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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Education Dilemmas

I try to keep my blog from anything too controversial - but I feel the need to vent on this matter...so here goes.

I have decided, for various reasons to homeschool Priscilla (9) next year. Last year we decided to send Caleb (10) to a Christian Classical School (Clapham School). Up until that time they had always been in the public school which offered a Dual Language program, enabling them to become mostly fluent in Spanish.

I realize that doing school differently year by year strikes some as odd and a bit non-committal. For us, we figure we will evaluate the needs of each child and the benefits offered by each method and the pros and cons and adjust accordingly. It doesn't seem to me to be such a bad idea. Kids change, character issues arise and certain educational choices may not fit as they once had.

I guess sometimes I sense (for probably no apparent reason) that people look on me as an oddity - choosing different methods for my kids - now even venturing into homeschooling which some would label as an extreme measure!

In this case, I had not seriously considered homeschooling Priscilla. She is popular, happy, easy-going and generally well-suited to any classroom environment. But she initiated the idea - requesting it more than once. Now, I know - kids will ask for candy constantly but we do not give it merely because they ask. But in this case I had to pause to consider. At the heart of her request (after some querying and investigation) was her desire to spend time with me, and for me to share more of my life with her and for her to learn and study within our home - by my side. She even said, 'Mommy, we could have breakfast together and then read our Bibles together before we start school each day!' I couldn't have scripted that for her! When she said that I realized I may be wasting a precious opportunity for deepened fellowship and bonding with her. Yes, fellowship and bonding can take a great many other forms than homeschooling, but I felt this was as close to a calling as I was going to get. That and that my heart was actually open to the idea.

As far as bonding goes - it's a long story - but suffice it to say that I did not bond much with my first two kids when they were babies (-I made up for it in later years :) -) because I was simply overwhelmed at mommyhood at the time.

Now, it could be a total flop. I could fail in this endeavour to educate her at home. I could attempt it only to discover it was a bad decision. But since she is bright and intelligent I figure we wouldn't have lost much that a little time and effort couldn't remedy. And I feel I will never regret the time I invest in her little life, shaping her little heart and growing in joyful discovery of God's world together.

I can sense all the criticism there may be - like: the public school will miss you and your wonderful child! You lose an opportunity to shine brightly there! Or, 'You know what you're signing up for - homeschooling is a lot of work!' Or, 'Don't you think you have enough on your plate with 5 kids - and you're going to start homeschooling...now?!'

Oh well. There is truth to all of that. But God will give me grace as I start this journey - and maybe He will show me it was a nice idea for one year and we'll reconsider.

Either way, each step must be taken by faith, and that is what I am attempting to do.



15 comments:

  1. I am currently a public school mommy, and totally agree with you that this is an amazing and special opportunity for you and your daughter. All the best and ENJOY! :)

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    1. thank you Brooke! I needed to hear that from a public school Mommy :)

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  2. This is an incredible article you've shared, Sarah! Thank you for sharing from your own personal story! I hope you don't mind my sharing it on facebook!

    I love that you took time to discover and consider what your daughter asked of you, when she said, "...Mommy, we could have breakfast together and then read our Bibles together before we start school each day!' (One of my children said something very similar to me, one day, long ago, and, to my regret, I failed to make it happen!)I regret not having walked WITH each of my children into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than simply a knowledge about Christ!

    I'm totally encouraged that you took that time to discover what was at the heart of your precious daughter's request! What an incredible opportunity, this is in front of you! And, how very cool that you are not setting it in concrete, but you are seeking the Lord's guidance step by step!

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  3. Thank you so much for your encouragements here! At least I'll be able to say I have experience with all 3 school choices! Public, Private and Home!

    I appreciate your input!

    And thanks for sharing via facebook, though I don't know who you are (Anonymous :) ) - thanks all the same!

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  4. Sarah, this is precious! To say, "I want to be in your presence, to walk through the day with you, to learn from you, I want to know more of you". That makes me think of how much my relationship with my Heavenly Father should be this way. I don't believe you'll ever regret spending this time with Priscilla, or her having more time with the little ones, however long it turns out to be.

    Donna in FL

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    1. Thanks Donna - as I venture out into 'unknown territory' I need all the encouragement I can get! I appreciate your thoughts. I need to reflect more on my walk with Him that it be filled with anticipation and delight!

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  5. Oh my goodness Sarah. This is very exciting. You two will be such an amazing homeschooling pair. This is a wonderful gift to give each other and the family. Perfect, perfect, perfect!
    Will Timo be in school next year? Or does he have another year at home? If you have four at home, will it be hard to keep Caleb from feeling left out?
    I loved not sending my kids off to school, instead watching their friendships with each other develop and deepen. I loved not having to imagine them eating lunch in a noisy crowded lunchroom every day. I loved watching them cuddled on the couch together reading...ahhh. What bliss awaits you. Not that you don't already have that, but to have that instead of school, all the time, living together in the Deuteronomy 6 way. Personally mentoring Priscilla, at her request. What a privilege and what a blessing. My heart is overflowing with joy for you!

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    1. Thank you Suzanne - you are so affirming and make me really look forward to this exciting time. Timo will be in the public school beginning the dual language kindergarten. Andrew may be going to the preschool which would be a big plus for me (and him). So there would actually be a bit of focussed time for me to be with her.

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  6. Sarah I'm going to venture here, as a tried and true and failed and frustrated home schooling Mom. When you do home school Priscilla, and yes I agree you're hearing the cry of her heart and the calling of Jesus here correctly, as far as I can see from afar, to not get bogged down in details. If what she needs is time with you to read about Jesus and study His WORD, and to be mentored by you, don't have any expectations on how the year should go, what you should cover, etc. Just let it be in His hands, it is the best place for it to be. I've spent way too many anxious moments worrying about what they were getting, or not getting, when all He wanted was for them to rest and receive in Jesus His WORD. It's a limited time we have, let's not worry about what we can't accomplish but let His Word dwell in our hearts RICHLY. Also, with our girls, it's OK to teach them the domestic side of things too--to cook etc. Boys obviously too, but it's all too easy to neglect this side of a girl's education, and they need it to nurture and be the women God calls them to be. Nothing better for a girl than to have her mother teach her this, and it's so easy to ignore...MB

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    1. Adding in...I myself have struggled in the cooking end of things because my Mom, so competently, did it all and didn't train me up in it, just forgot I suppose. I never feel as lonely or in need of God's help as I am in cooking and providing food. I'm sure it's spiritual warfare too, since God knows they need to be nurtured, and satan is trying to prevent that true nurture and communion within the family they need at the family altar or table where we join hands together and receive from Jesus as we eat. But anyway, it could be good to do some old-fashioned training here too. Have fun :) MB

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  7. Wow - thanks for these thoughts! Yes, I have been thinking carefully through my plans. I hate stress, and intend not to get stressed about it. Academics in the morning, extras in the afternoon (including baking etc.) with lots of flexibility in between!

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  8. You'll do fine and you're right--who could pass up a request like your daughters! The fact that you're humble and not sure of yourself may just be your best quality for success! Gail

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    1. Thanks Gail - I am even beginning to see how this is God's call for us this coming year and to begin some things now that will prepare her and me for the year to come.

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  9. Just found your blog!
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