Monday, January 14, 2013

Homeschooling Not So Confidential

I have been absent in this place. Anytime I feel like I can't share everything here I disappear.

I think that I have been fairly honest here about the move. Today I will just share the difficulty we have experienced in changing schools.

In choosing a new school I was looking for a few things. Size, general structure of beliefs and similarity to how they had already been being taught were just a few of the main things I was looking for. So we chose a school that I thought exhibited not one but all of these things. Even though it was 20 minutes south of our home I felt it was worth it. I felt it was the best place for them and so we went for it. However the honeymoon ended quickly and we began to realize that this was probably not the best fit for our family. In the last months we have dealt with bullies, physical violence, inappropriate language, themes in play that I find extremely unacceptable for their age and lastly and probably one of the kickers, teachers that assured this was all normal and kids will be kids.

Finally a few things happened that helped us come to the current decision. Prayer and prompting. I felt the homeschool nudge. The first time I felt it I was surprised. I thought to myself you have go to be kidding me. This is the last thing in the world you will ever catch me doing lets just switch schools. So I checked out other schools...found a great one now that I was armed with the proper arsenal of questions. I actually wish I would have put them there in the first place. But as I prayed about switching them I began to feel like that would just be to much for them after all of the change they have gone through in the last months. So our next thought was we would keep them where they were for the rest of the school year and then revaluate over the summer. We would pray our tushies off and all would be fine...I mean how much damage could be done in one school year.

Well last week it all became ever so clear how much damage could be done and I started to pray about homeschooling. Two days later we had a discussion with Elliot about friends and how sometimes we can't always be the leader. In order for others to get to know you you have to immerse yourself in their play. With tears in his eyes he told me with little judgment and much humbleness that these were not the kind of friends he was supposed to have. (to some this may sound judgy...keep reading) You see I have been very deliberate in teaching my kids how to choose good friends. How to be a good influence and what to do when faced with those who don't reflect what we believe to be right (I mean this in behavior). And my boy may not always do it perfectly, in fact sometimes I am not even sure he is listening. Turns out he had been listening. He went on to tell me these kids were not good influences in full detail....he had a mental list. Now I am all about my children being good influences to others and blah blah blah. But I also believe at this age they need to be sheltered a bit. I take full advantage of the fact that I can still control their environments and who they hang out with and that is how I like it. Our old school I realize was a gem. I loved all the kids in their classes, I knew all their parents and I knew we were all similar. This is what I hoped I would find here.

So I went for it in my mind. Brian and I had a strong discussion. We came to the realization that Homeschool might be the option and we agreed to investigate it.

But there would be more to come in the form of pushing in regards to this decision. The next night I lay down with Grace to chat and she led me into a conversation that would make my decision easy. At the end of the conversation she asked me not leave her at school anymore, she was crying and upset, fearful and anxious. My girl has never expressed this ever in her little life. She is mostly confident and has always has found school to be fun and exciting.

Before I go any further I want to share my viewpoint on school. I realize it may not be the same as yours and I am fine with that.

I believe school should be any extension of your home. It should be an extension on what you believe in spirit, in beliefs, in behavior and in love. I realize this is a high calling and an even bigger expectation. And we have been blessed for the last 5 years to have been a part of school that was by no means perfect but supported our goal in this with our children. My children had teachers that not only loved them for who they were but for what God had in store for them to become. They had friends whose parents had similar goal in mind for upbringing. And they approached school with a mindset they we do our best in all things because we do all things to bring glory to God. As I watched them learn in that environment it was easy for me to develop my own opinions for what I wanted for them in school.

This was not the case in their new school. In fact I found myself questioning much and over time developing my own anxiety towards leaving them their every day.

So after having my conversation with Grace and praying and talking with Brian. We decided to pull the plug and move forward with the new plan.

We are homeschooling. What the heck? I never thought in a million years we would homeschool. However, I never thought in a million years that we would move across the state and form a new home in a place where we had no friend or family either. It is all about God's plans not my own. On Friday I registered us into a program that is affiliated with the state so that we could receive guidance in the area of academics. My biggest fear is that I stink at this and we get behind. So the program is run through the Mead School District, they will aide me in a bit of teaching as well as guide me in curriculum and facilitate testing to make sure my kids know what they need to know. They also provide some extracurricular classes as well as PE among other things. We have selected Christian curriculum in the subjects of Science and History and of course we are doing bible as well. It has been overwhelming and I would be lying if I didn't express to you that I feel confidently terrified as we plunge in.

Today we covered Math, History, Art, Science and Bible while mixing in a bit of writing. I am waiting for our Language Arts Curriculum so we are trying to incorporate writing into other things in the mean time.

The good thing is they are already ahead in most subjects in their respective grades so I just need to keep up the pace. This is no small thing:)

We are taking this one step at a time. We will most definitely finish out the school year this way. And reevaluate after that. I think there is great importance in them learning from others in a classroom surrounded by their peers and so we are incorporating one day of "school" as well with the homeschool coop.

I have so much more to say about the parenting importance's I learned through all this and so I will spread it our overtime. I think I made you read enough for today!

So we go where God leads....I have no idea where that will be and everyday I learn that there is actually more comfort in the mystery than always knowing what lies ahead.

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