School jitters. They aren't just for children anymore, I'm discovering. This year, after 16 years of homeschooling, I'm putting two of my boys in school.
When the other mothers and I were dropping off our little ones at a new Christian school in town, one grabbed me and with eyes brimming, said, "Why do I feel like such a failure?" This "failure" was a mom of six who had homeschooled for more than a decade when health issues forced her to send half her crew to a brick-and-mortar school.
I knew exactly how she felt. Putting two kids in school is a huge step for someone who has always had nearly complete control over her children's education and, on the drive home, I found myself wondering at the absurdity of two hard-working mamas feeling like failures just for putting our little ones in school, something other mothers do every day without tears or guilt.
One thing I've noticed about myself and about many of my fellow homeschooling friends is that we tend to be a Type-A, worrywart, controlling lot. So, for a mama who is well versed in the superiority of homeschooling, sending the babes away feels like defeat. Like admitting we are too tired or lazy, or don't care enough to give our children the very best.
But the truth is, we do. We chose to homeschool in the first place because we are diligent, caring, dedicated, and particular about our children's educations. But sometimes someone else can do it better. Sometimes we run out of steam or birth a child who desperately needs more interaction than we can give him. Sometimes finding alternatives to homeschooling is the healthiest thing for everyone involved.
While there are many things I loved about it, for me, homeschooling was in large part about control. And control is the antithesis of trust. Which means I cannot white-knuckle my way through life, through any schooling situation, and trust at the same time.
As I drove home from school the other day (how odd that feels to say …), it hit me that, for a control freak, putting my children in school requires more of me than keeping them at home. It requires the very thing God wants of me-a soft leaning into His mercies, trusting He loves and cares for them ever so much more than I do.
Learning to live in trust … that doesn't sound much like failure to me.