Yes, there is something I haven’t told you. Something I have been doing in secret:
I have been homeschooling with my daughter this year.
Most of you are probably saying, “So? I thought you WERE a homeschooler.”
Well, I never thought I would be. Growing up, I never knew a homeschooler that could spell, much less hold a decent conversation with someone. As a Children’s Pastor I could spot the homeschoolers a mile away. They stuck out–and not always in a good way.
Lydia is only 4, so this homeschooling isn’t official, doesn’t take several hours and isn’t very detailed. It’s just a preschool test to see what we’ll be doing when kindergarten comes next fall.
Is it ok if I talk this schooling journey out with you? I need a little advice and maybe some perspective from some like-minded friends! Here we go…
When Lydia was 2 and everyone started putting their kids in preschool or Mother’s Morning Out, friends would ask me, “Are you putting Lydia in school?” And I was shocked. She’s a baby! And I’m a stay-at-home-mom! Why would I pay money to let someone else make a craft with her?
When she was 3, more questions about Lydia’s schooling. Why wasn’t she going to school? I just didn’t feel like it was necessary. I mean, I stay home for a reason. I want to influence my daughter. But I also want to hang out with her.
Now that she’s 4, I’m assuming most people wonder what in the world I’m doing by not letting her go to school. After all, when she hits kindergarten won’t it be a shock? Going to school for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? Yes. It will.
During these last 2 years my heart has been slowly changing. Or maybe it’s never changed and my priorities have. I’m not fearful of a public school. I started going to daycare when I was 6 weeks old. I went to kindergarten with the same public school kids I graduated with. I never “rebelled” or turned away from God. School wasn’t my thing. Church is where my friends were. It was my life. Raising a Godly kid in a public school? It can be done–and it happens all the time!
So, it’s not the fear that my kids will learn about evolution as truth or have church history glossed over. It’s more about my priorities. I don’t want my daughter getting on a bus at 6:45am and not getting home until 4pm. I don’t want her to come home, eat dinner and go to bed. I want her best friend to be her brother–not a kid at school. I want her to be familiar with the library, not a school cafeteria. I want to teach her Bible verses without worrying that she’s already got too much other stuff to memorize for school.
There are some lessons to be learned in school. Like how to get along with people you don’t like. How to stand in line and hang up your backpack in the right spot. How to do things you don’t want to do. How to learn on your own. How to appreciate others differences. How to see the distinction between your values and another’s.
And there’s the basic fitting in with others. If 90% of people go to public/private school, then 90% of the people you’ll deal with as an adult went to public/private school. They are coming from the same background. Sometimes it’s nice just to understand those around you!
So, I’ve been at a crossroads. Or maybe a dilemma. Or maybe I’m just wishy washy. I can’t figure out what I want. Or what’s more important.
This year I decided to dip my toes in the world of homeschooling. I bought a little curriculum book called Five in a Row. It’s basically what I have always done with Lydia—you read a book a week and do daily activities about it. Only these activities focus on science, art, literature, etc. It’s super easy and actually really fun. Of course, I’ve been adding a memory verse to each lesson and it’s been fun to make these lessons have a Christian world-view.
But does that make me want to homeschool full-time? I don’t know.
This week I’ve been looking into private Christian schools in the area—especially the ones that have half-day kindergarten. I’ve also found a school that does 2 day a week at school and 3 days at home. School is going to be a shock to our little family…I just want to find the shock that will be worth it!
This morning as I was reading my Bible (#hellomornings!) and found this verse:
Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me
And it hit me. This is not about ME figuring out what’s BEST for MY daughter and MY family. I need to ask God to show me HIS ways for our family, to teach me HIS paths for the schooling of my kids and to guide me in HIS truth about what my kids need and where they will thrive. I need God to teach ME and not worry so much about who will teach my kids. Regardless of where my daughter is on her first day of kindergarten, God’s already been there. He is preparing her teachers (even if it’s me), her friends (even if I’ve never met any of them) and He’s been preparing her.
I’m praying this verse as we decide what to do. I’m praying this verse as I call administrators and tour schools. And I believe God is true to His Word. I believe He’ll lead us. I’m excited to see where we end up!