Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, Inc.

The Value of Homeschooling

By Erin Matica

We live in a culture that often doesn’t value what matters most. How many times have I been to a party and when people ask what I do they are less than impressed with the answer when I say I’m a homeschooling mother? Last winter when my dad died my eldest brother and I went to take care of some financial issues regarding my dad’s estate. As the banker was filling out the paperwork he asked what I did. When I replied that I was a homeschooling mother and homesteader he said, Oh. OK, unemployed. I said, No, I have a very important job, I just don’t get paid for it.

What has happened to us as a society when our only value lies in what we are contributing to the GDP? Luckily such dismissive comments about me being just a stay-at-home mom cannot hurt me. Sure, I feel disrespected and angry when I’m spoken to this way, but my self-esteem is never in jeopardy. We have wonderfully supportive family and friends and my husband tells me that I have the harder and more important job. Even more so, I know in my heart that my time and energy has been well spent. Our five children (ages 14 – 24) have grown into some of the best people I know. To the extent that they are happy and thriving and successful at being wonderful human beings, we owe much of that to the care and attention we spent on natural parenting and unschooling when they were younger.

What price can we put on happy children? What value would you give to happy, responsible, productive, caring, extraordinary people? Most of the homeschooled kids that we know have a certain immunity to many of society’s worst ills. No person or family is perfect of course, but it is an encouraging thought that what we are doing is in some ways a protective measure, and that our kids will be able to weather life’s storms in constructive, non-self-destructive ways.

To all of you homeschooling parents, grandparents, and supportive friends and family, please know that what you are doing is making a positive difference in the lives of your children now and in the future. Homeschooling matters. Your time, care, and attention matter immeasurably. Never be ashamed that you are just a homeschooling parent. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or work full-time, raising and helping our children learn will always be our most important work.

Erin Matica is a wife and unschooling mother of five kids ages 14 - 24. She lives in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts on a small regenerative farm raising heritage and endangered breeds of livestock and poultry.