Monday, July 9, 2012

"Judge Not" and other words I have eaten

I have a confession to make.

If you are a home schooler, I have judged you.  I can think of exactly 3 people I know who did or do homeschool where I thought "That is absolutely the best idea for you and your family!".

Some of you have probably heard me make the following statements:

*Yes, but what about the lack of socialization?  Learning to deal with peers and difficult situations is part of the traditional school experience!

*I don't understand anyone who would choose to live in [fill in the name of a town that has extremely high taxes relative to the surrounding towns] and NOT use the schools!!

*The kids I know who were homeschooled were just weird.

*I'm a public school teacher.  I believe if the system isn't working for your child, you need to work with the teachers to come up with a plan that will work for everyone.

*I've had so many amazing experiences that I couldn't have had anywhere but a traditional school setting. 

*My kids are exposed to my weaknesses all the time.  I like the idea of them having a variety of teachers who present the world to them in a way that's different from what I do.

I did hedge my bets a little.  Many years ago I decided that if I ever needed to, I could and would do it.  If I ever had a child who simply could not thrive in a traditional school setting.  It has only been in the last 3 years that I have come around to the idea that maybe there is something to the idea of homeschooling a child.  Part of it is having a child who does not fit the mold that like it or not is there for a public school student.  It's a large mold and supposedly fits all, but like most things marked one size fits all, sometimes it just doesn't work for you.  I have one of those kids.

The other thing that has helped my decision is that the world of secular homeschoolers has become a bigger and better place.  I know people who homeschool because they want to protect their children from the evils of the world and I can certainly understand that.  There are genuinely scary things out there that our kids get bombarded with on a regular basis.  But I don't think the world is evil.  There are so many good and beautiful things that my children and learned and experienced in school.  I am very grateful for those and the incredible teachers, volunteers, and administration who have helped that happen.

I will be homeschooling Caleb this year.  He still loves school and has happy and positive feelings about it.  That's part of the reason we are doing this now.  We wanted to catch him before school got too hard and the experiences became less positive and the teachers less able (because of the needs of the other students in the classroom and the curriculum they must teach) to help Caleb with some of his difficulties in learning.  The other boys will continue on in a traditional educational setting, and we hope to eventually put Caleb back into public school.  In the meantime, we are going to work hard to get him caught up in areas that he has been struggling with since he started public school three years ago.

Caleb has had AMAZING teachers all three years he's been in public school.  Those women practically designed a whole curriculum specifically for him and were endlessly bending over backwards to help him with all that he needed.  I can not say enough good things about them and their dedication to their callings as teacher, not to mention the love that they showed to him.  I firmly believe that they loved him through school to this point and that's why he still feels warmly about it.

I spent much of this year hemming and hahing about whether to do go ahead and withdraw him from school.  It wasn't until I had positive confirmation from his psychologist, a psycho-educational evaluation from another psychologist, and my husband suddenly felt more strongly about me homeschooling than going back to work sooner rather than later, that everything came together and I felt like I needed to go ahead with it.

I am grateful that we are able to do this-That I am still home and able to give Caleb the one on one attention that he needs.

Here goes the next adventure in life!


Susan said...

Though home schooling isn't a choice we ever made, believe me, I have been through enough of those "eat my words" moments to really empathize. I often marvel at how, for those open to it, God leads us to the right choice at the right moment.

And BTW, I largely shared your reservations about home schooling. But then one of my close friends had a special daughter who really needed to be home schooled for a few years. And after those few years, she transitioned seamlessly, painlessly back into one of our Worthington high schools. And is now thriving in college.

I am sure you and Caleb will have wonderful adventures together. Enjoy the ride!

Mom24 said...

Parenting is such a humbling journey, isn't it? I know you will do a great job and that it's the best thing for Caleb. Good luck with it.

I would love to be able to homeschool J&J, I think there's never been a better time to do it.

bseymour said...

I commend you. I know that was not an easy choice.

Lara McElderry said...

wow. that's gonna be hard. and AWESOME!! you are truly one talented lady. Caleb is in good hands.

Valerie said...

Awesome! Did you now I was homeschooled? I laughed when I started reading your blog post because, in colleg,e whenever a professor found out I had been homeschooled they were absolutely surprised! Because I was normal. There are some of us out there that give homeschooling a bad name! I certainly agree that the homeschooling community is much larger and more educated now a days. Good luck!

Emilia said...

Valerie, I did know that. And I remember when I found out thinking that you were surprisingly normal. See?? I'm bad and judgmental. *sigh* I'm working on it.

Abby Bowman said...

What a big decision. But when things fall into place, sometimes you just know. :) I sincerely hope that this will be what Caleb needs to help him be as successful as he can be. And I hope you have what you need to do it! I am on the fence about homeschooling my own children for all of the reasons you listed in this post. I'll have to pick your brain after you've gotten into it a little bit!

Abby Bowman said...
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Heather Snediker-Morscheck said...

I think you will be wonderful as a homeschool teacher. And we will happily socialize the bejayzuss out of that boy for you.

Anne Marie said...

Oh darling, it sounds like you have put so much thought into your decision. Caleb is one lucky boy! Best wishes with it all.

Kensie said...

I was wondering after seeing some Pinterest pins if this was in the plans. I used to definitely judge homeschoolers and before I did it myself, I would have said I was the LAST person to ever make that choice. However, we are coming up on our 4th year of homeschooling and it is right for us and I love it! I know there were a lot of people who thought we were crazy when we made that choice, but everybody has different children and different lives. Enjoy your special time with Caleb and good luck!