Pajama Envy

For exactly seven years my mother home-schooled me; from the middle of third grade until the middle of tenth grade. Kindergarten was gleefully passed in public school. First through half of third I was in a Lutheran classroom with one teacher attending to grades K – 6th; there were about five kids in each grade level. My last few years were in a public school mainly for the opportunities of drama and art. It was a blast! I appreciate the varied experiences.

So when I was home-schooled I heard the student opinion of the situation. Most other kids had pajama envy. They were fascinated that I remained in my comfy pjs until lunch time if I wanted to. They were also impressed that I was done with my lessons before noon and that by the time I was old enough to babysit I could work day jobs. (I was raking it in!)

Now that I am on the parent side of home schooling I am hearing a new story. At times I am hesitant to share the current schooling method we have chosen. Some people feel it is their duty to inform me that there is a school for missionary children in the city. Others are worried about the bubble I am raising my kids in. Others assume that my children have learning difficulties and apologize. And surprisingly the greatest argument I have heard from various Bolivian parents is that we are impeding our children from learning the traditional dances of the nation, which is of utmost importance it would seem. Each encounter is different and is handled differently; the conversation seasoned with grace and mercy.

Comparing the two experiences I am very surprised at the contrast. When I was being home schooled I felt special; like I was living the best life possible. Now that I am a home school parent I have to bolster myself of the inside and try very hard not to come across as defensive because the feeling I get from the magority of people is that I am doing my children a great disservice. It is a good thing that we do not make major decisions based on feelings.

What looks different in your life now that you are on the other side of it?


13 thoughts on “Pajama Envy

  1. Simply said…MARRIAGE!!! As a young nieve single chick you think of being someone’s princess and perfect marital bliss! You know…the Cinderella stuff!

    Then you get married and realize you have twice to 3 times the laundry, feed someone who 1. doesn’t eat left-overs and 2. is EXTREMELY picky, and then on top of that has a different opinion than you do!!!

    Okay, so marriage isn’t paradise…but I love my hubby dearly…differing opinions, picky eater, laundry and ALL!!!! God’s brought us together to help each other through life.

    Soon…I’m sure I’ll pop the bubble of being the perfect mom to the perfect baby/kid too!! Ha! Or maybe we should pop that one now while we’re ahead!!

  2. sorry to hear about the pushback you’ve been getting. i’m sure that’s always a challenge (would be for me). do your kids’ friends have pajama envy too?

    a lot looks different in my life than it had from the other side of the looking glass: marriage, ministry, missionary life (i have a theme going with the M’s). i think i could sum it all up in “growing up”. VERY different than i thought it would be as a kid, when it’s all i ever wanted to do! i never expected life to be as hard as it actually is…

  3. Oh gracious – marriage. I’m not to the kids stage, and so I’m sure that will make it’s mark on the list as well when I do. The biggest thing about marriage that is different is my perception of husbandry (not the farming kind). Growing up I was Daddy’s girl, Dad and I just always clicked. I felt like I thought and felt a lot like him, and so could sympathize almost always with his side of things. Thus, I viewed virtually all of the marital (and parental) difficulties I saw as all Mom’s fault. Crazy, I know. But that’s the perception I had. Now, I do still think Dad is a great guy. The best father I could have asked for, and a terrific guy. But now that I am married and can see certain things from the aspect of a wife – such as communication – I definitely have a different take on things. I don’t know how I would change or alleviate the difficulties that I saw (and now experience) – I’m still working on that – but I do see the responsibility that he had that went unfulfilled in my Mom. Mom was a TALKER. All in capitals. I’ve heard few people ever in my life that could match her. Dad is a very quiet, reserved individual. This led to communication shutdowns between them. I suspect this is common in just about every marriage. It is still somewhat of a mystery how two people who are so differently wired come to a place of mutual fulfillment. I know that the only answer is ‘give’ on both parts, but I think there is even more than that. Anyway. So yeah. Now that I’m married and I NEED my husband’s communication with me so desperately … I begin to sympathize with my Mom.

    So that’s my long story.

    On to yours … That is a stark contrast (and the dancing cracked me up!) Being both private schooled, home schooled, and public schooled myself (actually quite similar to yourself. Mine was private school through 6th grade, home school 7th – 11th, and public 12th) I have heard all kinds of viewpoints on the subject too. None of them yet from the perspective of the parent, though. I can appreciate how difficult that must be for you – feeling that every opinion is going to attempt to tell you you’ve made the wrong decision. I’m sorry. Just for the record, if the conversation were with me, it would go something like this:

    Me: Where do your kids go to school?

    You: I homeschool them.

    Me: (eyes light up) Oh really? Do you have a parent organization, or are you on your own with the state? (or country)

    You: [explain the details]

    Me: Oh that’s great! I love homeschooling. If it’s possible, that’s what I’d like to do with mine. I know it’s a challenge, but it’s so much better than the other options.

    … and so the conversation continues.

