Feb. 2nd, 2011

mommydama: (Default)
The girls have been very ticked off because the kids in the neighborhood have had the last two days off of school because of super cold weather and they, because we homeschool, have not had the last two days off of school. They find this very unfair and asked, again, why they can't go to school. Despite the obvious inconsistency of this desire, I decided to answer them. Then I thought I should write this down for posterity. I want anyone who reads this to understand that NONE OF THESE REASONS mean I am judging others for sending their children to school. These are MY reasons and the reason I gave my children that I thought they could best understand. Decisions about one's childrens' educations are very complicated and very personal.

Why we homeschool (not in order of importance):

1. I wanted my children to have the freedom of time. I think it is sad that children spend seven to eight hours a day in school, and that doesn't even include the travel there and back. I knew I could teach them what they needed to know academically in a much shorter amount of time and, especially in the early years, allow them a lot of free time to play and explore. I think we have succeeded in this area.

2. I wanted my children to have the freedom of exploration. If they develop a keen interest in something I want them to be able to chase rabbit trails to their hearts content without anyone telling them to get back on task and without being judged by their peers. I did not want them to hear the words "That is for girls" or "That is for boys" or "That is for babies" until they were old enough and strong enough to combat that. I think we have succeeded in this area.

3. Having a father in the U.S. military means we move. A LOT. Every 18 mos-3yrs. Before we had children, time and again I ran into kids who were in remedial or special education situations, not because they had LDs, but because they had skill gaps. Every school district and every state has different curriculum and guidelines. Children are who move a lot miss a lot. I knew I could give them a consistency in their educations that would, hopefully, not only give them the tools they need to succeed academically and in real life, but give them the confidence to know they could. I think we are succeeding in this area.

4. I have strong opinions on education. I developed these opinions during my college years (BA in psychology, all electives in child development), as well as shortly after working in education fields (testing center for soldiers, resource room and special ed rooms in middle schools) and doing research on homeschooling. I wanted my kids to benefit from my knowledge and opinions. It became obvious, very early on, due to moving often and the fact that my opinions are not mainstream, that finding schools that taught this way was going to be virtually impossible. So my only option was to do it myself. Classical education at home it is. I think we are succeeding in this area.

5. When we left the Hogar Rafael Ayau in Guatemala with our 2yo daughter, Maria, Mother Inez, the woman "in charge", held me at arms length, looked me in the eyes and said, "Hold her close. You people in America send your kids out into the world so early. It is bad. Keep her home, keep her safe." She was a huge proponent of homeschooling and made that clear from day one. I took this advice and warning to heart. I will keep my kids close and protect them for as long as I can and until I think they are strong enough to deal with the world. It is a scary place to me. I want to build my children's spiritual and emotional muscles so they can take it on. I don't know if we are succeeding in this area. Certainly, my children are close. But due to circumstances, they are not as protected as I would like. I am learning to trust God with that one.

6. I worked HARD to be a parent. I waited a long time. I see my kids as the greatest gift and blessing I could ever be given and want to spend every moment I can with them. I do, indeed, begrudge every moment they spend away from me. I hate missing any new discovery, anything new they learn. I know I have to let them go, little by little, as they grow older. I try hard not to be a clinger. But I also want to cherish and experience as much as possible with them. So this final reason for homeschooling is purely of the heart and, perhaps, even a little selfish. I just want to be with my kids for this short time I have with them. It is SO short. It is going so fast. They are already growing away from me and spending more and more time with others as they get older. That is how it should be. But as long as I can, I want to be with them for anything possible. Homeschooling is a way to do that. I think we are succeeding in this area.

There are more reasons. There is more I could say. But this is essentially what I told my girls. They all smiled, kissed and hugged me, and said they were glad to be here at home with me. Maybe they are missing some things by being here. Maybe they are gaining some things by being here. All I can do is the best with what I've been given. This is my choice for now. Lord, have mercy on us all.

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mommydama

January 2012

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