Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homeschooling is Just Not For Me

Yes, the headline of this blog was a statement I have made over and over and OVER in my short lifetime, and I meant every word of it. The kids are all sleeping and Ben is busy with something so I"m on a blogging roll tonight so "ride on Nelly, ride on". I have come across so many moms and dads, in general who say, " Wow, I could never home school", and I have to agree, neither could I.

My husband was homeschooled and honestly this was a subject we discussed very intently and I explained very clearly this was not my thing, I felt suffocated at the thought of it and could not understand how moms could not or would not ever "get" a break from their kids. What a horrible way to live?! He had a great upbringing and did fine but I was not convinced that it was a very "smart" move academically. How could a parent teach a child better than a "college" educated teacher? Even looking back now, I think these are valid concerns for so many parents. My kids could never spend this much time with me, how can we afford to do all this on one income, what about my breaks, what if I can't teach a particular subject.....and this list of questions and concerns goes on and on and on.

When we moved out of state, it was one of the best things that could have ever happened to us. We were forced to be our own family unit, apart from our extended family. I am so thankful this happened. I remember very clearly working with Jayden doing fun, educational games and thinking " wow, this is great!". I also remember going to Sedona and having this almost instantaneous thought of , " homeschool your children". Get behind thee Satan. Who said that??" I whipped my head around and wanted to know what insane person or being put that thought into my mind and then I realized, ohmigoodness, I kinda, sorta, wanted that thought in my mind. From that moment on I secretly began to pray and ask God if this was something He wanted us to do then to increase my passion for "it".

On a drive back home from New Mexico, Ben and I were discussing gaps in the school systems and christian worldviews vs secular worldviews. We are Christians, unashamed and choose to raise our children in accordance to the Bible....yet, thinking of how at five years old we would be handing over our precious, impressionable child to a system who's values reflected nothing of our own was a very overwhelming feeling, to say the least. It was that car ride, driving through the plateaus of New Mexico, observing rabbits and coyotes dart past us and 40 degree mornings chill the outside of our vehicle that God began to solidify this journey we are now on.

For those of you who are thinking of homeschooling, never homeschooling or unsure about homeschooling, hear me out. Pray and do not be closed off to the idea- if you are open to what God has for you and your family, the Holy Spirit will solidify these feelings in your heart.

Questions: How are you qualified to teach, you do not have a teaching degree.
Answer: What makes me qualified? I am his/her mother. I gave birth to them, fed them, cared for them when they were sick, I am the one that cleaned up their vomit, comforted them when they fell or others hurt their hearts, I sang and read to them over and over, taught them to talk, to recognize faces and smiles. I am their encourager and ever present cheerleader. I am the runner behind the wobbly bike, the net behind their wobble legs. I am the guardian at night when the darkness creeps in and begins to form mental images and fears. I taught them what a bug was, how many legs it had, and who created that small bug. I have dried countless tears, tickled countless tummies and held countless hands in my own. I have played make believe, play dough, interpreted Picasso type paintings and melted down broken crayons. I have purchased pets, read pet care books and cleaned countless fish bowls and hermit and anole cages to teach my children how to care and be responsible for another living being. I show compassion, frustration, love, anger, but a constant jealousy of love towards my children. I am weak but Christ makes me strong. So let me stop you right there, how am I not qualified?!

What is a teacher. Does a college degree equate teacher just as much as my sociology degree equates me an expert on society? Does a business degree equate success or a medical degree equate great bedside manner and expertise?

Question: How will you teach calculus?
Answer: I won't. If my child is wanting to learn calculus I will find the best possible expert, be it at the collegiate level or a homeschool support group where someone will teach him/her calculus to a successful degree.

Question: Won't you get sick of your children or them of you?
Answer: Who doesn't get sick of being around anyone all the time. Are you telling me that teachers, who are not even blood related to their students, do not get sick of them? Of course I want a break. I have breaks but let me explain something, I did not have birth my children so I could hand them over five years later to a system of strangers. I birthed them so I could nurture and shepherd their hearts with the strength and grace of the Holy Spirit. Do they get sick of me? I'm sure....we have designated nap/quiet times EVERY SINGLE DAY. Do you know what, I tell them, " no talking to me for the next hour" and you know what- they do a great job sleeping or playing in their bedrooms quietly while I recollect my thoughts and put my mind on a hiatus for a bit.

Question: How do you do it? I could never do it.
Answer: I have no idea how I do it. I do it because I love my children and opened my completely closed off, needing to control everything heart to God. There are definitely hard days. However, the hard days are so much less than the great days. I deal with their heart issues immediately instead of letting them fester and grow if they were not with me all day. I ask God for inspiration and help each and every moment of the day. Its not easy teaching- let alone adding grace and patience into that mix. I desire more for my children than any teacher could ever give to them and yes YOU can do it. Do not underestimate yourself or your ability. YOU are their parent and only YOU can give them what NO ONE else could ever do in the school system, unconditional love. Yes, YOU can home educate your child(ren).

I leave you with this final thought....although I will be revisiting and adding to this topic again- you have not heard the last of me because there is so much more to discuss. When I was  senior and all set to go to cosmetology school, marry Ben in a couple of years and feeling confident my college writing teacher, Mr W ( cannot even remember his full name) asked what I was going to do after school. I stated cosmetology and he stated, " Wow, you are really wasting your talent and could be doing so much more with your life." SLAM. What am I suppose to do with that comment. I will tell you one thing, that one comment in the autumn of my senior year shaped the rest of my college life. I completely fell of the bandwagon, has so many insecurities about my decision and in June after graduating I switched last minute from cosmetology school to my university only to finish my senior year with a surprise pregnancy and at the end, a sigh of relief. Why relief, because now, I was out of the academic rat race of others expectations of me...people who mean nothing to me now or then and I could finally take a step back and see what did I really want, what did God really want for my life. Funny, I can't even remember his name....a teacher who means nothing to me now or then but used his unwarranted influence to change the course of my life.

Who do you want influencing your children?
To be continued.....

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