My friend’s teen children were tired.
I had always thought they were shy children because they hardly said much in church. I learned though: If anyone spoke first, these children politely carried on an adequate conversation. Then they would drop back into their tired mode, like a trance.
My friend, their mother, was tired, too. I had noticed signs of it: late (or absent), hastily coiffed, testy—all out of character for her and all beginning when school began each year. I understood it more after we had the “school” conversation.
I think she was just using me for a sounding board, not realizing that I have feelings, too. Most people in a State school need to verbalize their convictions to home educators. They subconsciously need our quiet endurance of these conversations, I think, to help them go on.
Since I believe that, I usually do not listen altogether mutely. Usually I say things like, “I am so sorry,” or “I know it must be a real burden,” or “Perhaps a different teacher (grade, school, district, etc.) would make a big difference?”
I am not being sarcastic when I say these things, although the temptation is sometimes there. No, I truly am sorry to see my friends suffer so because of their State education choices. Too, because of my own mistakes in the State systems, I know it truly is a burden.
Of course, I know a different spot within the State school system does not usually make much difference, but I also desire to help them see something: To me, their situation sounds burdensome. I hope to cause them to have second thoughts, if possible, within the context of friendship.
Therefore, I tried to listen gently to my friend’s tiring tedium of tasks. I am sure my eyes widened.
She wound up with, “but I just don’t see any other way to make sure they are doing well . . .”
I said, “Sandra, I know you are tired; anyone could see it in your eyes.” She dabbed at tears. “I don’t know what to tell you. If the teachers and the coaches will not do it, I guess you must—someone must.”
I hesitated, then went on, “The reason your children excel and the reason you are tired is that you are homeschooling.
“For most home educators, it is not so tiring, though, because they homeschool from 8:00 a.m. until early afternoon. You are homeschooling a lot, during those hours, but also during the hours from 3:00 until midnight and beyond. Add to that the fact that you are worrying, and you could not HELP but be tired. You are volunteering at the State schools, and then conducting your own homeschool afterwards.”
The things I said did not help her. She was convinced hers was the only way to send her children into law school.
The entire conversation did help me, though.
It gave me several more reasons that I would never go back into the State institutionalized education program.
You can learn from it, too, perhaps. Perhaps you can see why people should stay out of that system.
Failing that, at least you will have a list of things you must do (should you decide to quit home schooling) to cause success in State-educated children.