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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Homeschoolin'

There are times in our life that we plead for God to show where to go and then there are times that he lays things in our path that are unexpected and make us turn in the direction we are supposed to go.  Our kids schooling was certainly a path that I never foresaw this future.  I always pictured them in public school, just as me and Hubs had grown up in.

Sending Bubby to a "real" preschool was a big deal for us.  I never wanted to pay the outrageous price for preschool, but this summer, I felt that they could offer more for our middle child than I could.  I was convinced that our quiet child needed help coming out of his shell and this was just the place to help him learn to speak up to others.  However, I became unhappy with the school even before school actually started.  I received phone calls and letters saying we owed more money for miscellaneous things that hadn't been communicated before.  It wasn't about the money, I'm all for supporting our child's education, it was this awful feeling of being nickled and dimed for everything and they wouldn't tell us clearly what the money was going towards.  Then, things like this started happening:
I can't believe I'm even posting this.  But this was the point that I started questioning whether they really could do more for my son than myself.  His teacher was sweet but could never answer a question.  Anything I asked her was responded with, "I don't know."  In my short professional career, it was a big no-no to just say "I don't know".  At least give me a "I'll let you know tomorrow" or "Good question, let me figure it out and get back to you."  The day my son's teacher left him in the classroom alone to come get me out of the parking lot to ask me to take him home early from a party, was the last straw.  I wrote a letter to the director informing her of his withdrawal.  There were several issues that lead us to this decision but Hubs pointed out that I would probably always look at the school in a negative light because I never let go of wanting to homeschool.  He knew I regretted sending him and unlike many others, I didn't see it as a daycare and a much needed break.

Shortly after, Princess P started asking me to pick her up early from school.  At first it seemed innocent; Hubs had just gotten home from a trip and she wanted extra time with him.  But when she continued, I began to worry.  This type A little girl never wants to miss ANYTHING...not a second of anything.  If she's supposed to be there, she will be there.  She started complaining of being extremely bored at school and began filling her backpack with extra books and paper so she would have something to do during down times.  She would tell us how much time she spent waiting for the teacher to get other kids to behave or help others with catching on to a subject.  Before I go further, I want to say that I LOVE her school and think her teacher is fantastic.  I think he does a great job with 23 students at a varying educational level and I don't think it is a horrible thing that she has to wait.  But, these complaints from a little girl who adores school made us stop to think about the education system as a whole.

Our school system focuses a ton on standardized testing.  There's practice tests and weeks of real tests and if a couple of kids don't do well on the tests then the whole class stays on that concept until they all get good scores.  My daughter is blessed with her daddy's ability to soak information in very quickly, so to hold her on a single concept for an extended period of time is overwhelmingly boring to her.  I don't like that they are teaching kids for the test, to pass the test.  I want our kids to learn information and soak it up to stay, not to just leave after they get an acceptable grade on a test.

We started to think about how our kids time is spent. So much of our day is filled with getting ready to leave and driving and then they spend their school time just sitting.  By the time Princess P is home from school, she has about 30 minutes of play time after her home work and before dinner and then it's time for bed.  She asked Hubs one weekend why he cooks so much (we do enjoy cooking more on the weekend together, but clearly it was bothering her).  Digging a little deeper in the conversation, she said that she feels like it takes away time from her during our short weekend together.  That little comment made us realize how little time we really have with her.  On the flip side, it made me think about how her time was being spent in school.  What was being poured into her during all that down time? 

Sometime in this continuous school conversation, I had a lightbulb moment.  I wish I could remember what lead to that moment, but I have the worst memory ever...hence the blog to document.  I realized that I've let a lot slide with my boys.  I've had legit excuses; #1 they are boys #2 they are second and third children #3 I have far less undivided attention to give them.  These are my excuses for Bubby not being able to recognize 1/4 of the alphabet and Charlie's vocabulary being below the par.  Eh, they're just slower to catch on, right?  This is what I've been telling myself to make my laziness seem not so bad.  My lightbulb made me see that I want so much more for my boys.  I want them to be smart and successful.  I want them to love reading and more importantly, love learning.

While on a run, I told Hubs that I felt like God was putting it on my heart to homeschool.  He said, "You know, when we're 70 and looking back on our life, I don't think we're going to ever regret spending time with our small children". 

I fear that it sounds crazy, but I really do feel God putting it on my heart to homeschool.  It's not a path I would have chosen myself and I know it will be hard, but I'm so excited to feel his guidance.  I have to honor and obey what He is telling me and by faith I will follow.  I know he will supply the strength that I need.  Just looking at Noah's example gives me encouragement.  I'm pretty sure at some point in building an ark, he thought "I don't have enough patience to do this!" but by faith he obeyed God.  Can you image the comments he must have heard from people.  He definitely got some "you are crazy!" and "you should leave ark building to the experts".   When God called Noah to build an ark, I know he did not feel 100% capable, but God gave him a plan and guided him along the way.

I'm not Noah, but by faith I am following God's calling for our family.  There will be plenty of people who think we are crazy and not capable of teaching our children.  There are definitely people who don't understand and who don't want to understand.  But in the midst of the feathers I am ruffling lately, I pray that the Lord's name with be glorified.

This post was not the best organized, I know.  But I wanted to jot down how I'm feeling now and what brought us here, so on the hard days, I remember why I'm doing this. 

Homeschooling, here we come :)

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