It’s not often that I get out of bed at 5 a.m. And its not often that I do so with tears streaming down my face. My heart is in a delicate place. It has been for some time. Somewhere between absolutely relieved, and mournful. Convicted. I’m not sure it will get better for a while, and I’m not sure that I want or need it to.
There are pros and cons to every single situation we will ever choose for our children. There’s a constant fear that we’re making the wrong choice. That we’re screwing them up so that hours and thousands spent on counseling will never be enough. That we’re ruining their lives.
Let me be very clear in this: This is one of the hardest moves we have ever made. When it comes down to it, we’ve made the choice that we feel is best for our family.
Deep breath… We have chosen to homeschool.
Once upon a time, I scoffed at homeschoolers. I was overly opinionated on a subject matter I knew absolutely nothing about. I disagreed with the idea that someone would openly choose not to mainstream their children, and clung to stereotypes. This is what homeschooling was to me.
And then I became a parent.
As a parent, one learns quickly to never say never. Ever. It was before I considered what these families are actually doing and when you really think about it, it’s quite amazing. In general, when it came down to it, their ideals threatened me. This was simply because I didn’t take the time to try and understand them.
For a while, I’ve known that God was pulling us. He’s gently planted a seed, and that seed grew. I ignored Him, refusing to explore the option, using cop-outs and excuses. “I could never homeschool. People will die and I will be a Nancy Grace celebrity. We will never make it. I don’t have time. They will stay at 1st grade level forever. We don’t live on a farm and make our own clothes. (Even though maybe I wish we did-shhhh) Did I mention we will all die?” and finally, “I have a career to tend to, after all.” I swatted at the idea like a fly that keeps buzzing in my ear. Throwing out excuses without ever seriously considering it.
But these past few weeks, that slightly obnoxious fly went from a tiny annoyance, to feeling like Jacob when he wrestled with an angel.
Ever since Aiden started Kindergarten, something felt off to me, as a mother. That’s called my instincts. It’s a gift, intensified when it comes to parents and their children. I’ve realized you can only make excuses for those instincts for so long.
So yesterday, we went to the school and after meeting with the principal, removed them from the magnet program. We wanted to do it the right way. Even though we’re not sure that there is a protocol. This is the hardest thing we have ever done, as parents. We cried like babies together, with the principal, with teachers. People who have loved our oldest for two years now, and who have formed a relationship with his siblings already loving them, as well. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been crying for ten days, and that’s-I wasn’t prepared for the emotion that would come with this, even though this was a perfectly thought out, rational decision. I don’t know when it will get better. I hope it will. But I think this is the part where we get to feel horrible and doubt everything. I think there will be lots of that.
Sometimes, you have to say no to a perfectly good option, so you can say yes to what really is best for your family.
We’ve never experienced such an exercise of faith.
I was watching my oldest son as he started to lose that spark in his eye when it comes to his love for learning. There is nothing more distressing when it comes to their education. We want more than anything, for our children to have that lifelong passion, and we feel like it’s most important for them in their early years. We can give that back to them.
Their hearts and minds are ready. I’m ready to meet that need.
I was waking them up, shuttling them to school, picking them up at the end of the day, and forcing exhausted children through two hours of homework, each. Then baths. And bed.
We stepped back, and realized this wasn’t a part of our vision for our family.
The most startling realization, was that if we were looking for something to change in our lives, it truly was up to us to take that first step. It always is. This is a lifestyle change and a chance to mold and rethink and explore. To bring God back into our curriculum and learning into every situation. To strengthen our family.
We’ve been amazed and floored by the amount of support we’ve received from total strangers, friends and family. The incredible support system that we already have, and God-sent details that we can’t possibly begin to cover, simply astound us.
In the course of one week, I have spoken to numerous teachers and parents. I’ve asked hundreds of questions, buried myself in a plethora of books and websites. But the singlemost statement that made me really think about this was from a mother and retired teacher when she said this to me: “You won’t have this time with them, forever.”
I looked at the things that were holding us back, and realized that my list of cons was shrinking. I would regret not trying something new with my children, more than the possibility of falling flat on my face.
When He places something so very clear in your life… when He does something that is absolutely spelled out for you, even if it’s your very worst fear that you will fail, or that you’re not enough, just because it goes against the grain of the “norm”… because trust me, we are terrified… what do you do? Because I’m not enough. I will fail. We fail every day as parents.
God has literally pushed us off a cliff, going full speed. And I know that He’s going to show us how to fly.
We’re scared to death. But we aren’t making this choice as a last-ditch option. It will be a year-to-year, prayerful process. We are also so very excited about meeting our children’s needs, working with them one on one, growing our bond, and educating them as a family. It’s part of the revolution in our home that we are so thrilled about.
via A Place for Us
Let me strongly emphasize this… your children’s education: it’s so different for everyone. Situations are different for everyone. School is an amazing place. I’m not shunning it for others at all, or for us, or forever. We adore the teachers, and principal. This is part of what has made our choice so hard. We respect their careers and we cherish them as people. We can’t thank them enough for all that they do, continue to do, and have done for our children and others. It’s a sacrifice and a calling for them, as well. I admire them so much. That is an entirely different post all on it’s own, and honestly, this would be so much easier if they were terrible people. We love them.
But we know that we’re doing what’s best for our family, right now.
This is a lifestyle change for us, so it will take time. I will fall flat on my face, and I will have days where I feel like the most amazing mom ever. Maybe. Let’s hope for lots of the latter. I know there’s a whole online community out there, and there truly is strength in numbers. We hope to connect with some of you. I almost wrote something about DIY-ing our children’s education. The pun is probably not lost on you. But that would be wrong, since God is the foundation, the core, and our biggest step of faith right now with our family. We look forward to re-defining who our family is, in the process.
Here we go. Off the cliff.