He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

23 February 2011

a little bit of me... Part I

As I've mentioned to many of my local friends lately, I have been reading through a book called "The Mission of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson. I can safely say that this book, along with a few others I have read over the past few months, have been eye openers for me. I have wanted to share my heart with you all for a while now, I can't explain why, other than this blog has often been where I have come to "release"... so now, for a little more of me...
About a year or so ago, Sweet Hubs and I discussed homeschooling our kids. I don't say that lightly. The reality is that Hubs is a product of the public school system and I attended a private Christian school for 13 years. Both of us have seen the products of homeschooling and, aside from one family I know well, we have been scared by its results. At first I thought we were terrible people because we thought everyone who came out of a homeschooling environment was... well... nerdy, lacking-social skills, awkward, uncomfortable, know-it-alls. {Rough, I know!} After reading what other mom's have to say about their home school experiences, though, I have seen that the stigma is most definitely a prevalent one and, though it has been known to be the case, that it doesn't have to be.

So again, after reading some of the books I have been reading, I have no doubt in my mind that that's what we'll be doing.

Are we running from the world and all it's evils? Yup. Kinda.
I worked in the local public schools as a substitute teacher and the word I heard misued the most was "tolerance". I have come to HATE that word. I did a couple of long term substitution in our town's elementary school, the one my children would attend if we let them. There was not an ounce of absolute truth to be found. The books were clean and new. The artwork was updated and impressive. The students were well behaved, for the most part. But the attitude of the staff was rude and selfish and so, so lost. I confirmed that I had nothing in common with most of the people who would be assigned to teach my children in their most impressionable years. They demanded respect and good behavior with no reasoning. Why respect others if they weren't created in God's image and if their heavenly Abba didn't love them? Why hold to any truths if everyone else's completely opposing truth was just as valid? I was so bogged down by the weight of how lost that school was that I determined there was no chance my children would attend that school and I explained that to Hubs right away. Despite the many programs for children with special needs, the wonderful test scores, and the well kept building, I was disgusted.
So what about the local Christian school I attended?
Well, for one, it's costly. I have full confidence in the staff and their ability to teach my children the truth's of God's word. I also feel the strong conviction that the best place for my childrens' education is my own home.
And what do I think I can offer to my kids?
My job... my personal interest... my long term goals... my concerns... are all for the children that the Lord placed into our care. As a mom, I already have the personal interest in my kids. It comes naturally. The desire to see them succeed in all areas of life was built into me when they were conceived. By the standards of compassion, love, concern, and expectations, I am more than qualified. I'm actually qualified by academic standards too since 1. I made it through four years of college and 2. those four years of college were spend getting a degree in elementary education {NOT that either of those are required to homeschool but I figured it would quiet the "nay-sayers"}.
I also have the time. I am currently a house-wife and a stay-at-home-mom. I know what I signed myself up for when I had CJ and Mak, and I know what I'm signing up for as Little Petey is growing in me {and kicking the desk I'm up against as we speak!}.
I have no intention of knowing what the Lord's plan is for you or any other family. Maybe you are unable to stay at home for financial reasons. Maybe you prefer the challenge of a career over full-time-mommyhood. I am speaking only to our family and what I know the Lord is calling us to.

Am I scared? 
Beyond belief. I know that to home school well, I will have to make many sacrifices of my personal time. I will be on call and accessible to my children ALL. THE. TIME! As a woman who was created with a very strong independent streak, I am curious as to how this will work out.
I will have to be purposeful in my planning. I will have lesson plans, yes, but to be affective, I can't just throw a coloring sheet at my kids and think I've done my job. I'll have to organize. I want to be the kind of teacher that lets my kids get their hands dirty and try new things and apply what they're learning in all areas of life. Yeah... no small task, indeed.
I'm also excited! I was raised in a home where I was allowed to travel a good bit. My dad traveled to visit members of his huge-normous family and often took me with him. I went on a few business trips with him too and was able to visit several factories and see how things are made and things are done. I've learned to love the processes of how things we use in daily life get to be what they are. I want my kids to see and experience those same things and that goes not only for tangible "stuff" but also for history.
One of the biggest things I learned from my teaching experience in schools is that the best way to learn something is by teaching it. You cannot be an affective teacher if you don't know your stuff. You have to study, learn and not just recite facts but understand the processes. I look forward to learning along with my kids and exploring things from the grand perspective that God created everything and God's perfect plan is in everything.

...and what about the risk of raising "nerds"?
As for the number one concern of everyone I know... I'm coming to the conclusion that socialization is a matter of how much work you put into it. I am currently surrounded by a group of women who love to get together with each other. Most of our kids are close in age so that means we tend to get together a lot. We are also a part of our local Community Bible Study which does not skimp on Biblical education for children. There are a handful of moms I talk with often who are already home schooling and several others who are starting to talk about it when their kids are of age. I am confident that the opportunities for my kids to hang with other kids their age will be plentiful. But I have also begun to realize that socialization with people of other ages, older and younger, is incredibly important. Through homeschooling I will have the freedom to use some of our time to interact with people of all ages. I am thrilled with the idea of getting my kids to practice their reading by reading to younger kids at church or in local schools or heck, with each other! I love the idea that I can bring my kids into a nursing home and have them interact with the elderly who not only crave attention from others but desperately need to be loved because they're so quickly forgotten. Together we can be the hands and feet of Christ by serving at the local soup kitchen. They can learn so much just by interacting with others! And even further reaching, I will have the rare opportunities to teach them about God's beauty and creativity by showing them his creation on walks in the woods around our home and even road trips to all kinds of places.
These are opportunities that may be accessible when children are in school systems but are far more difficult because you're working around other peoples' schedules.

I am realizing that I have just as much of a chance of raising adjusted, well-rounded, God serving children who have hearts for the Lord and His love for others as I do of having a self-serving, ignorant, and socially awkward child. It all depends on me.

1 comment:

  1. Wow i wish we lived closer i have felt the same calling for all the same reasons plus i want to tailor my kids education around character instead of just learning "stuff" More of an eternal education like finances and how to be a Godly wife/husband etc I however dont have an education degree but our church has a good coop so I'm excited and nervous but now I feel like I have another person who understands and doesnt think I am crazy! Yah for sheltering our children


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