This column has been making the rounds, but I wanted to blog it here so I can come back to it later. (Often my blog acts as a scrapbook for me where I can record bits and pieces I find on the web so I can find them again when I need them. I never really expected an audience and I write as much for myself as for anyone else.)
Whenever I feel very bad, I make sure to speak to home school mothers. These women represent something new. They are not feminists, a phrase they most often reject with scorn. Most live in very traditional households where the husband is the head of the family. However, they are certainly not Donna Reed door mats waiting at home in pearls and high heels for their lord and master to arrive home. They are very strong and fiercely opinionated. They are incredibly well read, devouring more books a year, than most U.C. students read in four years. Book a talk with Plato scholar to hear about big ideas and they show up.
…Sometimes their brutal schedules may make them tired, but they are up for more in the morning. When I talk to them I quickly realize, they care more about idea than rhetoric. These women solve problems every day. They educated their children in highly creative ways, inventing curriculum, programs, and social events out of nothing but their talent. They are neither dowdy nor fashion conscience. Their dress is most often sensible, but feminine. They innovate, but within the bounds of tradition. What are they? God bless us, they are ladies, a group many thought had gone extinct around the time of the sinking of Titanic.
In one sense, their lives are a bloodless martyrdom. The media mostly forgets them except for the occasional condescending piece in the Times. They fit no stereotypes, being too numerous and too interesting, so they are ignored. They sacrifice for the well fare of their children.
In the past year and a half since I started researching homeschooling I’ve met some of the most wonderful women online who are all homeschooling moms. Kindred spirits, as Anne of Green Gables would say, they have inspired me with their examples, nourished me with their eloquent prose, entertained me with stories of family life, nurtured me with kind words of advice and support, rejoiced with me during my triumphs, comforted me and consoled me during my trials and shared with me a love of learning, of books and of family. I look forward to the day when I will join their ranks, what an honor and a privilege.