From The Mud Puddle

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Every time there is a rash of violence in the schools, I hear the same thing..."I wish I home schooled". (or better yet, "I wish I home schooled like you") These people operate on the assumption that the primary reason I home school is safety. I'd like to share with you-it isn't.

I remember my daughter being five to six weeks old. I was doing errands with my baby girl, my mother and one of her best friends. For whatever reason, I choose this time to tell my mom that I had finally made the decision to be an at home mom and that I would not be returning to work outside the home. God had really kneaded my heart...softening it towards what He wanted for us, for our family. It was crazy. That in itself is another story.

As I told my mom, her best friend said, "well, you should think about homeschooling her". Her grandchildren were being home schooled at that time. I really don't know how much she really knew about homeschooling. I honestly dismissed her comment. I really had never considered educating my kids any differently than I had been educated. I mean, no one that I knew growing up home schooled or was home schooled. If anything, some kids whose parents traveled a lot might do corresponding school, which sounded elusive and mysterious at that time...but home school?

So a year and a half of blissful motherhood goes by and I find myself at my mommy meeting. This was a fun group of ladies. We would gather and speakers would be brought in talking about topics that concerned moms of preschoolers. (this was before I started going to MOPS). Anyway...The speaker on this one particular day was actually a panel of homeschooling parents. They handed out flyer's...of FAQ and various other things that might help get folks that were interested in investigating homeschooling help in getting started.

The discussion was lively and interesting. My thoughts ran back to my mother's friend and her comment. I still really was not entertaining it seriously as an option yet. God was just beginning to work. I learned a lot of basic information that day. I was a sponge.

I came home, still thinking about it all. I remember bringing out the papers and showing them to Jay, my husband. He read through them. He loved the idea. I was so surprised when he said "we should think about it". Somehow God was getting to me through my husband's enthusiasm. This was very unusual as most of the time things were the other way around. This definitely caught my attention.

My thoughts were like this...If my husband is all for it no questions asked...what is God trying to say here. I liked that it as well as my staying at home (both God things I know, especially in retrospect) were both initiated by God through my husband. He didn't pressure-he left it up to me to sort out with God...but indeed, God had caught my eye.

We started praying about it..not really knowing what to pray. We started looking into it all. We started talking to people and looking around and listening. We went to the homeschooling state conference when my daughter was three and a half. We learned a lot. My husband was all into it. I still had some doubts. I remember pouring my heart out to God...telling God that I would home school if it was His will. God, I remember, put it before me saying..basically , "Let's do one year at a time". That didn't seem so bad. I turned it all over to God. I acknowledged God was the head of our home, and would likewise be head of this school...and that this school was God's.

We went another year before formally beginning to home school. I remember telling my mom we were doing this. I also remember her trying to talk me out of it. That sort of hurt a bit, but I think she was just worried that I couldn't do this. Fact is, I couldn't, but with God's strength I can do anything.

I started gathering more information and materials. I had a friend that was a public school teacher that was teaching Kindergarten. She gave me a lot of advice at home she went about teaching her kids in her class. I practically applied them to the homeschooling situation as I made plans.

I could go on...but for now this is enough history. I did not start to home school because I was scared of violence in the schools or because of a dislike of the school system. I admit there are some good fringe benefits, but they are not the reasons. The reason clearly was God planning the path for our children's education. The reason clearly was our following God. We had no idea what would happen or how long we'd home school. I have not totally been without concern about if I could do this or not...but any concern I have had has been met with God reminding me that he loves my kids more than I do and would not have led us in this direction without a plan to finish what He started. (as well as His reminding us that this wasn't our school but His LOL)

Back several years ago, my husband and I led a local homeschooling support group. This group consisted of families such as ours..here to support one another as well as any new comers that might be starting to home school. We were not the pioneers into homeschooling, but we were on the cutting edge of the beginning of the bigger movement you see happening now. I remember having long talks on the phone (as the state support group gave new homeschooling families in our district our number) from mothers that were so distraught about their child's school situation. They were considering homeschooling, or had already pulled their kids out of school and were asking "now what"? I remember telling them how God brought us into this, not because we are so good and followed-but because led us to do it. It wasnt a reaction against, but just some simple sheep following their shephard. I always prayed that it would help parents to slow down and really think about what they were doing and why.
I share all this because it is part of our story here. It is part of where we are. My daughter is now doing 11th grade here at home, and my son 9th. I pray anyone that considers homeschooling because they think their child will be safer consider that there are no guarantees. My children could be shot at or attacked just walking the dog. They could go to the store and be shot or stabbed. We live in a broken world, full of sin ..dirty. Jesus is the only answer. While I am glad God led us in this direction, and there have been more "moments" with my kids than I ever dreamed possible...I also know it isnt a safety net.
This was on my mind yesterday and today...thanks for reading.

2 comment(s):

You are realy going forward with the narratives this week...

I think home-schooling is a wonderful choice. I am of the opinion that kids need interaction with their peers so that the world does not shock them later, but it sounds like you involve your kids in a variety of activities that allow them to be full members of the community at large.

Some people use home-schooling as a means of seperating their kids from the poor or minorities, which my conspiricy-laden mind leads me to think when people say comments like "I wish I home schooled". But I know you and I think I know your heart pretty well, and it's clear that this was not the reason you home-schooled. Your reason is because you were led here by God and not by fear. That's why I like you.

By Blogger Steven Swain, at 12:22 PM, October 08, 2006  

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I may write my POV on socilization for another post here sometime (perhaps even soon), God willing. It differs from yours, but might give another perspective to consider.

And as for this week and lots of narratives..as veggie tales, boys in the sink said (my adlib)..."we all have something to say"..

By Blogger Muddy, at 10:39 PM, October 08, 2006  

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