I homeschool my kids, or more accurately, we are a homeschooling family. I bring this up because it is so much a part of my life and my family’s life that it would be disingenuous of me not to mention it from time to time.
For a little background, we never intended to homeschool when we first decided to have kids. Adrien and Rowan just very quickly after starting public school made it VERY apparent that it didn’t work for either of them. My son Adrien is kind, has a strong sense of what is fair, will defend to the very end for what he feels is correct, is as sharp as a tack, and knows more about geology than many college-level geology majors. He also has severe ADHD and General Anxiety Disorder that together manifest themselves as extreme emotions that run amok. My daughter Rowan can have a conversation with anyone and makes no judgment against someone just because they have a menial job or maybe talks slowly or with a strong accent. She’s an amazing artist who is passionate about pollinators, and by extension the environment, and wants to be an environmental scientist when she grows up. She, too, has ADHD, the distracted type, and General Anxiety Disorder. She’s internalized that anxiety which caused her to pull out all of her eyelashes and most of the hair on her head for 2 1/2 years, but she has improved greatly and has a full head of hair and most of her eyelashes now. Regular school was too difficult for them to manage, not because the work was too much but because of the pressure from testing and the social hierarchy that occurs when large groups of kids have little input from adults on how to treat each other. The district offered other schools for kids with emotional/behavioral issues, but they were not designed for kids who despite their challenges still excelled academically.
Thus, homeschooling became the answer for us, and we have few regrets. They have so many friends now who appreciate them and all their quirkiness. We can focus on their emotional and behavioral issues when needed, and I personally have made many friends who came to homeschooling in a similarly roundabout way.
And if we hadn’t needed to homeschool our kids, I would not have found ceramics. I won’t go as far as saying, “Ceramics saved me!” as one artist told me, but I feel most myself FOR myself when my clothes are covered in dust and there’s a fine layer of wet clay on my hands as I shape, sculpt, and carve. Not that I don’t feel like myself when I’m a mom, but this is most me when I don’t have to also be there for others. Life can certainly force you to go in a direction you never intended or wanted, but sometimes it can lead you to where you really belong.