Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Schooled

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I first want to start this post, as a former teacher, with a husband who IS a public school teacher by saying that I LOVE the little community school that my kids are able to attend. It is the same little school that Howard and I both went to and I love it there. I volunteer on Wednesdays and am always blessed by being in the building. The teachers are TOP notch and their love for the children is so evident. The worries of political correctness seem not to apply to our little school and my heart leaps as I walk down the hall and hear "God Bless America" sung by little voices either along with a record player (I am tellin' ya...old school) or the teacher's piano accompaniment. Luke has the SAME teacher Howard and I both had and we LOVE LOVE LOVE her.

I LOVE this school. That said, I have a stirring in my heart that I just can't ignore any longer. Each year since we started sending Luke to school (two years) we have prayed on whether to send him to school or school him at home. Last year we even attended a Cyber School open house just to explore our options. We have always held the view that Luke should go to school because he could be a light and maybe be a positive influence on others there. God does in fact call us to be a light to a dark world. I have to say though, that I am feeling convicted that I need to equip him to be a light. He is not ready to be held to that kind of accountability yet. I will go so far as to say that in college I wrote a VERY convincing paper likening homeschooling to child abuse. I digress...it is funny how the Lord works on your heart.

Anyway, I am struggling with the decision of sending Luke to school next year. I have been feeling torn. Luke is in first grade and is reading above a third grade level. The teachers are doing all they can to accommodate him but let's be honest they have two dozen other kids some of whom cannot read at all to worry about. Luke is losing his zest for learning and is getting lazy.

Luke gets off the bus at 4:30 which gives me approximately 3 and a half hours with him in the evening. This year his only REAL homework is typically to read for fifteen minutes which we are cool with because we read to the kids every night before bed anyway so signing his agenda is just a formality. I do know that there is homework to come in the next grade. I spoke with some folks at the school today who confirmed my fear for next year. I am not okay with my child spending 8 hours in school and coming home to another hour of work. He is seven. He needs to play. He needs to run and jump and be with his family. We need family time.

Research shows that homework does not necessarily help a student gain academic success. The teachers I have spoken to have said that a huge reason for their assigning homework is to encourage parents to take an active role in their child's education. I get that. I do that. My issue is that Luke spends eight hours in school with 25ish minutes of gym class per week and 20ish minutes of recess which is held indoors largely through the months of December through March. So they aren't REALLY active. We wonder why students are obese. I digress. I want Luke to have time for play and imagination and family fun. Honestly by the time he gets off the bus at 4:30, we have dinner clean up, have baths and do the bedtime routine, there is really only about an hour of time left over. This year his homework consists of reading aloud for at least fifteen minutes which I am totally on board with and the occasional project that I also enjoy. Next year we are slated for a different course.

I have no intention of shielding Luke from this world which is the reason I assumed all people home schooled (which is why we shouldn't assume). I just really want to make the most of the time I do have with him. We all know that we are not promised tomorrow. I want to squeeze every ounce out of today. I LOVE being with my kids and watching them learn and creating new avenues for them to learn from. I believe that kids learn more from play and experience than anything else.

As a product of public school myself I have to say I think I am pretty well educated. I think the school system was good to me and school was my constant safe place to be. I loved school. Still do. One thing I DO wish is that someone would have said to me, "Kristy, it is okay to do whatever your heart tells you. It is okay to go to college, or not. It is okay to simply desire to raise a family one day" I struggle because I feel called to be home with my kids but am paying on student loans. The closer I have grown to the Lord, the farther I have gone from my desire to have a career and build a life for MYSELF. Life now is not about my own happiness or fulfillment. It is about my family and in turn I am happy and fulfilled. I LOVE being home with my kids and there is NOTHING better than being exactly where you feel God has called you. :)

I know that Howard struggles immensely with being a teacher in a public school. He feels his hands are tied in so many ways. He sees kids who need to know Jesus. Who need to know it doesn't matter how smart they are, how cool they are or how good looking they are. He loves them all. They need to know that it is not important to succeed and make lots of money. It is important to give it all to Him and be His hands and Feet. Howard struggles with feeling that he is doing his students a disservice by not telling them the Truth.

All this to say, I feel that God MIGHT be calling me to step outside my box and let go of my previously very judgemental views of homeschooling and follow Him as I teach and raise my own children. I am scared. This is just ONE facet of my life He is working on and I just want to be obedient. SO, I would GREATLY appreciate prayer on this. I want to do what He would have me do. I want to do what is best for Luke and for our family. If I can school him in a fraction of the time needed in school and spend the rest of the time instilling values, play and learning experiences, what am I so afraid of?

