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The “H-Word” (Part 2)

That being said, it’s February. Over half-way through this first school year. Kenneth has enjoyed Kindergarten. He loves his teacher, has found some little friends (which he lovingly calls his “mateys”). He is learning. Our first year in public school, and I really do not have any big complaints.

I feel strongly that regardless of where our children go to school, we should be teaching our kids about God. Sharing the gospel with them, living out grace before them, talking about God throughout our days. This is our responsibility, not Children’s Church, not Christian school’s, not their Sunday School teacher. Part of our role may include sending them to these things, but it must not be the only way they are hearing about God.

With this in mind, there are numerous things that we have done at home to teach them about God. But with Kenneth now in school most of the day, I wanted to do our own little “Bible class” in the afternoon which would give us a concentrated time to teach them. I ordered this great curriculum, which I had heard of over at one of my favorite blogs (go check out all the great ideas for teaching our children about God!) It is a pre-school homeschooling curriculum, that walks the kids through the Bible, all the while learning their letters, sounds, and numbers. It does a great job at weaving the two elements together (see a sample week here).We don’t do this everyday, and we don’t do all of the elements in the curriculum, but I have really enjoyed this time! We call it Bible School. Some days the kids are excited about it, and some days they are not, but I press on. I hadn’t planned it this way, but this time has really opened my heart up to homeschooling.

More and more over the past few months, I have caught myself looking up homeschooling sites, thinking about “if we home-schooled…” My sister has started calling me a closet homeschooler. This all has caught me a bit off guard, as I have had no intentions of homeschooling.  As I mentioned earlier, I have thought highly of homeschooling but just have not felt like I had the capacity for it or calling to it. I feel that my heart’s calling is changing.

So, I mentioned what I had been feeling to Chris, half expecting him to give me the “you-crazy” look. But, he said that he had had some of the same thoughts! We have felt limited as a family by the school schedule. Having everyone home, we would be more flexible to have time as a family when Chris was available. We would all be home when he comes home from lunch. We would be able to have a more leisurely morning together, maybe even at the table over breakfast, instead of rushing out the door with a cereal bar in hand, to make it to school on time. (Nothing wrong with cereal bars!)

While we have not have any problems with Kenneth in public school, I am finding that my original vision of what this year would look like has not been what I thought. I was really looking forward to being involved in Kenneth’s class, going on field trips, getting to know the other moms, etc. But, since I have younger children, this has been hard to do. I can’t bring them with me! I am making the realization that my ability to be involved in his days like I want to will be limited until all of my kids are in school. For me, that is at least five years away; more if we have any more children.

I feel that in some ways, homeschooling would allow us to slow down. Enjoy our time together. A thought I keep having over and over is that Mrs. Courtney (his teacher) is getting Kenneth’s best hours. When he comes home he is over listening and learning and obeying. He is cranky and tired, worn out. And really, the same is true for me. Trying to spend good time with him has been difficult.

Of course, these are just a few of the potential benefits of homeschooling specific to our family, beyond all the obvious ones. I don’t expect all of the tensions we have felt this year to go away once we start home-schooling, and I am sure that there will be new challenges to face, but I do think that the Lord is calling us to a shift towards choosing what will help our family best stay connected to one another, while allowing us to be the main influencers of our children.

“What I love most about the homeschooling lifestyle is that we are all together, in all our glorious mess, day in and day out. We are not time-torn or fragmented. We are gathered…For you will be together, making memories together, laughing together, crying together, praying together, and asking forgiveness together. Throughout your day, you worship God, together. And you learn to die-to-self together. It’s about doing hard things… together.” Ann Voskamp, on the Pros and Cons of Homeschooling.

Lord, guide us as we make this big shift. Continue to lead us to your will. Make it clear to us if this is not your plan. Be glorified in our family as we cling to your grace and walk this journey!

17 replies
  1. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Katie, I love how you are sharing your story of how God is changing you! I, too, did not think we would be homeschooling, but am now very thankful that the Lord led us in that direction!!

