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August 08, 2005

A Shiny Red Apple for the Teacher

So, I'm hanging up my homeschooling hat.


Hubby has been the boys' primary teacher since we returned to the States and has done a fantastic job. We've discussed and prayed and pondered what our children need during this time of transition. And here we are. The first day of school-building-school.


And there is this part of me that feels like now I'm going to be judged and rejected and mistrusted. . . No more a homeschooling mom. Losing those good Christian mother brownie points.


I've been involved with homeschooling for 16+ years. Doing research, rejecting highschool and being homeschooled myself, homeschooling family members, homeschooling my children. I'm a fan. I value understanding our children and nurturing who they are, as individuals.

My Dad and Mom passed on their values of the high worth of education. I remember checking out Greenway, the local public elementary school when we moved to a new town. It was depressing as heck. (Still is, a friend who taught there one year said.) We ended up in a tiny amazing Christian family-run school. My Dad taught high school there for awhile. We bought a building for the school to occupy and lived upstairs. All the while my folks were passing along the value of finding what is best for each child, each year.

And that changed throughout the growing up years for me and my siblings. Homeschooled, Christian schools--and even public and boarding schools.

Each child, each family, each year. . . Discerning the needs and finding the best situation for meeting those needs.

So I've been sniffing a bit as I'm laying out school clothes. Feeling emotional as I buy a list supplies from Target, rather than choosing curricula from an enticing catalog. Not quite ready to hug them and let them go in the morning. . . Yet peaceful and confident as I release them into their structured classrooms that this is the next Providential step for them.

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Comments

May it go well for you and your children. (As a non-ideological sometime homeschooler, I can assure you that you won't be judged and rejected and mistrusted by me, for one.)

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at August 7, 2005 10:32 PM

((((tulip girl))))

Posted by: greenemama at August 8, 2005 12:31 AM

Oh, tulipgirl, don't despair! There is a blessing that lies in the path of public school. I'm a huge fan of the P.S. they can be terrific places with opportunity and blessing and outreach. What I have learned is that I was blessed during my entire education experience being involved in P.S. I had neat teachers, who cared and wanted to be involved in my life. I had opportunities to molded and to discern what I should let mold me. I always came back to those things that my mom taught me with her life. I know your kiddos will do fine and they will still know how much love you have for them. You will still know the neat, precious people God is making them. Don't fear. There is blessing that lies down this road for you and your family. So get out those pearly pink erasers and go for another year of learning.

Posted by: A Moore at August 8, 2005 12:35 AM

No rejection....just a big understanding hug (((tulipgirl))). The christian community isn't our guide - the Holy Spirit is, and He knows what's best for "each child, each year" as you said. Go ahead and go confidently.

The first week is the hardest, but you'll find unexpected joys ahead, too. God bless.

Posted by: sparrow at August 8, 2005 12:43 AM

No rejection....just a big understanding hug (((tulipgirl))). The christian community isn't our guide - the Holy Spirit is, and He knows what's best for "each child, each year" as you said. Go ahead and go confidently.

The first week is the hardest, but you'll find unexpected joys ahead, too. God bless.

Posted by: sparrow at August 8, 2005 12:44 AM

I'm sure you are doing what you feel is best for your family and I would not judge you for that. I'm also sure that you've given your children a good start on their education and I'm sure you and your husband won't be parents that sit idle, believing "the teacher is covering what they need to know." Consider this as the beginning of a new adventure.

Posted by: Christina at August 8, 2005 01:13 AM

i know ya'll have put alot of thought time and prayer into this dec. i have much faith that all the boys will thrive this year! cannot wait to hear some of the kids comments on the tfirst few days. will they get to see each other at reces - or eat lunch together? i STILL have a box waiting to be mailed to you... MAYBE i'll get it out before our lil one is borm. that's my BIG TIME goal anyway. *G* lots of love and hugs to you and all the kids!

Posted by: mtnmama at August 8, 2005 01:20 AM

I'm setting my oldest one into the "wild" in February...just thinking about it makes me cry.

Posted by: Kim in ON at August 8, 2005 07:18 AM

What a change this will be! Praying for you (and the boys)- that all goes well.

Posted by: Liza Q at August 8, 2005 07:46 AM

No judgement here. Just prayers and hugs for what must have been a difficult decision. I imagine it will be awkward for you for a little while. But for most people that I know that used to homeschool and now don't they said they had to get used to the idea that we still WANT to be their friend.

I just told a friend that I didn't base my friendships based on whether they homeschool. I won't begin that practice in blogging either.

spunky

Posted by: Spunky at August 8, 2005 08:15 AM

The world is dangerous when someone says their way is the only *right* way. You will never hear that from me. I am not in your shoes, I don't have the discernment God gave you. And, next year, you may reevaluate and find a different route is better, or you may not. The important thing is you are clearing your head of *your* ideas and you are letting God speaks His to you. Not very many people take the time to do that.

