Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Am Sad Because I Have Found Such Joy In Homeschooling

Friend: "My kids started a "such-in-such" public or private school today.  I think they will thrive, don't you?"  Or "I put the kids into school today. What do you think?"
  Me (the homeschooling mom):   Oh wow, that makes me sad!
Friend: Sad?!?! Who do you think your are to be sad about my decision?

Being an active member in the homeschool community for a long time puts me into a position of leadership.  I don't ask for it, I don't speak it.  Yet newer homeschool families look to success stories to draw from for inspiration.  Over the years I have spent many hours with younger moms, sharing ideas on what works and what doesn't.  Sometimes these families stay the course and join my family as success stories.

At the same time many others may abandon the homeschool lifestyle and send their kids to school.  I find this to be especially true if the kids had been in school before or if just one parent wants to try the homeschool lifestyle.  In rare cases the need for traditional school arises because of the health of a child or of a parent.                                  

Many times these families that decide to go back into the traditional school route are a little lost.  They have spent years developing their homeschool relationships.  Moms that had come to me for advice end up joining my circle and become close friends.  Often I know their children and have spent time in various activities with both the children and the moms.

I suspect that because we have become friends my opinion still matters to these moms.  More often than I like I have been asked for my opinion when I am told that their friends have put their kids into traditional school.  One mom even wanted to remain friends by hiding the truth.  My first reaction is one I hide from most but if we have become close I will really say what I am thinking.  I am always surprised that my response is troublesome to others.

I think homeschooling is the best possible option, that is why I homeschool my kiddos. My first gut feeling is that these moms are choosing the worst option and that makes me sad.  I love homeschooling, I have had wonderful success. I know my children so well because of the adventures we have had.  We have learned together. We have shared the good and bad along the way.  When you tell me that you gave that up it makes me sad.  
"I am Sad!"  If you are my friend, I am sad that you will not have the same joy I have had.  That is all that is meant by that.  I am sad that you and your child will not have the bond that I know with my children.  (That isn't to say you won't bond but it will be different that the one I know.) I am not judging you, I am not condemning you, and I am not mad at you.  We all make different choices for our own reasons.  I wish you and your family all the success and joy in the world. I do not hold anger or distain to you or your kiddos.  In fact I like your kids and will miss seeing them around all the time. I am also sad that our relationship will change and we will have less to share.    

I ask that you understand that I don't want to loose you as a friend but we will grow apart.  We will be in different circles now.  I homeschool, I like that.  I will be spending the majority of my time with homeschool mom. I do not worry about an bad influence on my kids or anything like that, it is just a different world that you are now in.  As I start the official 20th years I can reflect on the many families that have come and then gone on different paths.  God Bless you!  This is the path for me and my family.   

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Should I start my school year early or late?

This is very different for each family.  The local private schools went back midAugust around our location and the publics went back the 4th Week of August, with labor day this year still two weeks off.  I used to always start the day after labor day.  This year I sit here unprepared and not really wanting to get started.  I know the better organized I am the more we will get done and yet we never do what I organize so it sometimes look like a waste.  I watch the newbies get excited about curriculum and making bold choices to teach or not teach a certain subject.  I am again stuck with my personality wanting to be uber organized and output driven with work sheets and charts but knowing that the kids do not learn that way.   I know my kids learn even in an un-schooling fashion but I still stress and compare myself to others.  "Am I doing enough?  Do I require enough?  Will they be smart enough? What will so in so think if they find out what I do?"  You would think starting year 20 of this homeschool teaching thing would afford me a little more confidence.

I have 11 wonderful children.  The oldest 4 are finished with my instruction.  The oldest is literally a life-saver working as an EMT on an ambulance.  The next three are at community college working on transfer credits.  Most importantly I have raised wonderful people.  They are kind, giving, loving, and Christ centered people that understand HEAVEN is the goal.  That is what I need to focus on all the time.  Our family motto:  HEAVEN IS THE GOAL, EVERYTHING ELSE IS GRAVY!  OK now that I have reminded myself of what is important year 20 can begin with the right focus.

So when should I start my school year?  This year for me it will be soon.  It is important to realize and focus on the goal.  Remember that no matter when you start you kids will not learn everything.  You will never get it all done.  The most important thing to do in a homeschool family is to inspire a spirit of learning and a love of Christ.  Let the kids know their purpose as a child of God and then education will fall into place.  I am not saying that academics are not important because they are extremely important, but in their proper spot.  With the goal in mind, I will start school when it works best for my family.