My little ladies are now official homeschool kids! I’ve been trying to come up with the words on this post for weeks so here goes. As many of our friends are getting their kiddos ready for their first day Thursday, so are we. Ours just looks differently this year and hopefully from now on. I will say, it’s the most liberating feeling to take complete ownership of your children’s lives from inside the home to their education. I’ve learned so much over the last year of researching all things homeschool until my eyes would glaze over.
I want to preface this by saying we were beyond blessed by our rural school district. It’s where me and the last four generations of my family attended and then enrolled our own there. The girls have had a wonderful education thus far and the most amazing educators. Our decision to homeschool was not because of where they were currently going. Then why leave? Let me start here…..
Over the last year I’ve felt a tug on my heart and a twinge of sadness with how quickly time has passed. I’m still in disbelief that we now have a fourth AND first grader. My babies are no longer babies and it really has taken a toll on me in thinking that we have already had paisley for 1/2 the time most kids live inside the home. In 9 more years, she could quite possibly be on her own. As cliche as it sounds, it’s as if I blinked and both of them have grown up. I can’t slow time, but I can change the time we do have. I miss my kids. So much. I shared in this post last week about a book I recently read that changed my life. And it was the final push I needed to go all the way with it. I know this might seem “weird” to some or “what’s the big deal about having them in school?” but I’ve never been normal and I don’t want them to be like everyone else.
I am in no way saying that public school screws us up or that I’m trying to be self righteous about homeschool. Matter of fact, I’m eating my words because I used to be complete opposite and anti-homeschool. This is a personal family choice that we have taken a lot of time to think and pray on. I’m floored by all I’ve learned in the last year of researching all of the ways to do this. It’s limitless.
Another reason is, well, the world. I know we can’t shelter our kids from everything, but I can raise them the best I can and in our home so they can be better equipped to handle what the world will inevitably throw at them. I have control of what they can and can’t be exposed to unlike school. I’ve heard everything from “I can’t keep them in a bubble” to “they won’t be well socialized” or “they will miss out on so much” that it’s become white noise. I also believe that kids should get to be kids and not be conditioned to the ways of the world. Every time you turn around it’s something on TV with gender rolls or sexualized adolescence and unfortunately, that seeps into school systems. (again, not our school or state even-but just in general) Raising them best we can is our top priority and we fail often but this was something we truly knew in our hearts that was time and we wanted to make changes in how we parent. Changing where they spend the majority of their day was part of that. We might be that “weird family” and are totally ok with it and are also under no obligation to make sense to anyone, albeit family, friends, or strangers on the internet.
Growing up is hard enough without having your surroundings telling you that you aren’t or might not be who God made you. He doesn’t make mistakes and it makes me sad that they have become targets, especially at an impressionable age. NOTHING like this has happened with our kids, yet. However, I know what all went on when I was in school (also pre-social media age) and I can’t imagine what all is being exposed, discussed, experimented, etc. And before someone says that’s why you have to be a present parent, I fully agree. However, you can’t control their classmates or those they have befriended on what they talk to your child about. It’s pushed on them through social media, peers, books, entertainment, etc. Of course they are getting confused! If you think its not, there are tiny rabbit holes you can go down and when you come up someone will crown you with a tin hat because that’s crazy conspiracy talk if you use any sort of critical thinking, disagree, and question the “norm.” I don’t mind being the overprotective mom and taking initiative because that’s what we feel is best for us-it may not be for you. Again, totally fine.
I want the medical decisions we make for us as well as our children private and not be the cause of eventual segregation if we opt out of something we don’t feel like they should have. We will never know the repercussions of what 2020 did to our kids with face covering mandates among other things. I know for one it caused a lot of anxiety in our oldest. She has allergies and this summer at ranch camp was teased by another child (because she coughed and sneezed) that she had the v i r u s and made subject to chatter from other girls which led to embarrassment and then worry that “maybe I do have it?” It’s sad it’s come to kids saying these things. It’s also learned behavior. Meanness and an ugly heart is a virus and can spread to the company you keep. Thankfully that situation led to good conversation between us but I know how she’s felt. I think most of us have felt belittled or made fun of for something beyond our control or even just because it’s how we view things. The sting of being the butt of someone’s joke or center of gossip hurts. They need to know how to best handle these things when it happens, we aren’t trying to keep them from that. It’s still going to occur with all of the other activities we participate in.
I read something on Facebook the other day and it was a great analogy to how I see this-and not just related to values but also relationships:
“People often say to me, “you can’t keep your children in a bubble”. And I reply, “it’s not a bubble, it’s a greenhouse.” A bubble stifles growth and blocks out nutrients. A greenhouse provides an environment for cultivation. Children’s hearts need to be “greenhoused” before they’re ready to be transplanted out into the world. We release when their roots are deep and they are mature enough to withstand the storms, not beforehand. While they’re still under our protection, we take the responsibility for engaging them in learning about different cultures, ideologies and values. They should only know worldly teachings enough that they will be inoculated against them. It’s neither parenting out of fear or legalism, nor going to the opposite extreme of being too permissive.No, our kids shouldn’t grow up in a bubble. But they shouldn’t be left exposed to the harsh outside elements, either. The greenhouse of our home has all the right conditions for those young seeds to grow and flourish.” -Called to Mothering
My greatest calling, responsibility, and blessing He will ever give me is to be the wife and mom of this home. I’ve grown and changed so much over the last year that the way I view being a homeschool family has shifted into an absolute honor. He’s equipped me to be their mom. He’s equipped me to raise them. He’s also equipped me to teach them. I have the choice in how that is going to go. He truly has opened so many doors for us over the last year to get to where we have the availability to do this with moving our store and I’m blown away once again by his faithfulness.
I don’t want to regret not doing this when I have the chance. I want to provide them with a rich education that goes beyond four walls. An education that not only teaches them reading, writing, math, science, and so on but gardening, sewing, farming, cooking, how to change a tire and balance a checkbook, and more. I want to cater to their individual learning styles and watch them flourish more than they could in a classroom of 20. I want to do field trips again. I want to take school outside, on the ranch, to my store, or on a road trip. I want freedom and flexibility. Education isn’t a one size fits all and we’ve (myself included) been brought up to think that it is. My girls have several friends that they plan to do this with. They plan to rodeo and will be around kids often with family, friends, basketball, 4-H, and church. I still find the unsocialized comments silly. If anything, this entire last year has pushed isolation. That’s the exact opposite of what I want or plan to do.
I realize this just isn’t an option for everyone and it’s not lost on me what a unique privilege this is. I know some absolutely can’t even if they wanted to. So I’m taking my opportunity seriously and shooting my shot. I also realize this isn’t for everyone. And that’s ok. It wasn’t for us at one point either but it is now. I feel it’s more important than ever, especially for the four of us. We need this. We need each other and maybe it’s because we are a first responder family-we see the fragility of life on the daily and witness how quickly it can end. Time is something you can’t make more of or get back but you can change how you prioritize and use it. I’ve even been teased about being Laura Ingalls, and you know, that’s exactly what I’d love to be like.
I’ve had so many friends help me and encourage me along the way and I’d love to do the same over there.
I hope they know how much I love them. I know that this will be really hard but the harvest will be bountiful. I know that I’ll be able to connect with them more than I ever have and am sure they will be teaching me a thing or too as well. I want to steward my time and motherhood well. I want to take this seriously and honor God with these gifts he’s given our family and as parents.
Here’s to homeschool and a new chapter. Welcome to 4th and 1st grade, girls!