Friday, August 20, 2010

Old School?

I am a product of several education systems. My mom stayed home with my brother and me and pre-schooled us up until it was time for us to go to Kindergarten. I spent grades K-3 in a private elementary school, and then grades 4-12 in our (very good) public school system. I then spent 5 years studying in a Christian university. (this one!) I loved school, honestly. I didn't like all the drama of (middle and high) school, but I loved getting good grades. I loved hanging out with my friends. I loved going to activities like dances and pep rallies and field trips and sports events. I loved school.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would question our cultural norm of sending my kids to school. It is so socially accepted that it must be THE right thing to do, right? I assumed so...until I had my own children, that is.

When I had Lawson, Jon and I agreed that I would stay home with him. Naturally, when Jordan came along Lawson and I just had another playmate at home. I'm not gonna lie, there are days when I feel like I am going crazy. There are days that I want to pull my hair out then go lay in my bed (where it's quiet) all day! But those days are infrequent and, for the most part, spending every day of my babies' lives with them has been one of life's biggest blessings for me.

I cannot even describe the feeling I have because I am privileged to see them grow and develop. I love to see their eyes light up when they discover something new or understand something they have been trying to learn. I love watching them play together and laugh with each other. It truly makes my day.

When Lawson turned 4, I started thinking about the day that he would one day go to Kindergarten. It kind of make me sick to my stomach! I hated the thought that he would (in less than 2 years) be spending the majority of his time with someone I didn't even know. Someone who could be the most fabulous teacher ever...or...someone who was waiting around for retirement. Someone who might like my child...or...not like my child, and definitely could not love my child the way Jon and I do. But definitely someone who would then have more time with, and also more influence on, my children.

At age 4 Lawson knew all his letters and numbers, colors; he could count and start telling me sounds. He loved to sing and knew Bible stories. He had tons of friends at church, and played with them just fine. He was already smart. For the first time ever, I began to think about keeping my kids home from school and home-schooling them. I mean, up until then, they had already been home-schooled, right? And of course, true to form with me, the doubt then started creeping in.

In our society, it seems that almost as soon as someone has a baby, they are immediately looking for some sort of daycare of mother's morning out or preschool, and inquiring about at what age they can start taking their child there. To put them in "school." To have a break. To get some of their "me" time back. So they can go to the grocery store alone. And even if parents don't utilize a preschool program, most moms long for the day their kids go to school.

I just never felt those things. Yes, there are days that I want a break, but Jon has always been so great about giving me chances to get out, and then he gets time to be with the kids too! I really feel that God has given these children to us to raise up in Him, and handing a 5-year-old over to a school system to raise just doesn't seem right to me.

Anyways, for the past 2 years, I have been in a mental battle trying to decide what the right schooling choice for our family would be. I didn't really want to home-school, but every time I tried to justify just sending him to school I couldn't. If I kept him home with me, would he feel like he was "missing out" on what the other kids do? Would I be cheating him out of something? I have been mulling over this for two years, without giving any thought to correlating it to our journey to the mission field. In fact, at that time we had only just begun to talk about talking about missions.

This summer was the time to make the decision. Time for Kindergarten. I had to choose between what I "wanted" to do, and what my heart just kept insisting was the right thing for our family to do. We chose to home-school. So far it is going great! Lawson and Jordan are both loving their schoolwork. We have been on a couple field trips with our home-school group. Our family schedule hasn't been disrupted.

Looking back, I can see how this whole thing was another way God was preparing me for the journey we are about to go on. While we are in Honduras, I will be home-schooling the kids so that when we return to the US they will still be on pace academically. Why not take this last year before we go to spend our time doing things we love to do as a family and not living the crazy schedule that is the life of "school"?

By now you are probably thinking, "When is she going to start learning the "Trust God" lesson? I'm working on, I tell you! For now, this is just one more thing for me to scribble in the "If you do what God's telling you to do, He will work things out for you" column!

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