I read recently that the rise in homeschooling may correlate with a new wave of feminism. This wave however, is about getting back to the basics of the movement, by exercising freedom of choice.
It is hard to imagine, that a generational trend towards becoming ‘domestic divas”, is any illustration of feminism, according to the brand some of our Mothers advocate. My mother thinks that any choice other than daycare and public schooling is a step in the wrong direction, and it is a slippery slope from there to servitude. Now, you can imagine what she thinks of some of my other choices – breast-feeding, homeschooling and cloth diapering being among the top of her list.
I feel that by learning skills such as being frugal in the home, gardening, knitting and sewing, that I am becoming more independent, and I am excavating my authentic self, so to speak. There is a lot to be said for driving the cost of living down, and how much money that really is worth. So, to evaluate how much my work is worth, it would be in savings. The difference between my income and expenses while working is substantially less than the money I save by being home.
I had never considered staying home, not to even mention homeschooling my children, and I didn’t at first. I have been a work outside of the home mom the majority of the time I have been a mom, and out of necessity, so I recognize that even though my work now is equally difficult and important, it is not always an option in this double income society we now live in. I also recognize that I have a special brand of husband, who supports my endeavors, whether they include bringing home the bacon or cooking it. I have taken a turn at being the sole income provider, and now he is taking a turn. He also takes part in the ‘domestic duties’, and does lesson blocks and extracurriculars with the children.
My daughter Hana is six.Although I stay at home, she will always know that she can do anything she wants to, because my example is not one of dominion and servitude. I am a politically active, artistic person who contributes to her community. I have my own interests and ever-changing goals and pursuits. I try to be assertive and self-confident, (even if sometimes it is for her sake alone).
Homeschooling has forced her to be more extraverted in order to have an active social life, as well as achieve her goals, and I will give you two examples of this.
While heading to the public pool, Hana approached two boys and asked them if they wanted to join her. They did, but once in the pool, they started playing basketball, a game that she didn’t yet know. This could have deterred her, but instead, she interfered with, “I want to play too! Which net do I shoot at?”, and the fun pursued.
On another occasion, Hana was at the library and wanted to find a book on unicorns. Instead of asking me about it, she sought out the librarian and asked her how she could use the computer to search for the books she needed. The librarian gave her a little library orientation, and now Hana can independently navigate the library, searching for books, checking them out herself, the whole sha-bang.
Hana is becoming quite self-confident and independent. She told me that one of her goals was to overcome her shyness, and I am very proud to say that she is achieving that goal. Little does she know that it is a goal we share.
She now has little trouble approaching other children and adults. This makes socializing easy, because she can bond naturally with the people that she gravitates towards.
Homeschooling was a choice for us, partly because we are very lucky. It is part of our lifestyle to teach the children at home for many reasons, including travel oppertunities. For some, the public option works best, and other people choose private schools for one reason or another.
The one thing I do know, is that we women should celebrate these choices we now have, and stop putting each other down for making them. We should support the working woman, and the stay at home mom, because they are both working equally hard, and exercising a right that was fought hard for. Let us teach our daughters that they can do either. The strong and compelling maternal instinct can prompt us to stay at home and care for our children ourselves, or to follow other pursuits outside of the home in order to support our children in another way. When we see that women have made another choice, we should be proud of them for making one, and recognize that many of us don’t have that option.
Also, a shout out to teachers everywhere! One of the most important, and I imagine difficult jobs out there. A classroom of 20-30+ children takes some kind of human!