Why I'm Still Mormon and Why I Don't Homeschool
Subtitle: The Path of Least Resistance Part II
On the surface, you wouldn’t necessarily think these things are related. But, for me, they describe a part of my personality, or a part of my lifestyle that makes it easier to go with the program than find my own path.
Although no one, including me, wants to describe herself as a follower, it seems I am. Let me explain.
When my oldest son was 3, I started looking into homeschooling. I know several families who do it successfully and I read many books that convinced me of the virtues of home education. To prove my commitment, I joined some local homeschooling groups and attended their gatherings. Everything I read said that homeschooling can be hard, but it just takes organization, commitment, and the ability to let things go. “That, I can do.”, I thought. Actually, I was too good at the last part and not good enough at the first two.
When my second son was born, I began to worry that my resolve to homeschool was slipping, but no, I persisted in believing it would happen without actually taking the steps to make it happen. I didn’t buy materials, I had infrequent and mutually frustrating lessons with Jaxon.
By the summer Jaxon turned 5, my sporadic attempts to teach him anything (reading, patterns, etc) had failed miserably and I decided that if I couldn’t get a steady program together during the summer, I would enroll him in 1/2 day kindergarten in the fall (I was expecting baby 3 in October).
Jaxon really struggled in 1/2 day K, so I transferred him to a Montessori program (which I loved) but even that wasn’t helping. So he tried full-day K the next year at a traditional public school and now he’s in 1st grade at the same school. He still struggles behaviorally and at 7 1/2 he’s just learning to read. Part of me wishes I had just put him in preschool at age 3 instead of pretending I could run a household, care for three small children, and run a home school.
In sum, my belief that homeschooling is the best thing for my child/ren was not enough to make that a good choice for me or our family.
On the other subject, that of my staying part of the LDS church, it’s a similar situation. While I see much good in the church and love and respect the members, I no longer believe that the LDS church is the only path that God wants for his children. In fact, I have a strong belief in a Divine Feminine as well as a desire to connect with her more deeply which isn’t allowed within Mormonism. I’ve even written articles of faith about my intentions to find my own rituals, study sacred text, and worship in un-orthodox ways (for LDS, that is). I want more than the LDS church offers. I want a deeply fulfilling spiritual and religious experience. The trouble is, I just don’t have my life in order to do it. Even re-reading my articles is like an awakening. I wrote that? They seem helpful, but not if I don’t remember them.
Mormonism is like public school for me. It’s easier to just do what I’m used to than carve my own path, or even remember to supplement spiritually. It’s three hours, every Sunday. I put up with it and come away with a spiritual morsel if I’m lucky (not so mucn now that I’m nursery leader). I’m aware that with three small children, our goal is really just to survive every day. But, in the back of my mind I wonder if I could find a way to really live my articles of faith, I could do more than survive, I could thrive.
I feel that way about homeschooling, too. If only I could just find the time/motivation to organize my life (perhaps stop blogging?) I could help Jaxon thrive in a way that he isn’t doing in public school.
Lest I come across like a victim, I realize the story isn’t written for either Jaxon or me. We have time to grow and change. But, it’s helpful for me to step back sometimes and look at what I’m doing on auto-pilot and why. Examining these choices helps me see my current opportunities in a new light.
In the end I’m caught between feeling like I’ve missed not one boat, but two, and thinking that I’m doing the best I can with what I have. Jaxon will doubtless learn to read, and I will surely continue on my own spiritual path.
Self-doubt is only helpful if it leads to change, so the question is how much do I doubt my current situation? Is it mild, moderate, or severe?
How about you? Is inertia preventing you from making changes that would be in your best interest in some area of your life?
What do you do about it? How do you manage?