04/22/2013 11:34 am ET Updated Jun 22, 2013

Why I Don't Homeschool

Some gal named Melissa Harris-Perry got everyone in a tizzy by saying something like, "Your children belong to us." Apparently, she was referring to public schools? I wouldn't know; I was too busy doctoring my Diet Coke.

This morning Scott worked all night, so getting the kids ready for school was all on me. Here's what I sounded like:

"Lucy. Put your shoes on. Lucy. comb your hair. Lucy. You are 8 years old; why am I putting your shoes on? Asher, eat your toast. No, you cannot have three oranges for snack today. Why? Because you didn't eat the one orange I packed yesterday. Asher, go get your library books. Where are they? They're exactly where I had you put them last night, by the side of your bedstand, next to the rotting fish tank. They're not there now? Where did they go? How is your fish still alive?"

Then, a cursory look at the clock, and a cursory mutter under the breath, and the yelling about being late ensues. I transform from frumpy minivan mom to that crazy guy from Full Metal Jacket.

I pull out of the driveway with a large McDonald's cup full of water still on the top of the car. My neighbor sees it fall and gestures kindly to me, indicating that something just fell off of my car and maybe I should be, you know, normal, and pick it up.


We get into the carpool line and are stuck in the back, so I get my angry drill instructor voice on again and yell, "KIDS! GET OUT OF THE CAR! YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE!" Asher attempts to get out of the car, but the door is too heavy and falls back on him. The rule is that you can't get out of your car when you are in the carpool line, so I beg Lucy to help him.

By this time Asher is starting to cry, and Lucy opens the door for him.


I gun the car down the carpool lane, annoyed with everything.

It's then that I spot one of my favorite teachers, who I am always (not effectively) trying to impress, and she gives me a wave and a smile. I can't tell if the smile is sympathetic or condescending.

I decide on both, and then I come home and fish Phoebe out of her dirty diaper.

My sister-in-law, who is adorable and perfect and gorgeous and organized, homeschools her kids, and it works for them. Their house looks like the set of "Mad Men" and they throw Happy Hour parties. She looks like this, which is an added blow to my self-esteem.

For so long, I beat myself up over not homeschooling myself until I realized this: right now, it is not for us. Also, I just learned from a friend that "alot" is actually two words. Would you trust me with your kids?

I have a four-year teaching degree and I promise you, as much as many would say that my college education included each of (and exclusively) the following:

  • Painting pictures
  • Patting my fellow teaching undergrads on the back with chiffon-colored cotton balls, scheming ways to desecrate children into the New World Order way of thinking
  • Reading Judy Blume books and psychoanalyzing the characters

I went into teaching because I, you know, cared about kids and wanted to teach them.

I teach my own kids lots of things. I teach them how to empty the dishwasher and that conditioner is not an effective shampoo. I teach them that smelling like trash isn't a good way to make friends, and gossiping isn't a good way to keep them. I teach them every moment I am with them, only it's not "2+5 = 8" and how to spell "refrigerator." It's just life stuff that I teach them. Life stuff is good.

Life stuff is important.

I'm going to stop guilting myself over not doing something that clearly, at this point in time, isn't for me.

For now, I am leaving the teaching to the teachers, because apparently I'm still perfecting this little thing I like to call "Getting My Kids to School."