Saturday, November 20, 2010

Home's Cool!

The decision to home school our villains came long before the villains themselves. Intelligent Man was homeschooled from 6th - 9th grade, where he then moved to a tiny little town, went back to public school, and most importantly, met me! What a lucky dog! I was also homeschooled for a very brief time during high school when I was trying to figure out which parent I wanted to live with after their separation. But these home school experiences we had were only a small fraction of what made up our decision, there are so many elements involved.

Perhaps one of the most convincing reasons for me was how awful my public school experience was, not just a year here or a year there, but pretty much from beginning to end! Thirteen years of agony (if you count Kindergarten), that's what I'd call it.

Well, that may not be entirely true since I don't really remember much of anything before 3rd grade, I could have enjoyed K-2nd, but I don't remember it, so it doesn't count.

We moved around a lot when I was little and I believe I missed some very basic skills that would have made learning much more of a breeze. I always thought " I must be dumb, everyone gets it but me" but looking back - I wasn't stupid... I wasn't taught! So, I struggled through each and every grade, passing by the skin of my teeth and never really understanding or retaining anything I learned.

Then there's the whole good teacher vs. bad teacher thing. Now don't get me wrong, teachers are very important and I respect their jobs, after all, I am one (I've just decided to teach on a personal level, not a public one). I remember only 1 teacher in all my years of school that ever made me feel worth a darn. To most of them I was just another face in the classroom, and to a few of them I was even a nuisance! I was FAR from a trouble maker, but because I needed extra help understanding, because I was shy and reserved and they didn't "get" me, I was a bother, and it was very apparent they felt that way. How devastating as a child, to feel rejected by the adults you're supposed to be able to trust.

There are amazing teachers out there that make a difference in kids lives every day! There are outstanding teachers who deserve much more recognition, not to mention pay, than they will ever get. However, there are "not so great" teachers out there as well. I don't ever want my kids to be in the hands of a "not so great" anyone. Then there are good teachers that have their hands tied, or are limited in some way by the politics of public school and can only reach so far for their kids. There are no guarantees when it comes to my kids teachers.

Will all of my kids get good teachers for every subject, every year of their school careers? No. Will my kids teachers wait for them to master a topic before moving on? No. Will Prissy Pants' teachers recognize when she's trying so hard to please them and encourage her accordingly? Probably not. Will Z Girl's teachers understand that when she gets embarrassed and lashes out all she needs is reassurance and comfort, and will they give it to her? Not likely. When the time comes, will Funny Bones' teachers find new and creative ways of grabbing her attention instead of labeling her as ADHD or a "class clown"? I highly doubt it. Knowing these things, and as a mom who is both willing and able, how can I not take this responsibility into my own hands?

Please understand that I am talking about MY family and OUR situation and why WE have chosen this lifestyle. Homeschooling is not for everyone! There are also those who simply can't home school for various reasons. This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty about decisions they've made for their family, I am merely sharing us with you!

God has blessed us tremendously! Intelligent Man had the opportunity to go back to school while FB was occupying my belly, and now he has an incredible job doing something he loves! He's just been promoted too! Because of this, I can stay home with my kids and raise them and teach them the way God has called me to. This is something He wants from our family and that is the #1 reason we are where we are. Here are a few more...

1. I can monitor outside influences.

2. They can have one on one learning time.

3. They can advance quickly when ready.

4. They can hang back on a topic when necessary.

5. We can pick whatever we want to learn about and run with it.

6. No waiting in drop off/pick up lines for countless hours each year.

7. No spending 99% of the school year preparing for a standardized test.

8. No taking standardized tests.

9. No stinky boys to distract my girls from learning.

10. No parent/teacher conferences about Z's attitude or FB's cutting up.

11. No seeing PP's nervous face when she has to walk into a big, scary class room full of strangers.

12. No worrying about my babies being bullied.

13. No worrying about a bullied kid taking revenge and shooting my babies.

14. No getting up before the sun to catch the bus.

15. We can sleep late and watch cartoons every single day.

16. We can start and stop school whenever we feel like it.

17. We can go on field trips whenever we want with no crowds - all the kids are in school!

18. I get to watch the expressions on their faces when they finally "get" a concept!

19. I get to teach them to read and write.

20. I get to see all of their "firsts".

21. I get to spend more quality time with them.

22. I really get to know and understand each of them individually.

23. I get to learn right along with them.

24. I get to hear them say they love homeschooling and love me being their teacher!

25. And one of my favorites: my younger ones learn without much instruction because they listen and pay attention to what PP is doing! They surprise me all the time by what they've picked up.

There are still plenty more reasons to add to this list, I pretty much find a new reason to love it and be thankful for it every day! But no matter how long my list gets, it's still a tough job. It's not a decision to be made lightly. It takes immeasurable patience and die-hard dedication. There are plenty of days I question my ability to do this with 4 kids for the next 18 years. Just saying that sends a chill up my spine. But I know what God has called me to do, and with Him, I will get it done. I mess up, sure, but I pray every day that He helps us to reach our home school potential, and as long as this stays His plan, that's what we'll strive to do!

So, here on our side of the world, home's cool!!


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