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!