SAY WHAT?! Did I seriously just type that header? I have legit butterflies putting this out there. Less than a year ago I wrote a post about how Baby Girl was thriving in her kindergarten classroom. What gives? What happened? Did she have a bad experience? Truly, the answer is no. She had a wonderful first year in public school with a fantastic teacher. More likely what happened is this. I drew a hard line in the sand and put homeschooling in a box of tricks I labeled untouchable. God laughed and responded, “Wanna bet?”
I’ll be honest, homeschooling is either everywhere in my neck of the woods or I was specifically (and divinely) pointed in that direction. I’d go to MOPS and meet a bunch of mommas that homeschool. I’d go to church and meet yet more homeschool mommas getting the job done. I’d hit the gym and strike up a conversation with the other tired soul in the lobby looking for a free childless shower. Sure enough, she homeschools too. I’d drive over to a Facebook Buy Nothing neighbor’s house to pick-up free twistable crayons. Guess who answered the door. Her three precious homeschooled kids, eagerly wanting to show me their classroom. I literally could not escape it.
Every. Where. I. Went.
I started becoming more inquisitive with both the kids and the mommas. Every child I asked loved it. Every momma I asked loved it. But what about socialization? Isn’t that the million dollar question the opposition wants to know? I certainly did. As I started asking this question with both an open mind and a listening heart, I learned two things.
One: Homeschooling (the actual act of schooling) takes a fraction of the 7.5hrs I was currently sending my child away to school. With all of that extra time, our family would be completely and entirely free to take on just about any adventure of our choosing, with the friends of our choosing, every single day. We have co-ops at our disposal, YMCA Homeschool programs, play dates, extracurricular activities. The sky’s the limit.
Two: My understanding of “socialization” involved putting my child in a setting with many same-aged children to establish friendships and learn basic social skills. That said, I will admit Brynn came home from school on a few occasions using language we do not use in our home and treating her brother in a manner we deem unacceptable. One homeschool mother explained socialization to me this way. “I want my child to learn respectable behavior from me. I want her to practice that behavior with her peers. I want her to know how to treat not just fellow 6yr olds, but also babies and toddlers, parents and elderly figures of authority. I want to model that behavior for her and correct her when she steps outside of those boundaries.” This was so interesting to me. I’d never thought of it that way.
The wheels started turning. I started praying. Honestly, my biggest objection to homeschooling has always been the message it sends. What if all the Christian families pulled their kiddos out of public school? What kind of message would we send to this world? We were not called to hide in our comfortable little cliques, limiting our social endeavors to exclusively like-minded people. We are supposed to LOVE and spread LIGHT! While I was internally working through these objections, I dug into what little is written in the bible on Jesus’ childhood. Confession: I like to read The Message translation because I’m typically operating on broken sleep and the other half of the protein shake my toddler hasn’t spilt.
I opened my bible to study what Mary & Joseph did shortly after Jesus’ birth. Luke 2: 39-40, “…they returned to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.” In the very next verse, the story picks up, “When he [Jesus] was twelve years old…” HOLD UP? What happened from infancy to twelve?! This is not helpful at ALL! Or maybe it is. He grew strong in body and wise in spirt. His ministry was not yet established. While he was growing physically, he was also growing spiritually. Interesting.
The conclusion I drew is that my 6 year old is not a light, nor has she been called to be a light yet. Yes, sometimes she spreads light, but she has not yet made faith her own. As believers, that task belongs to myself and my hubs. Her light is more or less a flickered reflection of what she’s being taught in our home, in our church, and in her daily walk. She doesn’t own her faith yet. She is still growing, both physically and spiritually. My very desire is to raise her in an environment that supports our beliefs, not just for her own benefit, but so that she may eventually emerge into this world, spreading light that is her own.
The above statement is really the only why I need. I’ve been specifically called to do it by a God I trust with everything.
There are a few other why’s. I love that it provides my children the opportunity to thrive and work through both academic and life struggles together. I love that the bond they’ve formed in their early years will grow immeasurably closer as they spend these formative years side by side. I love teaching and being privy to those ah ha moments when they grasp a new concept for the first time! I love both the flexibility and hand-tailored education homeschooling provides our family. I love that we can literally “do school” anywhere and any way that works best for each child individually.
Last year, I carted 2 half naked, half fed boys into the van at 7:45 each morning to race down to the bus stop usually with enough time to shove my 5yr old onto a bus. This bus took her away for the majority of her waking hours and returned her at 3:15 with a tired, sour attitude. I love that we no longer get her tired, leftovers and am falling in love with my Baby Girl all over again. After all, as every empty nester I’ve ever met has told me, I’m going to miss these days. This is not a decision our family made lightly and it is my fervent prayer that our family will thrive in the midst of this new adventure!