Thursday, August 09, 2007

Homeschooling, Seriously?

Yep, we are serious. It has been on our hearts for many years. It has been a hard, VERY hard decision. But one we know we need to do. The hard part for us has been that we love Victory, the christian school the children have attended. We love the teachers and we love what they stand for. We have made friends, as have our children. However, what God wants for us outweighs what we want for us. And so once again, we step out in faith and trust that He is leading us. I realize there are many that think we are nuts, and we are a little on the nuts side, I admit and we are ok w/ that! I have included a rundown of the questions and remarks I have heard and my feelings. You must know, that because this is what WE have been told to do, does not mean I think it is for everyone. I have many friends w/ children in public school, who love it. And that is great. Many in private, and that is great. We are simply trying to be obedient to what we believe God has told us.

What makes you qualified to be a teacher?

Well, obviously, I don't hold a degree in education. However, I am the mother to Makenna, Sawyer, Malaine and Sage. I know them better than anyone on this earth does. That right there gives me a step above any teacher. Besides, have you looked at a teachers handbook? It says, point to this and say this, hand them this and say that. I am pretty sure I can follow directions.
(I mean no offense to school teachers, I think God calls MANY to be teachers in all sorts of schools and that is great! And i know your job is harder than reading directions! I am talking about the homeschool teacher handbooks!) I have many friends who are wonderful christians teaching in school, which is a huge blessing to many parents I know.

Why not just keep them in a christian school?

We love Victory, which as i said is why we struggled. But the bottom line is, these are MY children. I only get to have them here in my house for 18 years, unless of course they bum off me for a few more after that, but you know what i am saying. Why do I pay someone else to take care of my kids for most of every day? I have struggled with that for years. They get the best part of my kids every day. I get to rush them out of bed, hurry them out the door, then spend the evening doing homework, or being rushed to here or there and then rushing them off to an early bedtime. Yes, there are times when they drive me crazy, many times. But I still love to be w/ them and want to be with them.

Also of course, is the money. We are paying alot of money for them to attend school. We will eventually have 4 (or more?) children to put through that school. Sure we could sell our house and downsize to afford it, but right now we feel God is telling us to save that money, stay put, and bring them home.

Then why not public school it is FREE!

Yes it is. But Mark and I both agree we want our children to have a christian education. Why would we send them to a school to be taught by the state, where they are not allowed to be taught about Jesus? To us, that is the ONLY subject that matters. So is it right to send them to a place where Jesus is not a part of their day, yet try to tell them that He really is more important than math? I often wonder, how many people would send their kids to public school, if you had to pay for it?

What about being salt and light in this world?

We have heard this since our kids were in private school. First, you go where God calls. Second, for those who want their kids out as the light, how many are enrolling their kids in the Muslim schools, or the Buddhist schools? These are children, and we believe that we are training them now to GO when they are older. I think it is important that we are building a strong foundation for our kids and also by being an example to them now.

What about socialization? How will they be around other peers?

First, socialization that is going on at school, is not always the best. I was a kid once! ;) 2nd, we are already planning to enroll into 2 different co-ops. So they will go to class on Thursday and Friday w/ other kids. They will carry a backpack, they will have a lunchbox and eat together. Co-ops are amazing and provide field trips, parties, etc.. We have more chances of social outings there than before. The kids also attend church activities. Funny thing is, Makenna has been in school now since she was 4. She is the least social of my kids, very shy. The others, don't know the meaning of shy and have been in much less school, if any. I believe that God designs children to be the way they are. Be it shy, or social butterfly's. Their school setting is NOT going to change who God made them to be.

Will you churn your own butter and bake your own bread and milk cows?


What does Mark think?

Mark was against homeschooling in the beginning, it was what i wanted to do before they started school. And I have never pushed it at all w/ him. (other things, yes I am pushy about, no doubt!) He read a book called "when you rise up" by RC Sprouls Jr, and he came to me and said, I think God wants us to do this, now, this year, as in school starts in a few weeks and they should stay home. So we prayed and we talked and we got advice from others and we prayed and we cried and we researched and we just finally said, we are doing it.
Mark and I are opposites, obviously. But we both just want to do what God wants. The best thing is, Mark is ready to be very involved in this. He WANTS to teach math. (or he does not trust me maybe?) It will be like having a live in principal! He has been the one doing all kinds of research while I just sat and cried wondering what to do.
(By the way, I know nothing about Sprouls Jr, just read the book. He is kind of radical, but it was the scripture he brought out that spoke to Mark, not the man himself. )

And what do the kids think?

