Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Modern Mother's Dilemma

As we wrap up the end of our first year of homeschooling, the internal debate has re-entered my thought process.  This year was a success in that my kindergartener knows what she needs to know, is alive, well, and happy.  We have loads of social opportunities, managed to fit in ballet and church, and even had a cute little container and bag garden.

But the question continues to enter my mind, "Would we be happier if the girls were in school?"

Would we be happier if the girls were saturated with the social experience?  Or if they had the classroom dynamics (the herd) to influence cooperation and willingness to do structured learning?

Would we be happier if I got more time to myself?  If I had a greater sense of value as a professional?

Would we be happier if we had more money? 

Would my girls be better served with a mother who was living a vibrant professional life, influencing the world in some way?

The feminist in me worries about this last one.  How will I teach my daughters to push beyond the walls of sexism and gender limitations if all they see me do is take care of them?  And what if I raise them to be these amazing, strong women who sit in their own power, go out into the world and become master's at whatever they choose to study . . . will they then sequester themselves into the isolation of homeschooling, leaving behind their higher learning and resigning themselves to the burdensome task of raising and training children?

It is true that in a primal society, we would share our children with the tribe, trusting in the grandmothers to take care of our children when more independent work was necessary.  But they were not the random strangers that we have to extend trust to now.  They were not in schools overburdened with problems and teachers over-worked with too many students to manage.

And on most days of the week, in a primal society, our children would come right along with us doing whatever work needed to be done until they were old enough to fend for themselves.

The flaw is not in keeping our children home and becoming limited because of it.  The flaw is that our society isn't designed to allow professional growth with our children sharing in the experience.

We, as a modern society, know so much about the brain, learning, and the innate need to experience the world through creativity, nature, and personal interest, but somehow our schools are still missing the boat. 

The flaw is not in avoiding an opportunity for learning in a group setting, but that the group setting isn't set up to allow children to freely learn as they choose.

The future is ever unknown, so I will keep allowing my children's preferences to be my guide.  And I will keep building my business around that, knowing that I am the richest woman in the world for having these two amazing girls and a life that allows me to be with them.

And to appease the feminist in me, I'll cast my votes as I choose, take them with me to march and rally, and give them the freedom to grow into who they truly are.