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What Homeschooling Is Teaching Me

December 14, 2015
By Shasta Clark , OVParent

One of the biggest arguments against homeschooling is that kids aren't socialized well when they sit and learn all day with their mom. I see the point. Not to be unkind, but there are some weird homeschoolers. You can spot them miles away by their long braids and even longer jean skirts. I'm happy to report, though, that that's an old stereotype that doesn't represent most homeschooling families today. With everything happening in our schools today (Common Core, high-stakes testing, transgender showering in locker rooms), more families are turning to homeschooling. Did you know that in North Carolina more children are homeschooled than attend private schools? Interesting fact, huh?

Having said all that, I'm not here to debate homeschooling because, though I do it three days a week with my two sons, I'm not sure I love it myself. Sometimes I love it because I love that they are learning Latin, history from a biblical worldview, traditional math and solid writing and grammar, but sometimes I want to send them straight back to traditional school and go for a jog and grab a latte. Traditional school is good for so many reasons, and I'm confident that my kids will end up there someday.

Still, homeschooling is where I am this year. It's my reality. And if homeschooling does anything to moms, it takes all the nasty stuff that we hide neatly inside under our professional accomplishments, small talk with friends, busyness with family obligations and cute clothes and exposes it for everyone to see. It reveals every ounce of selfishness and impatience buried inside. For me, it also reveals where my pride lies: in a clean home.

When my kids are home constantly, they are making messes, constantly. And when I am busy demonstrating how to write a cursive G properly, I don't have time to clean up after my little mess makers. So the messes do what messes do best, they multiply like dust bunnies.

Before homeschooling, my boys saw friends eight hours a day at school, so we didn't host many play dates. The play dates we did have, I cleaned feverishly beforehand, like make-my-family-miserable-so -I-can-vacuum-under-kids'-beds clean. I cared if a 6-year-old thought my house was clean. Insanity? Perhaps.

Now, my kids need play dates - the socialization argument in action - so we have them a lot. And guess how much time I have to wash sheets, let alone vacuum under beds?

Their friends, and worse, their friends' mothers, see my dirty. Talk about humbling. Each time they walk into my unkempt house, my pride dies a little.

Killing pride hurts. In my case, it's a slow, painful death. I still hate that they see my dirty, but I hate it less than I used to because I see how happy my kids are when they are with their friends. Homeschooling is teaching me to see love and hospitality and friendship in my dirty. That's a lesson I couldn't have learned any place other than here in my messy home.

Shasta Clark is a St. Clairsville native who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her husband, two sons and daughter. Her email address is



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