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Isaiah 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Most of my reasons for dragging my feet on this seem silly. Have any of you struggled with this decision?

10 comments:

Mom to 2 boys +? said...

Those reasons are EXACTLY why I chose to homeschool my boys. I was also one of those who said I'd rather die that hs my kids- out of my own selfishness and I didn't want to end up with those weird homeschool kids ;)
Our home was chaotic, always rushing to get up, get to school, get home, do homework, eat dinner and get to bed. My boys got no down time and I got NO quality time with them. It was miserable for all of us. God really put it on my heart to step back and slow down. I pulled my kids out of school and never looked back. It's amazing (why is it that I still am shocked when God does his thing?) how God has worked on my selfishness and patience and brought our family together through this. If God is calling you to do this and I'm pretty sure He is, you just have to take that step of faith and let Him take care of the rest!
Kara

momma betchan said...

The lady that writes this blog did. You should contact her. Her reasons for homeschooling included some of yours but with other challenges to accomidate as well. Bet she'd be a good resource.

http://smilesandtrials.blogspot.com/

Susie said...

You've got a listening ear here, if you ever want to talk to a homeschool grad. :)

Shosh said...

I have the same worries as you - a 2nd grader who reads more like a 5th grader. thankfully, his school is very good about it and has put enrichment in place for him. i have been tempted to homeschool, but I honestly dont think I could handle having all the kids home all day. I have 4 kids ranging from 4 months to 8 years and i just dont know that i could meet all their needs. plus I have a child who THRIVES on structure and I don't think im discipined enough to give him what he needs. but if u think you can do it then good luck, i think all your reasons are very valid!

Tori said...

Umm yeeeeaaaaaahhhhh!!! I thought HS kids were weird, antisocial, etc, plus they'd miss out on so much... Sports dances, etc.... Then God started changing my heart... It was OK for other people but NOT me, but then it was you know I would like that but my hubby was NO WAY! Then one day God worked a HUGE miracle and I mentioned it and my hubby was like Yeah, OK. Now we're sold!!! We luuuuuuvvvv the extra time together and we right now in first grade get done in ONE hour!!!!! My daughter loves to repeat that I hs bc I want to be with her all the time and she tells me she's so happy to be able to read the bible and learn about God in school! So yeah, God called us to it and has provided big time! And also for us it's forever but it doesn't have to be! Take it one year at a time!!

Kelli said...

No one can customize your child's education to fit his/her needs or strengths better than you!! God will guide you in this decision!! We have homeschooled our children for 3 years and can definitely see the benefits! Children who spend 7+ hours a day with kids their own age will inevitably act like...kids they are around. Giving them a strong, solid biblically based education is the best way to equip our kids to evangelize. Praying for your family!!

Penny said...

When my girls were little HS families WERE different! the resources were few and far between and so were the social activities. But with a 12 yr age difference when Logan got ready to go to school I just couldn't put him on a bus and send him away for the best part of his day. I LOVE teaching our boys (and soon youngest daughter)Watching them learn to read was magic! They are all above grade level and we find that "school" needs to last about 4-5 hours or less. NO homework at night and great activites through the day with lower prices and no lines! Our homeschool friends are great sources of support on the days when things don't go as planned.... yes somedays it stinks, but life isn't all daisys..... The boys constantly comment about how much they love school at home.

I hope you find peace in your decision!
Penny

Melissa said...

Yes. This decision is in my opinion, the MOST STRESSFUL decision I've had to make in many, many years. Seriously. It's a hard enough decision on its own, but when you factor in all the judgement, no matter which way you choose, it is almost too much. My daughter is in Christian school, and every February when that re-enrollment paper comes home, I agonize all over again! Prayers to you as you figure out what is best for your kiddos and your family!

Stacey said...

Hi there! I have never commented, but we just processed through the decision to homeschool so I know how it feels to be back and forth back and forth. I finally had to resign myself to the fact that no option was the perfect option. It was just about what was the best option for our family at this point in time.

As my husband and I discussed and discussed and discussed (we are both firstborns - over analyzing an issue is our M.O.), he decided to put his thoughts down on paper. Eventually, he posted those thoughts on a blogger site so we could share with friends and family who were interested. Feel free to check it out at http://ourdecisiontohomeschool.blogspot.com/. Feel free to check it out! My husband has kind of a sarcastic sense of humor and is actually must "softer" than his writing style makes him appear. :)

Good luck with your decision!

Michelle said...

I'll be praying for you! I prayed for a year solid before making the choice to hs my son for K. Oh my, I have so loved this first year and I am so glad God laid it on my heart to make this choice!