They have always known it is a possibility. I am proud of them, they have been little prayer warriors through this decision also, trying to be still and listen for God's voice. Of course they were sad to think of leaving their friends. But they are excited about the opportunities to. It will be a big adjustment I am sure. But I think they are ready for it. Malaine will still attend pre-school 3 mornings a week.

Great for you, but i could NEVER do that!

Or i don't have the patience, or the discipline or the whatever...
Have you asked God? Have you gone on your knees in desperation of seeking what HE wants for you and your children? If you have, and He has said to homeschool, then you can do it. You might not want to, it might not be easy. But if He speaks, you just have to listen. Life is not about us or what we want, just ask Mark! He thought he wanted 2 kids that would have a free education, and we would just live our little life's however we wanted. Thankfully, he asked, and God showed him all the blessings He had planned for us in life.

In Deuteronomy 6 God commands us to Love Him with all our hearts, to follow His commands. He tells us to impress His ways upon our children's hearts. When we rise up, we we walk, when we lie down. Not just before and after school, but always.

So there you have it, why we are bringing the kids home this year. Again, this is why WE are doing this. I judge no one on their choice for their kids, as I hope no one judges us. Do I think it is going to be perfect? No way! One reason we also decided to rush now was so that we can try to figure out what we are doing before Malaine is ready for kindergarten. We realize this will be a year of adjustment and we will just wade our way through. 4 children, one of them being a spicy girl, it is going to be interesting. So we appreciate your prayers and if you have any help w/ homeschool ideas, send them our way! We are in the process of reasearching the 1 zillion options of teaching that are available. We could take the easy way and just teach them what they have been taught, but you know us better than that! We would not be happy w/ out spending hours looking for what is out there and praying over what is right for us.

Homeschooling, who would have thought?


Anonymous said...

Ray and I are proud of you, and we would be proud of you no matter what decision you made. Homeschooling is a monumental decision, but we believe that you can do it. God Almighty is the God of math, He is the God of Science (Creator and Sustainer of the Universe!), and History is actually His Story and that is just the tip of the iceberg. God bless and keep you all. Ray and Judy

Mom of 5 said...

You CAN so it. You do what is right for you. I honor and admire that in you.

Kathy G'Sell said...

Hey Shannon!

This is your cousin, Kathy. I have been quietly reading (that means leaving no comments) your blog since you brought Sage home from China last year. Anyway, today after reading about your decision to homeschool, I knew I had to leave a comment.

Both of my children (ages now, 20 and 17) have been homeschooled for their whole education. Jeff just graduated from high school in May, and Jamie is starting her second year of college at MBU. She made the dean's list her first semester at MBU! (I just have to brag a bit!)

When both of my children were small, I never thought homeschooling was something I would be doing, but God called our family to be homeschoolers, and to be completely honest, I am so glad He did, because it's been a wonderful journey I wouldn't have wanted to miss for anything!

I don't know if you have any kind of homeschool support group at the moment. But since I have fifteen years of homeschooling experience, if you have any questions about homeschooling, I would be happy to try and answer them. I don't know what curriculum you are planning to use, but I might have some resources that you could use.

My favorite type of curriculum was always unit studies. I loved them because I was able to incorporate my children's personal interests, and found they were more interested in learning when it was something they were actually interested in, and the big bonus was using the public library as my main source of books and information.

I have no doubt your whole family will be blessed with homeschooling. Of course there will be days when you doubt you made the right decision, (isn't that the case in just about anything that's worthwhile). But I speak from experience when I say that the joy and sense of satisfaction you get from teaching your children and watching them learn and discover their world is like nothing else I have ever experienced. Welcome to the world of homeschool!

Be blessed! Kathy G.

the gove family said...

I LOVE how you posted these questions and then the answers! Hee heee hee! You never know about those cows and bread, though...just look at us...I have a llama looking at me!

You are going to do great with this--you have the right attitude and reasons for home schooling...besides, all the cool people are doing it ;)

love you!