Charlotte Mason, a respected educational philosopher in Victorian England, wrote the following prophetic passage:
“Not the least sign of the higher status they have gained, is the growing desire for work that obtains amongst educated women. The world wants the work of such women; and presently, as education becomes more general, we shall see all women with the capacity to work falling into the ranks of working women, with definite tasks, fixed hours, and for wages, the pleasure and honour of doing useful work if they are under no necessity to earn money...
“Now, that work which is of most importance to society is the bringing up and instruction of the children––in the school, certainly, but far more in the home, because it is more than anything else the home influences brought to bear upon the child that determine the character and career of the future man or woman. It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it. The parents of but one child may be cherishing what shall prove a blessing to the world. … (p. 2) we hear so frequently of great men who have had good mothers––that is, mothers who brought up their children themselves, and did not make over their gravest duty to indifferent persons...
“We are waking up to our duties and in proportion as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own. And they will take it up as their profession––that is, with the (p. 3) diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours.”
(Charlotte Mason, Volume 1: Home Education, pages 1-3, http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html, emphasis mine)
Such is my viewpoint; such is my dream. And I have the luxury of living it! I am the joyful stay-at-home mother of three boisterous children, the wife of a wonderful, loving husband. My husband “telecommutes” to his job as a manager in a Cambridge MA-based computer database company; we live on just over an acre-and-a-half in the countryside of Pennsylvania. I home educate my children and we all eat three meals a day together (with the exception of occasional business-trip days). Even better, the children & I have the freedom to “travel with Daddy” when he heads to exciting places like Boston or England for work. (Yes, we lived in the UK for 6 months!)
My work as teacher of my children is anything but mind-numbing. A huge challenge is set before me: to introduce them to relationships with the world around them. I am introducing them to people; to the realm of ideas; to nature; to places; to God. My responsibility is to enable them to form connections which they will pursue their entire life.
Nor are my children, themselves, boring. Anything but! They are already human beings, capable of thinking grand thoughts and wrestling with grand ideas, though they be but 7, 5, and 3. They reintroduce me to the joy of playing and help me to rediscover the world.
I am delighted to be living my dream, and look back without regret on my former (short) career as a CPA. I enjoy using my hobby, singing, to put smiles on my children’s faces; I’m not at all sad that I never even tried to be successful on Broadway or Hollywood with my love of acting. Life is beautiful; family is worthy; and I feel that I have chosen the best blessing.