Hugs, may they have a wonderful first day!!!

Oh, btw, I'm reading the book, "Chosen by God" by R.C. Sproul for the predestination issue. Thanks for the recommendations for the bible studies!

Posted by: Jess at August 8, 2005 08:27 AM

It's really wise to be able to assess your situation/each child's situation individually and NOT be driven by an unbending rule: "thou shalt homeschool always, even unto the end of the age", which, if it exists at all, can only be coming from people who aren't parenting your children or living your life.

There are pros and cons to every choice. Set yourself toward appreciating the pros of the new situation, minimizing the cons, and parenting your boys as much as ever.

{{{{hugs}}}}

Posted by: Kathy at August 8, 2005 09:52 AM

As a mom who has been a homeschooler and now has been a public school mom for two years, it's funny how much I still work with the kids. A wise man once told us, "No matter what you do for education, you're still the one responsible for your children and their learning." I've found that to be true, whether I was the primary teacher, or if we "hire" the school system to help us, I still work hard - now I am working to be the best "school mom" I can be for my kids.

For us, every year, we pray and decide what to do. This will be our third year in the public schools, with the eldest going to middle school. I think we give them a strong foundation, and that continues even in the school environment.

{{hugs}} - the first day was a very hard year for me, but I am so at peace regarding our decisions.

Posted by: Tracy at August 8, 2005 03:07 PM

As a mom who has been a homeschooler and now has been a public school mom for two years, it's funny how much I still work with the kids. A wise man once told us, "No matter what you do for education, you're still the one responsible for your children and their learning." I've found that to be true, whether I was the primary teacher, or if we "hire" the school system to help us, I still work hard - now I am working to be the best "school mom" I can be for my kids.

For us, every year, we pray and decide what to do. This will be our third year in the public schools, with the eldest going to middle school. I think we give them a strong foundation, and that continues even in the school environment.

{{hugs}} - the first day was a very hard year for me, but I am so at peace regarding our decisions.

Posted by: Tracy at August 8, 2005 03:07 PM

I must admit, tears came to my eyes while reading your post, even though I knew it was coming. I wouldn't want to have to take that route, but I know you are following what you believe is right at this time. (It might be long-term or maybe only a year or two, you never know.)

You can't worry about what "OTHER" mothers think. For me, I have soooo many parenting choices that I am rejected about by somebody, that I can't let it bother me. Even if you and I wrote down all our decisions, many would be different, but we would still be best friends, right?? *grin*

Love ya.

Posted by: Carol at August 8, 2005 06:54 PM

*hugs*

Posted by: Missy at August 8, 2005 07:11 PM

My son had two years at a wonderful Christian school, then we decided to homeschool. At the end of that year we planned on him going back, but the school closed, so I homeschooled last year, and it was a mistake. I'm waiting now to hear from the district about placement testing, and I still have mixed feelings, but there is no alternative, and I'm just not up to it. So I know how you are feeling! Thankfully ours is a small school in a town of about 700 so should avoid many big school problems.

Posted by: JAS at August 8, 2005 08:49 PM

I hope all goes well. My children are in public school and in my heart of hearts I want to homeschool them. It is just not an option for me.

I am a public school teacher though...so just a bit of advice (although I'm sure you know this) there are really great teachers out there. And really bad ones. Find out all you can. Most schools honor parent requests for teachers!

I'll be praying for your family in this time of transition. Hope it all goes smoothly!

Posted by: Bethany at August 9, 2005 01:55 AM

Would you mind thinking out loud about your decision a little more? Why? How? Where?

Posted by: Gideon Strauss at August 9, 2005 07:20 AM

i thought of you guys yesterday when i started pre-planning. the school/teachers/classmates will be blessed to have your family among them.

have you seen the book "Oh My Baby Little One"? it was staple when the kids started school. it's about a mother dropping her son off at school and it begins "Oh my baby little one, the hardest thing I do/is hold you close and let you go/and walk away from you." then it follows the child through the day and each thing he does, the mother talks about how her love is with him. it's lovely, and it took many readings before I could read it without getting teary. even now, with a fourth grader (how did that happen!), i find myself repeating "the hardest thing i do/ is hold you close and let you go" quite often.

i think school is harder on moms than it is on kids. my mother has a home movie of her following the bus to school on my first day - and me getting off and frantically trying to wave her away.

Posted by: amy at August 9, 2005 08:16 AM

I did well (at least academically) in public school, even entering college with 18 hours of AP credit, and I'm sure your children are much better prepared than I was. I'm sure they will glorify God while they're there and be a blessing to those around them. What important work they'll be doing!

Posted by: Lenise at August 9, 2005 04:02 PM

So the kids are going to a different building for school. The real teaching will still continue at home! Plus, the other kids at school will now get the exposure to a(nother) great teacher, as you will surely become a familiar figure around the campuses.

God will bless your decision in ways you cannot anticipate.

