Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It’s Official: We’re Homeschooling

We’re about to enter the realm of Homeschooling.

(Let me just pause here and say that no, we do not think public schools are evil or that you are a bad parent if you send your child to one. We also don’t think you’re a snob if you send your child to private school. And if you teach in one of those places, more power to you. Everyone has their own calling. This is ours.)

It’s been a journey to get to this point.

My personal homeschooling journey began when I was in the 1st grade. My parents started homeschooling long before it was “cool” or before a lot of people even knew what it was.

I am the only one of the kids in my family who even went to a “real” school for any amount of time. All of my siblings were homeschooled from the very beginning. We all turned out ok. Mostly.

Even when I was in high school, people used to ask me if I was going to homeschool my kids. I didn’t want to tell them I couldn’t yet make a decision for the children I didn’t have or the husband I didn’t yet know. And that it was none of their business. So I usually just shrugged and said, “I don’t know.” Because I didn’t. And to be honest, most of the time, they were probably fishing for a reaction more than information.

Husband grew up attending public school. Lots of them. As an Army Brat, he moved all the time and saw the inside of many different classrooms. So when he married me, a bonafide homeschooler, I think we both kind of wondered how things would eventually work out.

But that was still making decisions for kids we didn’t yet have. Sure, we talked about it. But knowing that ministry would take us different places, we knew we couldn’t make any concrete decision before it was actually time to decide. So we continued to talk and pray about it.

And then Caedmon was born. We still didn’t have to decide. But Husband was more open to the idea of homeschooling than ever before (he was even the one who suggested it), and we still talked and prayed. Honestly, our biggest struggle was whether to “hold him back” a year because his birthday fell right on the cut-off for the school year. And then the state changed the cut-off date and that decision was made for us.

Our struggle has never been with the quality of the public schools near us. Or the availability of private school. After spending 10 years in student ministry, we saw a lot of things. And it all came down to this: It’s about who we want investing in the lives of our children all day long, 180 days of the year, for 12-14 years. And here’s that answer: Us. Their parents. The ones God chose to be their Momma and Daddy, to be responsible to train them up in the way they should go.

We have friends who are teachers – fabulous teachers. I applaud the work they do, and have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Honestly, I don’t know how they do what they do. And I’m glad they are there for families who are called to send their kids to public and private school. It’s not a personal thing. I hate to give the ol’ “It’s not you, it’s me” speech, but it really is. It’s me.

No, I’m not afraid that they’ll be weird, unsocialized kids. I’m not weird or unsocialized. (At least, I don’t think I am. Well, ok, maybe a little weird.) None of my siblings are. (Ok, so we all know they’re weird. They’re just the fun kind of weird.) And while I might know a few homeschoolers who are/were that way, that’s definitely not the norm and I daresay those people would’ve been weird and unsociable even if they went to traditional school.

No, I’m not worried about teaching him to read or do math. Because we’re starting at the K4/K level, and I don’t have to start with algebra or teaching about prepositional phrases. I can pretty much hang with 2+2 and “M” sounds like “mmmmmm”. I’ll refresh as he learns. It keeps the mind sharp. Or so they tell me. And if we run into trouble in a spot or two along the way, I know how to find help.

And no, it hasn’t been my dream to “send him to school” and have leisurely days of watching soap operas and eating bon bons. Because that’s what people do, right? Or go back to work. No, we petitioned the Lord for these kids – both of them. And He entrusted them to us. Yes, I like some time to myself, and we enjoy time together without the kids. But not so much that we will let any desire for “time away” override the conviction that God has laid on our hearts to homeschool our kids.

And just as this is what God has called us to for now doesn’t mean that’s the way it will always be. This is something we will continually be seeking the Lord about, just as with many other things.

So in just a few weeks, we’ll begin Caedmon’s (informal) formal education at home. Since he’s K4 age, we’re going pretty easy on things. Just some basics at first, then we’ll see how much we can/need to add as the year goes on. He’s a smart kid, and I know he’ll keep me on my toes.

As familiar as I am with homeschooling, I’ve always been the student. While I helped my siblings with some of their lessons, it was never my responsibility to make sure they actually knew what they were doing at the end of the day. It’s kinda freaking me out a little. Just a little. But again, I remind myself that we’re starting with K4. We can do this.

Some of you know exactly where I am and how it feels to be right here, right now. Others think I’m slightly nuts, but you’re ok with that because it makes for good reading. And still others think I’ve completely lost it and you have a bagillion questions to ask, because surely we haven’t thought this thing through.

It’s ok. I might not have all the answers, but I’ll definitely field any questions you might have. Again, we know homeschooling isn’t for everyone and we aren’t choosing this because we “hate the system” or think schools are evil. So if you want to say something about that, just…don’t. It’s what God has called our family to do, and that’s what we’re going to do. If you want to talk about it, I’d love to.

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  1. Anonymous9:15 AM

    I think it's really great that you're able to pursue this conviction. I was definitely very close minded about this before I had kids, but now my eyes are opened to a lot of things I was naive about before, and it's definitely a possibility in my mind. Like you, we'll decide when the time comes. ;)

    1. Thanks, Kodi. Yes, our perspective changes a lot when it's our babies we're thinking about!

  2. we have struggled with this for a while. We have chosen public school. One because we will teach him the things we want him to learn at home in addition to his public schooling (training him up). 2, the school is right across the street. I will be involved as much as possible. 3, because Charles loved private VPK, we just can't afford private school.
    Our decision is also as we go. We continue to pray about it and it may be right for him and not for another child.
    This was probably the best written 'we are homeschooling' blog I've read.

    1. Thanks, Angela. I'm glad you guys are open to the Lord and are doing what you're called to do! Can't wait to see you soon!

  3. I just have one thing to say. I sure wish I had you to write this all out for me every single time someone attacks me for homeschooling. This is brilliantly said. It sums up all of my feelings and thoughts and I have been homeschooling for 6 years. It is one year at a time for me because I always want to remain open to God making a different choice for us. I just absolutely love how this is written. Maybe I will print it out and hand it to all the nay sayers and say, "Superchikk has written this all down for me. She is amazing, I am not, but this is still sums it all up for me." LOL!! Okay I promise I won't do that, but thank you for putting my thoughts and feelings into words. It did my heart good this morning.

    1. You're so funny! I definitely do not have all the answers, but if you'd like to refer some folks to this post, you go right ahead. I don't mind telling some folks how it is for you. ;)

  4. So well written! Congratulations, fasten your seat belt, and get ready for a fun ride--but you know that already!

  5. We are at the same place you are - the beginning of home schooling. I'm excited, scared, and thrilled with the possibility this all brings. I totally get the concept of wanting to invest in your children's lives - that is what ultimatly made our decision - I want to be the one shaping their lives, their values, and watching them learn new things!!

    1. Congrats! If you'd ever like to compare notes (or talk about how crazy it's making you on any particular day), let me know!