Any working mother can attest that labor never quite stops.
We don’t necessarily have the opportunity to sleep in on the weekends or relax and sip wine when we get home from work.
Most likely, we cook dinner, give baths, referee fights, negotiate at bedtime or on TV, read stories, and try to accomplish the million things on our to-do lists when we get home. at home.
So why add one more responsibility to the list, especially one as important as raising our children?
That wasn’t the plan for me, but when my husband and I saw the education landscape in 2021 — when schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland were on remote-only mode and the state is pushing a radical gender agenda that starts in pre-K—we saw homeschooling as the best option.
It meant a team effort where we would both be teaching kindergarten to our daughter, Rosemary. Luckily my husband works shifts as a firefighter and could be the head teacher. But he needed help, so I supplemented by working remotely to give him a break and help teach our daughter.
It’s a side hustle that I’ve grown to love, more than any I’ve done in the past – and I was lucky enough to write a column in the Capital Gazette for a while.
Homeschooling empowers my daughter, me
When we started kindergarten at home, it wasn’t all entertainment and recreation. Rosemary could write some letters well, but she struggled with others. Some of his numbers would be backwards. Some days she got discouraged easily and wanted to give up before we even started.
But my husband and I would bring her back and work on building her foundation in a particular area.
Over time, we have seen the results improve. She was able to trace words and then write them independently with greater clarity. She memorizes more of her addition and subtraction problems.
A few weeks ago my husband taught Rosemary how to ride a bike without training wheels.
Each accomplishment has boosted her self-esteem with genuine confidence and empowerment. She better understands her place in our family and our society, and my husband and I have a direct view of these victories and challenges.
Being responsible for raising Rosemary forced me to try out new roles that I might not have thought of otherwise. We participated in a weekly homeschooling co-op this school year, where my husband and I shared teaching responsibilities for a few subjects.
We also joined American Heritage Girls, an alternative to Girl Scouts, and helped out as troop leaders. These opportunities have been great for Rosemary, but they have also pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Every co-op lesson or troop activity felt alien and nerve-wracking at times. But seeing the kids glean new information or smile after doing group work made the accumulation and effort worthwhile.
More entry, VScontrol over his education
Figuring out what education you want for your child can be overwhelming at first, but once you get your bearings, it’s amazing how much freedom you have in determining what your child learns.
We have followed Maryland Code regulations for home schooling to ensure that Rosemary receives regular and frequent tuition in English, math, science, art, music, health, education physics and social studies. We added religion to meet the requirements for being part of a homeschooling coordination group.
But we had a lot of freedom to try several options. We used multiple workbooks, completed a comprehensive Saxon math curriculum, watched instructional videos, made homemade worksheets, and took impromptu nature walks and field trips.
It allowed my husband and I to figure out which methods were most effective, and it gave Rosemary some variety in her learning.
And we allowed Rosemary to contribute to her program. After taking several science classes on the solar system, Rosemary said we should do away with space and focus on animals instead. I was happy to comply.
Most importantly, we are not exposing Rosemary to books and concepts that would compromise her education and her view of others around her.
I read several “awakened” children’s books for The Heritage Foundation a few months ago. Suffice it to say, these books are not part of our rotating library at home. Instead, we focus on topics and goals to help Rosemary become a critical thinker—not to be indoctrinated by toxic ideologies like critical race theory.
We learned to say no, prioritize
Is there stress? Yes. Have I lost my temper? Also, yes. A great part of this new role is learning to make it work with the realities of my daily responsibilities.
I have sometimes had to postpone Rosemary’s lessons to accommodate pressing work demands or team meetings. Sometimes we put his desk next to mine so we can review his phonics lesson “Explode the Code” while I answer emails.
It’s not perfect, but I still think that even on our less productive days, we’re making progress. And I don’t regret the decision we made. After our first year of homeschooling, my husband and I have a better idea of what is needed and what we could cut out.
We are moving to a home schooling co-op with tutoring which frees up some of our time as teachers and provides Rosemary with classroom experience two days a week. While still involved with American Heritage Girls, I retired from leadership the next year to focus on other ways to help the troop unit.
We’ve just completed our annual performance review with our coordination group and the response has been better than expected: “You’re doing what you need to do for kindergarten, and Rosemary seems to be thriving,” the reviewer said looking at our pile. exercise books. , worksheets and art projects.
What made this side worth it was Rosemary’s reaction. Of course, there are days when she hates school. But more often than not, she enjoys learning with us.
My “secondary hustle” doesn’t bring more income, but I think it will pay dividends in the future for my daughter.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal