Wow. I cannot believe so much time has passed since my last post. But, it was summer and we ALL took a break, from everything. And it was wonderful! I sure did miss writing, but I was trying to soak up every second of summer fun with my sweeties before sending them off to 3rd grade, 1st grade and Pre-K…until things changed.
Petersen and I went to church on a Sunday in late June, and we had a guest speaker. He was from Creation Ministries. Basically, brilliant scientists (BRILLIANT–they have the credentials to prove it) study and examine all forms of science to prove God’s creation. It is incredible. If you have time, check out their website–it is filled with amazing FACTS that will help equip you and your children to defend what we know to be true. That the Holy Bible is not just stories, it is history. Anyhow, in the midst of it, my mind started thinking about our kids and school…
Then on the way home, Petersen and I both began talking about how we are not sure we want our children in the public school system anymore. Before I go any further, can I please just say that I have NOTHING against the teachers in the public school system–I was one! My parents are retired teachers. My family and friends are still teaching! No, this is not about the teachers. Got it? Good.
So, we casually looked into a private Christian school that we have heard great things about and we began to pray. The tuition was extremely reasonable–as private schools go, about $7,500/year. But, multiply that times 5…yeah, we kept praying. Nothing. But, the thought of sending them back to public school was hurting more and more. I wondered, what is going on?? I never had a problem before; we have always had great experiences–awesome teachers and the kids were doing great. What in the world?
It was a Tuesday and Wednesday while I was having my quiet time, and home schooling kept popping into my mind. What? Lord, what? Oh, you want me to pray for my homeschooling Mommy friends? Sure…I am sure they need it, because I could NEVER do that. But, He wouldn’t let me alone about it. I dared not mention it to Petersen–as we have discussed this before. Homeschooling is simply not. for. us. I applauded my friends who did it, but no way, not for me. But, isn’t it awesome how The Lord can change our heart, if we let Him, so that our plan aligns with His? Because really, that is our goal–to follow Him; His leading and His guiding.
After church that Wednesday night, Petersen and I were in the kitchen after getting the kids to bed and he starts with, “So, as I’ve been praying about school and the kids…” and basically lays out how he feels like The Lord has been leading him to homeschooling too…
Chills ran up my neck. I must have looked like a deer in headlights as I stared at him…explaining to him my past two mornings of quiet times. Ok. Now what? Well, I reached out to my amazing friends who have already been doing this and I gleaned from them as much as I could. Thank you!! You all know who you are. Then, I began the process of looking into curriculum.
Wow! There is so much out there! I had no idea. And to make a long story shorter, God began to confirm our new adventure all over and we took the leap of faith and are full on in it. I am teaching 3rd grade, 1st grade and Kindergarten. Bethany misses the cut off for legally being eligible for K by 3 days…and she is ready. So instead of Pre-K, she is jumping into Kindergarten. Lucy and Sarah? They are along for the ride. Lucy very much wants to be included in everything; so she participates as much as possible.
I am going to attempt to answer a few FAQs that I once had as a non-homeschooling Mommy and for the questions I have received since becoming one of those weird hippie families…
1. How are you going to teach 3 grades? I only have 3 students. We are all learning the same history, science, Bible and geography. What each child has to do (assignments) will of course vary according to their grade level. For math; we have math centers. This gives me one on one time with each child to go over their lesson and get them started on their problems, while the other kids are moving around to other math focused centers. The same applies for reading, English and spelling.
2. What about Lucy and Sarah? (My almost 3-year-old and almost 9 month old) They play or they participate with us. And, they nap!
3. What about the rest of the household chores, etc? Three weeks before school started, I taught the kids how to do “big chores.” Clean bathrooms, dust, mop, separate their laundry, etc. Every morning before school starts at 8:30, they do their typical morning chores of making their beds, getting dressed, brushing their teeth and now they have a bigger one too. Meal planning I do while the kids are at recess. I jump onto Southern Savers, make my list and have it ready by Friday for the next week. And, in every extra second I have, I am folding laundry, vacuuming, prepping dinner, making double meals to have one for the freezer, and preparing for the next day. Any and all free time are now gone during the day. No more scrolling mindlessly through fb (waaaaaahhh!)…I will have to start stalking my friends’ pages on the weekends so I don’t miss anything important!
4. Are you going to home school them forever? I don’t know! Doesn’t The Lord tell us not to worry about tomorrow for it is not guaranteed? Yes. And, I have to remind myself that just as quickly as He called us to do this, I have to keep my hand open if He asks us to stop. I used to have a tight grip on my children, but fear crippled me. They are His kids. I just get to be their Mommy. In our minds, this is for the long haul. But, we are going to take it one year at a time.
5. How long does it take you everyday? So far, we go from 8:30 am to 2:45 pm. But, the most beautiful thing so far is that at 2:45 we are DONE for the DAY. No homework. My children grab their suits and jump in the pool for 2 hours. Then, when I tell them it is time to come in to get cleaned up for dinner, they are happy to–because they have had HOURS to PLAY! Oh, this play loving Mommy’s heart is so happy. During school, they work hard. I work them hard. I take this responsibility VERY seriously. This is not play time. I am here to educate them.
6. Are they going to have social time? Yes. Trust me, they have lots of social time everyday with each other. But, it really is amazing as I have recently learned just how much homeschooling has changed over the years. There is so much available now; groups, co-ops, etc. There are more opportunities to get together with other kids/families–we could never do it all! I believe it is true in that it takes a village. And while my kids were in pre-school, I felt like I was connected to and knew my “village.” But, as the kids moved on to grammar school, I started to feel more and more separated. It was no one’s fault, just our family circumstances made it hard to be a part of the kids’ classes on a regular basis. So, I didn’t know their classmates; I didn’t know their parents. You want to have a play date with who? Um, no. I do not even know who that is. Sorry. A group that we are joining this year is so wonderful. They have all the fun stuff of school, field trips, Father/Daughter dances, mother/son camp outs, a fall hoedown, field day, etc, and the whole family is invited/included. I am going to get to know the families of my kids’ friends. Ahhhh, this is exciting. All this to say yes! They are going to have plenty of time to socialize with their buddies.
That gets us to our first week…oh the anticipation! We all were so very excited!!! The night before came. I had been working tirelessly everyday
Hannah was in tears before the day even began because she was so excited about seeing all her new goodies, she neglected cleaning one of the bathroom counters (and, yes I made her come do it). Samuel cried because I moved his clip down for whining about having to write 4 sentences for his morning seat work. Bethany was crying because her belly all of a sudden hurt (What!?! You were fine yesterday!!) And Lucy cried because Bethany looked at her wrong. Sarah….nope. She didn’t cry. Yay!! I had one survive!! At one point, Hannah looked at me and said, “This isn’t the best first day of school Mommy, everyone is crying.” No kidding.
But, in the midst of all that, I saw the beauty in it. I was with my children–who are already older than I’d like. And now I know exactly what they are being taught. I feel like we have just side-stepped off the hamster wheel. And it feels so good. Especially for us as a large family, this is so fitting. It frees us up in so many ways. I wanted so badly to be involved in my kids classes, but with little ones it was nearly impossible. We would love property–this now frees us up to live anywhere. No longer bound by school zones. My husband now gets good time with the kids at the end of the day. Whereas before, they were exhausted and cranky from being at school all day, then laboring over more homework. Also, we do “school” 4 days a week. The off day is for either co-op, a field trip or exploring. Today was our exploring day…hence a little time to write.
Often times, we want to take the kids into the country and escape the madness of the world and live under a rock to shelter them. But, we are not trying to create kids oblivious to the world. Maybe my life isn’t about being a world changer; but we want to create world changers. I am already looking forward to the day when the kids are older and in the mornings before we start our studies for the day, we are drinking coffee together reading the newspaper and discussing current events. Yes, I have high hopes…
There are going to be good days and bad. And I am quite confident that I have no idea what I am getting myself into. But do we ever know, really, when we are starting a new adventure what it is actually going to be like? I submit no. Because if we did, where would the adventure be? I am going to make many mistakes, many, I know that. But, I sure do love these students of mine and before I know it they are going to be gone. We do not want to miss a moment or ever regret not taking this leap of faith. So, we are off! And we are excited to see where The Lord takes our family from here!!
Here’s a few pictures from our first week!! Pray we survive week 2! Ha!
Blessings sweet Mamas!!