Friday, March 23, 2012

47. If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.

I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Homeschooling the two of you has been the grandest adventure of my life so far.

Funny how God prepares you for these paths. For these paths that you never think you will be walking.

I started out a pre-law major - I really wanted to be a lawyer. I took classes toward that goal for my first two years of college - and then, it just didn't sit right. I have loved to teach since I was in elementary school - lining up all my dolls for daily classes. 

So, I changed my major to education. I majored in middle grades education. Throughout college I worked as a nanny - helping other people raise their children. From those experiences I learned about balancing - the value of hearing someone's first word or seeing their first step. It was those experiences that led me to wanting to stay home with the two of you during your early years. 

My first teaching job was in an elementary school teaching 6th grade. I also worked in the after school program supervising children from pre-k to 6th grade every afternoon. These afternoons taught me about teaching younger grades as I helped the children daily with their homework and remediation. 

We moved out to this rural area the year Sweet Daddy and I were married, and the following year Sweet Daddy and  I started teaching locally. We wanted to be a part of the school systems that future children of ours would attend. 

Then you, my dear Pumpkin, were born. I could never imagine being away from you. I literally held you for a year. And, no, I don't advise that! And after Pumpkin, came Bubbe. 

Then came years that were a blur - there were diapers, and crying, learning your alphabet, and crying, stroller rides and crying. Yes, there was a lot of crying those first few years. But also lots of joy. 

And, then God took us through many turns to get us to this homeschooling journey. 

I thought I would share with each of you what I wrote on July 20th, 2009 -  about hearing God laugh......

I love the old saying "If you wanna hear God laugh, tell Him your plans."

I love it, until it applies to me.

The 2009 - 2010 school year was going to be the year for ME. I was considering applying for a college position (would love to teach those remedial math classes....). M was going to be away at school all day again. X was going to kindergarten - four, four hour days - the most anyone has ever been away from home. I was retiring from in home childcare. My days were going to be filled with volunteering, answering my posts with a cup of hot tea in silence, walks with friends, did I mention silence?

In the spring, DH and I began to think about school decisions for the fall. While M had a great year in many aspects.....we just weren't sure that public school would be the right fit for her for second grade.

She had made great strides in first grade and had a great teacher.

One day as we were swimming in the pool (love SUMMER!), we had this conversation:

Me: "How did you like VBS today at church?"

M: "It was great."

Me: "What was your favorite part?"

M: "I LOVED the science experiments."

Me: "So is science your favorite subject at school?"

M: "It's going to be in 3rd grade when it is on the CRCT. That is when we get to do it a lot."


Perhaps if her mother had not written a 30+ page paper on the evils of standardized testing as her master's thesis - these comments might go unnoticed.

Throughout the summer as DH and I prayed about what decision to make for her this fall, she continued to make comments about how important the state standardized test is.

M: "X - when you are in first grade you are going to take the CRCT. You will learn a lot of math for it."

She also expressed concerns about going back to school. She was nervous.

As we were praying, and considering homeschooling her (as our checkbook only allows for free education), God kept throwing people in my path who home school. We met two families at a birthday, dined next to a homeschooling family at Moe's, learned about groups from a woman at scrapbooking, .......God is persistent.

We began to think about our family - its schedule, and what would be best for us as a whole. I realized that this summer we were so much calmer, connected.

For me, the biggest concern was how disconnected we had become from M during her year at public school. Her world was new place. I volunteered weekly, lunched often, attended any event that they would let me. I knew her world. I still felt disconnected - from my own little girl.

I kept thinking we would try public school one more year. Then, pull her before 3rd grade (a great testing year - two big tests in the same year).

God laughed.

and laughed.

and was persistent continually dropping those breadcrumbs.

My other big concern was that I wanted her to a regular kid - have a great childhood filled with all things make being a kid fun. If we chose to keep her home and educate her here, would she miss out on recess, lunch in the cafeteria, field day, father/daughter dances, yearbooks and more? Would we be choosing her education over her childhood?

I finally realized (thank you dear friends who listen to me ramble) that I was at peace with keeping her home, but not at peace with sending her to school next year. Hello .....there's your sign!

I also finally realized that she is more of a kid here at home than at school in a desk.

So, for now, we have decided that we will pray each year, about each child - and listen.

For this year, it means that M will be home schooled, and X will go to kindergarten at the church.

and for this year, I will *TRY* not to tell God my plans....and listen for His.

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