Does the path less travelled really make all the difference? Or should I be saving for therapy down the road?

When I was young I loved reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Remember those books?  At the bottom of each page the reader needs to make a decision “Do you choose to walk into the dark cave because you’re impulsively reckless?  If so turn to page 38.  Do you choose to high-tail it back to the castle because you’re wimpy?  Turn to page 12.”

The trick, I discovered early on, is to keep you finger on the page where you need to make a decision.  That way if your choice turns out to be fatal, you can easily backtrack and try an alternate route.  Yes, the cynical among you might declare this cheating.  I call it having a back-up plan.

I wish parenting had such an automatic do-over.  That way, when your children were in their twenties, on drugs, and in therapy, you could simply go back and make different choices.  Hopefully better choices.  Choices that ended with your children thanking you during their Oscar or Nobel Prize acceptance speeches.

I have mentioned before that my family and I are homeschoolers.  (Without denim jumpers.  Just want to make that part crystal clear.)  This decision works for us right now.  In fact, the decision to homeschool has opened up doors, provided opportunities, forged stronger bonds, and blessed our lives greatly.  From all the evidence I have gathered, it has been a good choice thus far.

However, life is not a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.   As a parent, when you choose one path, the other option is automatically denied you.  You cannot have both.

So there are moments (especially as the new school year looms before me) when I wonder:  am I short changing my kids?  No matter how great homeschooling is, would there be more benefits in public schooling?  What if, as their teacher, I forget to instruct them on some critical piece of information?  And then, for the rest of their lives, my children would shuffle in line at the welfare office, with a prescription for anti-depressants in their pocket and a voter registration card marked ‘Democrat’ in their wallet, beating their breast and crying, “If only I had been in public school.  Then I wouldn’t be so screwed up.”

These panicky, cold-feet thoughts usually come late at night, after a particularly stressful bedtime situation or at the end of a long day, when my blood sugar is too low.  And I realize, even as I am stressing, that I am being incredibly foolish.  I have made my choice and in the cold light of day I feel good about it.  It would just be nice to have a little confirmation that I made the best choice.

All I can say is Robert Frost better know what he is talking about.  Or I am so going to kick his butt.


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6 Responses to Does the path less travelled really make all the difference? Or should I be saving for therapy down the road?

  1. Amy Pollak says:

    Just wanted to say that I send my child to public schools (for now anyway) and as school gets ready to start tomorrow, I have the exact same concerns you have – should I be taking a different path? This is working for us, but, could it work better if I quit my job and homeschooled? I think good parents are always wondering these things, but in your heart you know you’ve made the right choice for you and your family.

    Love your blog. And if I do ever decide to homeschool – I will definitely be reaching out to you as I live in the Indy area too (I think you live in Indy, but I can’t find confirmation of that right now!). 🙂

    Keep writing – you have a gift.

    • bunkersdown says:

      Thanks! And yes we are Indy folk.
      Isn’t it crazy how much we stress out as parents? No one mentioned that in the parenting books I read while pregnant. Maybe they just didn’t want to scare us?

  2. Mindy says:

    Dear friend,
    If you are worried about this, then you are doing just fine. Your children would be more likely to shuffle in line at the welfare office if you simply didn’t care and just did what you’re doing because it’s what is easiest for you. Take that, dark of night thoughts!

    I’m sure you have already done this but Just. In. Case. you haven’t, the best confirmation you can get that you are doing the right thing will come through prayer and fasting! (Just trying to save Mr. Frost from some butt-whoopin’.)

    Love you, girl. You’re doing great.

    • bunkersdown says:

      Thanks for the confirmation. And you are so wise about the prayer and fasting. (You must have had really great friends in high school that completely enriched your life to be this smart. ) May I just say for the record that I hate dark of night thoughts?

  3. whitney says:

    This is what the economists have dubbed ‘The Opportunity Cost.’ Every action has one and the ramifications can only be slightly anticipated or heedlessly predicted. Some Opportunity Costs are greater than others, this is why we move forward with Personal Revelation and ignore the costs altogether.

  4. Have some jam before bed.

    And we can totally compare homeschooled/public schooled kids in about 17 years.

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