    Reply
  2. @bectouzel
    @bectouzel says:

    Thanks Katie for sharing that. Our little girl has only just turned 1 but i'm already weighing up options! My husband went to a "homeschooling school" (ironic right?) because he didn't cope well at home with his mum…so at the moment, he's utterly against it…i'm leaning more towards homeschool based on a few things you've said (best hours, time together) and observations of the other families here at Teen Ranch (1 goes to a private anglican, the other has 1 son in local primary school but wishes they were homeschooling)…oh well, i've got 4 years to keep thinking about it!

    Reply
  3. Taylor
    Taylor says:

    I did the Little Hands to Heaven with my kids last year! It was so great. By this summer (we carried on through the summer) they asked me to do it every day! Now we are slowly working through My Father's World Kindergarten, however the kids started Bosnian preschool on Valentine's day so we have been going even slower. It's a great curriculum too.

    Reply
  4. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    How fun! I'll check out My Father's World. I think I had heard of it before. There are so many great curriculum out there, it is ridiculously overwhelming!

    Reply
  5. Heather Berrien
    Heather Berrien says:

    We "fell" into homeschooling this past year (due to a move, bad middle school, etc.). I have to admit, I was terrified. But, after jumping in full-force, I absolutely love it! My 7th grade daughter does, too.
    No more peer pressure, deadlines, stress. We get all of her work done but life is so much less hurried.

    For some perspective, my younger daughter is in an excellent public school in our neighborhood. The difference between having one home and one in public is amazing – the younger one will be homeschooled next year as well. No more public school for us!

    Reply
  6. Natalie
    Natalie says:

    We have recently made the decision to begin homeschooling next year, after five years at school (for my oldest). I blogged about it, if you are interested in hearing more, but in a nutshell, we too felt like we were losing the best hours of the day to school. And this issue was crucial especially with our oldest. We also want a more relaxed lifestyle which will allow the kids more time to develop their gifts and interests. God's blessings to you on this journey!

    Reply
  7. Erin
    Erin says:

    Hey Katie! I've had so many of the same thoughts about Home Schooling, but reading "Family Driven Faith" last fall really got me thinking in another direction. In fact, the book opened my eyes to a lot and is well worth the read if you haven't read it yet.

    Reply
  8. Rusheika Island Mama
    Rusheika Island Mama says:

    the thought process you are going through right now sounds a lot like where I was 2 years ago… I had no intention of home schooling but for many of the reasons you mentioned above we took the leap! It is challenging but rewarding.. it had definitely slowed us down and is giving us so many opportunities to bod with our kids. Yes there are days that I say "what in the world was i thinking?!?!" but God always gently reminds me that he was the one who led me here and it will be him that sustains me! The years we have with our children are precious and few. I will be praying for you and your family as you decide!

    Reply
  9. ohamanda
    ohamanda says:

    For like the past 2 weeks I've been saying to myself, "I need to read Katie's blog." So, finally, here I am realizing you have not ONE but TWO blogs! Anywhoo, my daughter is going into K this year and I had NO IDEA that I would agonize over where to send her! I was in daycare at 6 weeks—I'm not afraid of public education. But I just felt "blech" over sending my daughter there for SO many hours a day. Then, the first Christian school we went to I felt the same as you—this bubble of high test scores, etc. was just not for me! We just had a meeting at a hybrid homeschool "school" where the kids go 2 days/week and 3 days at home. I'm hoping it's exactly what we're looking for. I don't want to lose the best part of my kids' day to standing in line at school!

    Reply
  10. Katie Orr
    Katie Orr says:

    A hybrid school sounds great! Oh, the joys of living in Atlanta, and having so many options. Although, I don't miss the traffic!

    Reply
  11. Amber
    Amber says:

    You've just explained one of the biggest reasons that I homeschool and that I don't want to send my kids to public school! It has little to do with curriculum and socialization and everything else and mostly stems from my desire to BE with my kids. For the good and the bad, like Ann said. I want to be with my kids during their best hours and I want to be the one discipling them and training their hearts. There are plenty of drawbacks.. it means that you get to process every single complaint and whine and tempter tantrum. You don't miss any of those. =p But you also get to enjoy every accomplishment, milestone, smile, laugh and there's tons more time for hugs and kisses. =)
    P.S. I don't know, but it this change of heart your having sure does sound awfully similar to "feeling led to" or "being called." Maybe?

    Reply

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