Yesterday, I came across a woman’s blog that left me in complete wonder. How does she do it all? She has six kids, whom she home-schools. She has a perfectly decorated home- mostly white. They raise chickens. She sews and makes everything. She’s part of at least two book clubs. Her husband works long days. She cooks primarily from scratch. Most importantly, she seems really happy. Lately, I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to have a large family- five or six kids, and still pursue one’s personal passions. I’d just assumed that one would have to become passionate about the interests of their children, and let their own individual passions lie low for a while. This woman shook that paradigm. How does she do it?!
Then the thought came, you can’t do it all, but you can choose what you do. Her kids home school so instead of a general music class they each play an instrument. That means the hour they would be in general music class they are practicing at home instead. Their piano teacher comes to their house, saving the mother time driving all six to lessons. (They have two pianos.) They don’t need gym at school, they all play sports. Perhaps fractions are taught using measuring cups while making cookies. I must say I’ve never considered homeschooling my children. But after scanning through her blog I thought, homeschooling would certainly open up my life to more choice. I’ve always thought, I want my children to have the social interactions that public school provides. And the fact is, I don’t feel confident that I could supply my children with the education I want them to get. But- that’s my choice. If I would prefer my children learn to knit, raise chickens, play an instrument, have lots of creative time to write, create, study and read. If I want them to spend time talking with the elderly, then maybe I should keep them home- they may not learn about dinosaurs and whopping cranes like I did in second grade, would that matter? But wait, that wouldn’t solve the problem of the Mom being depleted of all time to pursue her own individuality. Wouldn’t that just mean she would have her kids home all day. Hmmm. (I think I’m going to have to write this woman and get the lowdown.)
I often daydream about my future family sitting around the house reading. I wonder, should I dedicate Saturday mornings to reading? But then I think, well then when would we do the chores around the house and yard? Well, I have to decide which one is more important. If I want my family to have a lot of reading time, then, as Gretchen Rubin, of “The Happiness Project” points out, we should live in an apartment where we don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, weeding the flowerbeds, fertilizing, and watering. I can’t do it all, at least not all at once.
If I want to dedicate my time to directing high school musicals, or singing with the local orchestra then perhaps I should hire a cleaning lady a couple of times a week. I might have to shop second hand forever more, and never buy fancy groceries, but if that’s what’s important to me, I could make it work.
I love Gretchen Rubin’s “commandment:” identify the problem. Too often I find myself frustrated and stressed only to realize that I am not really addressing the problem. I was unhappy until I realized, “I sing, but I’m not a singer.” For many years I was embarrassed about how little I’d read. All it took was shifting to audiobooks- so I could “read” while gardening/washing the dishes etc. and now my “read” list is extensive. These past weeks I’ve read out loud while rocking Scotland, and given up my nightly web-surfing so I could read in bed.
I don’t know that home schooling is in my future, but I’m not going to rule it out. Life is so much more flexible than so many of us make it.