Just a Normal Homeschooling Mom
Two people searched that phrase today and found my blog. That made me start thinking about what it means to be a ‘normal’ homeschooling mom.
On the one hand, I consider myself pretty normal; conventional, even. Traditional, certainly. We’re a family consisting of a married man and woman, with the requisite 2 children (sans dog), living in a single-family home on the outskirts of a moderately sized American city. My Loverly Husband works and is the ‘breadwinner’; I am a homemaker (that hates cooking) and I drive a mini-van (don’t hate; I was adamantly against it until I owned one). My husband works a normal work week, we have relatives that live nearby and maintain a pretty close familial relationship with our siblings, parents and grandparents, typical familial squabbles notwithstanding.
As a mother, I have always been somewhat outside the mainstream. I chose midwives to deliver my babies with instead of OBs. I went into labor spontaneously, naturally and planned natural labors (though that didn’t work out exactly according to plan) and my babes were both born vaginally with no cuts or other artificial assistance. I breastfed exclusively. I made my own baby food. We co-slept, cloth diapered (part-time) and opted out of vaccination. I breastfed through my pregnancy with my second child and tandem nursed my babies. We never used babysitters; only family ever watched my kids and those occasions were (and still are) few and far between; not because we don’t have options or because we don’t trust anyone, but because we actually enjoy spending time with our kids. That’s normal for us, and I’m used to being different from others in this respect.
As a homeschooling mom, we’re right in the middle. We’re not too rigorous, nor are we totally relaxed. We use both books and computers for schoolwork. For the most part, I feel right there in the thick of ‘normal’. There are times though, that I feel like I’m really out there on the edge. I think that the determining factor is who I’m surrounded by in that moment. As a homeschooling mom, I should be part of this enormous and growing community of women who support each other and reassure each other in their endeavors to educate their kids. But as a secular homeschooler, I’m one of the smaller sub-sections of homeschooler for whom there is little support – much like ‘homeschooling dad’ or ‘working homeschooling mother’ or ‘homeschooling grandparent’.
Thankfully, the secular homeschooling community is growing by leaps and bounds. Even just over the past year, I’ve noticed more groups and blogs that speak to secular homeschoolers popping up. Searching ‘secular homeschooling’ nets more and more sites every week. That’s a great thing, because that means that what is considered normal is changing. The more label-specific groups open up, the more diverse the general homeschooling community becomes, which in turn helps to re-define ‘normal’. I sincerely hope that other niche groups of homeschoolers will also grow, further shaping society’s perception or normalcy.
I’m very fortunate to be a part of a growing and active local support group. The benefit to me and my children in having like-minded homeschoolers to meet up with definitely helps shape my idea of normal. As it is now, I am happy to be a ‘normal’ homeschooling mom, especially when my definition of ‘normal’ means that I get to have bright pink hair and kids with freshly cut mohawks.
What’s your normal?