    So, you have a friendly ear in me. :) I think you’re doing a great job. :D

  4. Raising children.

    I used to shake my head at the parents who had the most UNRULY of children…who cried in the grocery store or had a tantrum at the restaurant. Yeahh…..

    mine do that. AND they are good kids, but they’re kids.

  5. Finances!!!

    When you were growing up finances were easy, and now You see both sides. Now I see why I have to get up and go to work.

    It’s funny though, when I was playing in my pretend house there were no due dates for my bills. :)

  6. Homeschooling. We just finished grade two, our first year of homeschooling, and now on the other side of it I am still glad we did it. However, it sure knocks off alot of rough edges and reveals another side of me that I am not so certain I like. I love the education my kids are recieving through literature and observation and exploring but it does provide me a certain amount of anxiety about whether it is the right decision and whether it is a control issue for me or if it is truly what they need. I could just be exhausted though and not feeling the same conviction I felt when we started. My kids have become voracious readers though and that to me is worth it!


  7. Carin – Have you considered what schooling method you will be using when you come to Bolivia?

    Heidi – Hi! It is good to hear from you here. :-) So true about the bills.

    Thumbuddy – I want to meet your kids some day; I am sure they are dolls!

    Anita – We do have similar backgrounds! Maybe that is why we click so well, friend. Thank you for your friendly ear. I appreciate that . To answer your inquiry it wasn’t until last year (after five years on the field) that I met another family that home schools. They moved here May of last year and it has been wonderful to have them. Also, last year an international on line home school community was launched and that has been helpful; kinda like FaceBook exclusively for home school moms. Oh, and I appreciate you sharing your story with me. Marriage looks different for me too now that I am on the other side.

    g&g – Thank you for your sympathy. It is a challenge, one of the biggest. Kids friends? I would have to look into that… I honestly do not know. Maybe that is my problem, I need to hang around kids more.
    I like the Alice in Wonderland analogy you shared. Yes, adult reality and childhood expectations are so very different. Maybe that is why adults create characters like Alice, Peter Pan, and the Pevensie children.

    Livvy dear – You can enjoy your bubble for a bit longer. I won’t go popping it. :-) I have a anti-left-over, picky eater, clothes wearing husband too. I understand. But he is just the most adorable man I know!

  8. Okay…so here’s a silly concern I have and since you have the “same situation” I’ll go ahead and ask you…as SURELY you’re the expert here. My lovely husband’s mother short order cooked for dear hubby while he was growing up. In my house, you ate what was placed on the table or you went to bed hungry…no questions asked! My mom was a 3rd generation college educated working Mom and didn’t put up with finniky (sp) eatters. So….this brings me to my question…ready….?

    How does one raise kids and not have to short order cook when one’s father is so very picky? Like you can negate his influence on their diets!!?! The whole thing seems desperately exasperating and I’m not even there yet! GOD GIVE ME PATIENCE!!!!

    Okay, so now you’re probably crying you’re laughing so hard! But seriously…this is how my mind thinks!!! Smile!

  9. All of the above and health issues. Sometimes it can seem like it’s someones fault that they . . . name the issue, got sick, got depressed, gained weight, etc. Then it happens to me. . . and I realize it has nothing to do with fault at all. It does a world of good for the critical to wear the shoes of the criticized.

    About home schooling. I have the tendency to do my best to make it sound like the world’s greatest privilege for my kids, the activities they can participate in b/c the won’t be tied down to a 8-3 schedule, the multiple advantages of tailored teaching. I know I emphasized my degrees in English and French and my husband’s master’s degree in Engineering to the kids’ pediatrician’s nurse due to her questioning, blah blah blah, just because I need to establish confidence and approval however grudging?? Maybe. But then I haven’t started it, yet, either, we’re just considering it. And I’ve never been able not to defend myself in some manner, however subtly.

  10. An online community? That’s great! My sister is homeschooling her kids in Ohio, and she found an online homeschool … organization there that seems really good. So I hope yours will work well! Just another way that God uses technology to bless us, right?

    Love you! (and yes … it did occur to me as another reason why we ‘click.’ :) )

  11. I know a lot of children who are homeschooled. They are all fine. It has it’s pros and cons, but then so does putting them in public school.
    And adulthood! I just imagined it easier!
    Have a great day!

  12. Libby – Dobson says not to make food an issue. I figure that life is too short to fuss about it. But we try to get out kids to try lots of things.

    Christy – I absolutely LOVE this phrase you left: “It does a world of good for the critical to wear the shoes of the criticized.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts about home school. It is good to hear others reasoning about it.

    Annie – “The Homeschool Lounge” is the one I am a part of.

    Brandy – What you said about pros and cons is so true! I hope you are having a good weekend. :-)

  13. The kids will be enrolled at Carachipampa(?)Christian School because Duane and I will be in full time language training for the first year in Cochabamba before going to La Paz.

    Enjoy your week away,

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