When I was pregnant with Jamie I began with my own education... an education that continues to the present day and God willing will continue until I am called home. I am pretty passionate about knowing my choices... about everything. In this season of life I am particularly passionate about choices in parenting, food and education (and the birth process, however my ideas on that have changed a bit, but that is a really long post, one that I might not write). I just really want to know what the options are. I am always asking the questions to myself "Do I have to do it that way?" "Is there a different way?" "Is there a way that brings peace to my family?" I truly enjoy reading research, knowing statistics and mostly hearing other people's real life stories.
So... when I began reading about different parenting styles and listened to other families' stories I was pretty sure I knew how I wanted to do things when Jamie popped out. But that "way" brought anxiety and sadness into my heart. It went against every instinct God has placed inside me. So I pressed on with my education and began to find a lot of research that backed up my instincts. I found a lot of data that told me I was on the right track by following my heart. I found other families parenting the same way and it felt good. It brought peace to my family. But for the months I was wrestling with the "right" way to care for my baby I was quite miserable.... in a constant conundrum really. I have a deep passion to give the very best to our son. I am CONSTANTLY thinking and rethinking the choices I make for him. I well up with emotion when I think about his future. I ache to provide him with every possible opportunity to his benefit. I have a very short time to influence who he will be. I regularly ask God to give me wisdom in this. It is my job to provide the foundation for Jamie to be who God has made him to be. That is a monumentally overwhelming task.
Now that it is time to make decisions about his education I have the same exact feelings as I did when he was a baby. Sitting here thinking back to his infancy I don't think that I ever thought I would put him school, in a traditional sense... but I'm not sure. I kind of have memories of daydreaming about him going to kindergarten, so perhaps I was considering it at one point. However my innermost desire has been to homeschool him... but why? That is a fantastic question. One that I ask myself on a regular basis. I think the answer to that question is very telling... telling as to wether or not I am doing this for the "right" reasons. So here we go...
First of all I will say that my general statement on homeschooling as changed a bit. When people ask "how long are you going to do that?"... (which really super reminds of the "uhhh so how long are going to keep nursing him?") I now say "As long as it works for our family." Which, coincidentally, is also the answer to the nursing question. Previously I would have answered "through high school"... NOT TO THE NURSING!!!! HA! But I have learned many, many, many lessons in the past few years, one of the big ones being "never say never, or forever for that matter." Right now Jamie does not want to go to school, nor do I want him to go to school. That may change one day, maybe next year, maybe in middle school, maybe in high school, maybe never. I don't know. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. I do have strong opinions on where he would go to school, but that too, is neither here nor there. Alright with that said I'm just going to go ahead a bullet out the reasons why we currently homeschool our son. The first reason I will list is definitely the biggest and most important reason, but the reasons I list there after are not necessarily in any particular order...
- There is one thing, and only one thing I will go to the ends of the earth for my son to have and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I do not think that I could do that as well if he spent the majority of his days away from home, especially at such a tender age. I am not saying I could not do it if he were in school. I am saying it would be more difficult.
- I have spent enough time working in the public school system to know, that if I have a choice in the matter, I would rather Jamie not be educated in that setting. I have also read a lot of information about the current state of the public school system in this country and I do not like what is happening in our schools today. I believe that public school would not serve Jamie's best interests at this time. It would not bring me peace for him to attend school in that setting. And of course I speak for Jamie and our family... no one else. There may be a time when we have no choice, but to put him in public school. I will have to learn to accept that and adjust our lives accordingly if that is what is laid before us. (Incidentally, I personally loved school... all 13 years of my public school education. Well, I will clarify, I loved the academic part, not the social part.
- Let's get real... I would miss him too much! I'm not sure if this has to do with the fact that I am infertile and our daughter passed away or not. But Jamie and I have such beautiful days together and in a moment they will be only a memory. Maybe I'm too selfish to let him go to school where his teacher would get the best part of his day?????
- When I spend hours upon hours planning our days out, reading and researching different homeschooling philosophies... I have this insane peace come over me. I feel God speaking to me, telling me "this is right." "This is good." "This is what I want." I can't really prove that with research and data!
- I want Jamie to learn at his own pace. I want to carefully observe his interests and let him take off with them. I want to give him time to finish what he is engaged in and not stop him because the clock says its time. That is not possible if he is one of 25 children in a classroom in public or private school.
- I want to be aware of who his friends are. Of what they are speaking about. Of how they are treating each other. I have seen Jamie be "not so sweet" to children on the playground. I have been able to intervene immediately and take that moment to teach him and remind him of how Jesus teaches us to treat one another. I can quickly relate his behavior to a memory verse or Bible story we have been studying. And in these moments he learns. I know he learns because days later he will reference those times and show me that he has an understanding. And of course I want to protect him. I want him to learn to answer questions confidently about his faith. I want him to know who he is in Christ before he is away from me for most of his day. He is too little to do that now.
- I love, love, love what he is learning. And I am learning so much too. We are learning together and I just find that really special.
- And now for some silly reasons... I love going places when no one is there. Empty playgrounds, empty Wegman's, empty beaches, vacationing at slow times of the year. I love being able to pick up and do whatever, whenever. I love not rushing around in the morning, but taking time to ease into the day. I just cherish not being tied to a schedule. I like having to think, hard sometimes, when I wakeup about what day it is.
- Oh and I do have a master's degree in education. So as my dear husband says "I might as well use it for something!"
Golly day, I was intending on discussing various homeschool philosophies in this post too, but this one just went on too long and I am tired.
Until next time... when I will write about the philosophical side!!!