Yesterday, two cardboard boxes showed up at my doorstep. The appearance of those boxes in our home sent me deep into thought last night as I realized the magnitude of what is happening.
As a little background, I went to college to be an Elementary School Teacher, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Education. I attended public school, I taught in public school and I believe very much in public school. My senior year at college I had to write a paper on a highly debated educational topic. My thesis was that homeschooling is actually a form of child abuse. (I know, I know). Howard is a public school teacher. Some of our very closest friends are public school teachers.
We happen to live in a school district with one of the best elementary schools around. Howard and I both attended this very school and we have nothing but good things to say about the school, staff and familial feel of the wonderful place. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful public school option. Seriously.
This is why, when the Lord started nudging me a while ago to research other options for our kids I shut Him out. I was content. I knew Luke was SO loved and so well cared for and it made it so much easier to let him get on that big yellow monster each morning. :) I love my kids. I love when they are all home and it was hard for me to say goodbye for such a large chunk of his day, but I figured it was an issue that was for ME to work on...I needed to start letting go. So I did.
Luke liked first grade and loved his teacher. She is one of the best there is for sure. Howard and I both had her as our first grade teacher and we were thrilled that Luke would be blessed by her also...and he was. This is why part way through the year when Howard asked if I would consider homeschooling the kids, I thought he was nuts. I had been feeling the Lord work on me in this area and it was all too scary for me. I shrugged it off and we kept on.
One night, Howard and I had a serious talk on the matter. He shared with me all of his concerns, as a parent and as a teacher himself. He was concerned that Luke was becoming lazy, that because he is one of the oldest in the class and is several levels ahead in reading, he is learning to do the minimum just to get by. Even the most wonderful teacher in the world, when placed in a room with 24 seven year olds can only do so much. She had kids who barely knew their alphabet...they needed her attention. She tried hard and gave Luke extra projects and work, but again she was only human and already spends countless hours on creating lessons for the kids.
I kept praying on what we were to do...I knew how strongly Howard wanted the kids to be schooled at home, yet he knew that unless I felt it too, it would not work so he just let it go and kept praying on it as well. Through my prayer time and scripture reading, I was beginning to really hear God calling me to this job that honestly for me seems impossible...THREE small children all depending on me for their everything. Let me just tell you that I do not have the patience of a saint so it is only by the grace of God that this could possibly work.
Last week we decided. My convictions became stronger and my fear of disobeying what God was calling me to do became greater than my fear of homeschooling itself. In a few short weeks, that big yellow bus will drive down our road and bypass our house as we begin to create a learning environment within these walls.
If I am being honest, I am excited but also terrified. The magnitude of being SO responsible for my children's education overwhelms me...to which Howard gently says "so why trust it to someone else...if it is so important...God will equip us". Oh, that man...so wise and yet sometimes so irritating. (I say that with love, I know how blessed I am) It has become a matter of just saying "Yes, Lord" and praying our way through.
Now, all this said, I have found that as we share this decision with friends and family we are coming up against a LOT of opposition and eye rolls, so just for myself, I want to explain a few things.
We are not doing this out of fear. We believe that we are to fear nothing but the Lord, Himself. We are not trying to shield the kids from the world or protect them from anything. We are merely trying to do what is best for OUR kids. That said, we also believe that public schooling is good and is what some families are called to. Our reasons for homeschooling are not religious as much as just trying to do what is best for our own kids. Our choice to do this is in no way saying that we have a beef with school or the teachers there...that could not be farther from the truth. It is also not saying that we think this is what is best for every family. Much like all other parenting decisions, families need to choose what is best for their own kids and their own families. For some, that is private school, for some, homeschool, and for others public school.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
We have also been scolded for making a choice that will ultimately cause the demise of public schooling. Disappointment has been shown in our "not allowing our children to shine their Light into the public school system." To those I say...we are merely trying to be obedient and do what is best for our kids. Expecting my five year old to be a Light is a huge responsibility, and one that I must admit I don't think he is ready for...we have a lot of foundation yet to lay. I do hope and pray each day that our children will shine their lights for all to see...I just feel like I need a little more time to instill some of those things in them. We still think it is of the utmost importance to teach them to be a light and to love with the love they've been shown.
I want Luke to retain his love of learning. I want our kids to find learning fun and exciting and above all I want them to be kids. I want them to play and explore. For THIS year Luke will do second grade and Ben will do Pre-K at home...we will pray and make schooling decisions each year depending on what is best for each individual kid. I really think we will send Ben to Kindergarten next year, but we will see. I hope to remain open to whatever God has for us.
I welcome any advice on homeschooling (especially when you don't have a school room) and organization as I am new to this. I am excited and can't wait to spend all of my moments with these precious ones. I know that if the Lord is calling us to this and we continue to seek Him that we will all be blessed.
Those two cardboard boxes...are just a reminder to me...to never say never...and that God can change hearts in big ways. If you say so, Lord...I will.
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 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."