Posted by: Eric at August 9, 2005 05:29 PM

I'm wondering how it went. What did they think? What did YOU think? How did it go?

({({({({hugs)})})})}

Posted by: Jess at August 9, 2005 11:42 PM

Having homeschooled 4 children to various levels and then sending them to private school, agonizing over the decision to send them away from home and then the choice of public or private, I know that you have prayed and searched and pondered greatly over this decision. There will be great blessings mixed with frustrations ahead just as there were with homeschooling. I agree with those folks in previous comments that you answer only to the Lord and not to anyone else. Walk in faith. That's all you're asked to do. And don't be afraid to cry because you're grieved at the passing of a chapter in your life. Let the tears heal and empower you to go to the next stage. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might and be free in the knowing that you are following Him in a new adventure, a new opportunity to trust.

Posted by: phyllis at August 9, 2005 11:54 PM

babe
lots of love to you in this change of season. you are an inspiration to me. wishing you strength for the next few days and hope the boys have a wonderful time and connect with great friends.
hugs

Posted by: kate5kiwis at August 10, 2005 06:31 AM

No judgment here either. I was homeschooled K-12 and I feel strongly commited to doing the same for my children...However, I'm doing *so* many things today that I self-righteously swore a few years ago I'd *never* do...LOL...I don't criticize people who change anymore. I realize now that each of us has to follow the leading of the Spirit and do what's best for our own families. Blessings to you and your family as you begin this new season of life.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 10, 2005 10:03 AM

You have to do what YOU think is best for your children. The main thing is to be involved and know what your children are learning in public school. If people are critical of you, you can be comforted knowing that you answer to God, not them.

Having said that, I live in California and "tolerance" curriculm (i.e., pro-homosexual education) is being ferociously pushed on young children - children are being asked to stand up if they think it's "wrong" to be homosexual, or "how do you know you're heterosexual," etc. I don't think I'd put my kids in public school (here in CA) for that reason alone ... but that's not to say that in other states it might work nicely, if that's what God's calling your family to do.

Posted by: Amy at August 10, 2005 12:57 PM

Like you and Tracy, I've been down this path - homeschooling solid for a number of years, then individualizing decisions for each of my 12 kids each year, then moving to Virginia in 2002 and putting every last one in public school. It was difficult to explain to the homeschool community - and odd since we moved across country to 5 miles away from Patrick Henry College (Mike Farris was my daughter's softball coach - how embarassing!)

Amy, btw is right on target about California schools - they are downright dangerous. Virginia is the opposite - they even by law have "in God We Trust" placed in public school hallways!

Next year my 7th grade daughter will be homeschooling again - a mutual decision and I'm looking forward to it.

Amazing things I've learned: in some ways, homeschool is easier, as you have to follow a schedule with public school and there's not much time for household chores and family fun. Most public school parents delegate too much and have a completely different mentality about their kids - like the school will educate them and the church will give them their religious education. I've been shocked that living in a Christian community, as I do now, my kids are the only ones opted out of sex ed.

Doing the public school thing right involves a lot of oversight, skilled confrontation, and being prepared for the worst. It's clear god had a role for us to play here in the public schools and we have made several important changes. Our kids have fared well - one was a National Merit Finalist, so that made us proud.

Sounds like you have a lot of friends who understand. Count me among them - and I will drop by often to stay updated on your adventures.

Posted by: barbaracurtis at August 13, 2005 05:39 PM

Everything said previously is true. I did want to add one thing. I have resisted the pressure to homeschool my kids because I am passionate about being the salt and the light in our public schools. Take all the Christian families out and what do you have? My kids understand that this is our mission field. And I have seen them grow and mature by learning to appreciate what our family stands for as they interact with children from poor families and those from the wealthy families. It hasn't always been fun or fair but it has been fruitful. I'm glad you'll be in the public schools!

Posted by: Jennifer at August 14, 2005 07:08 AM

Wow--I'm really overwhelmed by the outpouring of kind words and support from so many. I really appreciate it. I was talking with a friend about how easy it is to feel defensive about things like this, and she mentioned a lot is because our focus is in the midst of shifting from one thing to another. It helped me keep things in perspective.

And I know that there are many out there who disapprove of kids going to school--and I'm sure they are simply not commenting (and perhaps no longer reading. . .) Ah, well. . .

Gideon, I'd like to share some of the thought processes of how we came to this decisions. But not yet. *grin* I still wish I'd been homeschooled from a younger age with a plan similar to what you've outlined for your girls!

The first week went really well. I'm sure we'll have rough days, too. But I'm thankful for where we are.

And I'm super thankful that each of the boys' teachers are experienced with homeschool-to-school transitions, as well as experience with overseas-to-stateside transitions.

One of the hardest things for the boys this week (they each lost recess time over having so many reminders!) was to raise their hands before speaking. *laugh* That's so my boys!

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 14, 2005 03:23 PM


 
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