, go to great lengths to describe to you how demanding these past two weeks were with two utterly stubborn children who won’t budge a millimetre. They are just at that age where every single thing is a power struggle. I could describe to you in the finest detail my daughter’s terrible tantrums because of her frustration with her brother and my son’s delight at my daughter’s frustration with him and everything in between. Alas, some days, no, let’s make that most days, I felt emotionally tortured. I could tell you how I wished that we could be apart from each other now and then in order to appreciate each other again, especially these two children. I mean, just this afternoon, after school, they were again the closest of friends. I could describe to you my inability to not let my emotions and inner and outer conflicts have an effect on them and how this mostly became extremely overwhelming, especially the guilt surrounding this. How, being an introvert and being surrounded by little souls bursting with energy the likes I have never experienced, for every minute of every day, drained me. Hence, my utter relief this morning that we could have a break from each other, even if it was only for a few hours. I could tell you all these things, but it is not the aim of this letter.
The aim of this letter is to tell you in all honesty and vulnerability, from the bottom of my heart to yours, that I respect and salute you in ways that are difficult to put into words. Just the mere fact that you did not drop your kids at school for a while this morning makes me want to erupt in a standing ovation. Pippi Longstocking’s complaint that it’s unfair that she doesn’t have any holidays as she doesn’t go to school has taken on a whole new meaning for me. You have no holidays in so many ways and I respect you for the selfless decision you make to have your kids with you mostly uninterrupted. I cannot think that it can be easy some days, just as many things are not easy for mothers whose kids do go to school. We all have different challenges and we pray different prayers. We all have to focus on the good and make best of the bad. We all look at these things from completely different angles and hence, we cannot tell each other what to do. But all of us, I imagine, every so often, ask ourselves if we are doing the right thing for our children.
After these past two weeks, I actually do not know how you do it. You take so many things upon yourself and I imagine that you have to learn to gather yourself and keep yourself gathered in the midst of your children. In my view, this is brave. You must know that you are brave women and mothers. And while each of us has our reasons for doing everything that we do, the point of this letter is not to discuss these reasons. The bottom line of all these words is that I admire your courage, your resolve and your dedication. I will continue to keep my heart and thoughts open to learn from you. There is much to learn and I am indeed a scholar of this thing called life. I welcome the new path of thinking that you bring into me and my children’s lives. May we learn from each other in grace and patience.
Most of all, for the record, please know that my admiration and respect for you run incredibly deep. In many ways, you are pioneers. May your courage take you and your children to the highest of grounds.
And that is all I need to know now.