I Used to Feel Guilty About Not Homeschooling—But Then I Did This

I don’t homeschool.  I don’t really want to. My husband is a public school music teacher, and my kids attend the school he teaches at. It is practically spitting distance away, and it’s a great school.  They have great teachers. I have no ability with early elementary subjects, and buying homeschool material could literally break us financially.

Yet, in spite of that, I do sometimes feel guilty when I hear about homeschoolers who are able to personally cater their child’s education, let them finish their schoolwork by noon, and take fun field trips that my public school kids might never take.  I know that I don’t WANT to homeschool, but occasionally, I kind of feel that I should . . . or I feel that I should want to.

But, then I go in to volunteer at the school, doing easy jobs like filing, cutting, or reading to the kids. I alternate between my older two kids’ classes once a week, which isn’t much, but right now, it’s what I can manage.  Today I kept busy, walking around the room, helping kids spell, and distributing squirts of hand sanitizer before lunch.  And then there’s the other thing I do.

Today, one little girl ran up to me, throwing her arms around me. She usually does. Her nose was crusty. Her skin was ashy and cracked. Her clothes weren’t warm enough for today’s chilly air. Her hug seemed desperate and fierce.  Everything about her just craves attention.

Another boy smelled like dogfood, stale cigarettes, and neglect, but his eyes shone when I complemented his handwriting.

A third child noiselessly worked, catching my eye tenatively for just the merest praise, beaming shyly.

For just a few, a select few of my children’s classmates, school is the safest, most loving place they will be.  Only a few adults will show them love.  Some of these kids aren’t hugged at home, or snuggled. They aren’t washed often or read books. They aren’t fed healthy food or given supervised outside playtime.  It’s not MANY of the kids, but it’s too many. They CRAVE love because they know its lack.

Sure. All children want hugs, and love, and attention–not just needy ones. All the children croon at me about being married to the music teacher. They want to stand next to me, talk to me, and treat me like a celebrity. (I LOVE it!)   And certainly, if you were to come observe children based on appearance alone, mine aren’t the epitome of cleanliness or fashionability, appropriate dress or even fresh-scentedness, but there’s one thing that glows from their sweet faces. They are loved and secure. 

Our home is a happy, safe, warm place, full of Jesus’ love.  If by putting my kids in public school, I am afforded the opportunity to carry the tiniest bit of our homelife into the day of another less fortunate child, then it is worth it to educate our whole family in this kind of life sharing.

So yes, I’m sure my kids spend inordinate amounts of time waiting in line, hear words and jokes I wouldn’t use, and might not be challenged to the uttermost. But I am so thankful that God has given us an opportunity, however small, to take our happiness to school and love on children who might never cross our paths.

It’s not much . . . giving a hug, offering a compliment, smiling to encourage, and taking a few minutes to help them spell, but I’m proud of being a public school mom and carrying God’s love there personally and through my kids.

If your kids attend a public school, take the fabulous opportunity to share the love from your home, God’s dwelling place, at school.

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Katrina Ryder
Katrina Ryder is a mom of three, writer, speaker, and former teacher and missionary who enjoys sarcasm and Jesus among other things. She blogs at KatrinaRyder.com.