On Monday we had our first day of school. It did not look like backpacks and new clothes. I didn’t stop everything to do all 8 subjects in one day. I’ve been at this thing long enough now to know that hyper schooling isn’t good for any of us.
The kids did let me take pictures of them. The real, natural them.
This month marks the beginning of our fourth year of home schooling.
In this amount of time I feel like I’ve learned through mostly failure, yet I’m in this thing for the long haul. It’s a lot of hard work, long hours, and thankless service but I wouldn’t trade it to send my kids off on a yellow bus if you paid me.
I have so many mixed emotions about seeing kids of all ages sent off to school.
I often wonder have they considered all their options?
Whenever I encounter someone who hasn’t considered (or won’t consider) home education it’s either because a.) they don’t believe they are cut out for it or b.) they don’t think their kids are cut out for it.
When I say that maybe none of us are cut out for it but we still should consider it – these are the top 2 reasons why people won’t seriously consider home education:
- Their kids always fight when they are together.
- They want them to be socialized and have a normal school experience.
I think those are cop-out reasons.
And here’s why:
- I don’t think it’s working with our design to separate kids from their siblings and put them into a group of their peers.
I know a lot of parents get tired of the fighting, whining, and on-purpose-pestering between kids over the summer. Mine do it too.
I don’t think the answer is to teach them to avoid people who bother them. I think we teach them to learn respect and how to value a person just because they are.
Everyone has value just because they are not for what they do.
And I practice what I preach. Last summer I declared a screen fast as a consequence for arguing. I told my oldest two that because they were so at odds with each other they were going to spend MORE time together without the distraction of a screen.
Maybe it’s just our house, but screen on = kids quiet. Screen off = kids fight.
I realized, I don’t want to have to screen them 24/7 just so that they don’t fight and yell. I would rather have to face loud more and get to the root of their relationship than have fake peace just because there isn’t noise.
I think it’s a part of the design to learn relationships and conflict resolution at home with siblings.
If separating your kids feels like the best thing for your family, and they are able to love one another more fully because of the space created by leaving home for school then I’m happy for you.
But chances are that separating them may just isolate them from the people in the home – the people they are supposed to know and love the most.
2. Peer groups. Personally, I went away from home for school. The primary influence on my mind came from my peer group. I was “correctly” socialized.
I constantly felt like I could struggle my way to the top of the peer group where the kids thought I was smart, funny, popular for an hour or a day (if I was lucky and really had something new or cool).
But then inevitably gravity and sin took over.
I would slump back down to the bottom. I despised this feeling growing up. I didn’t realize that I was crying out for someone to affirm and value me in my effort to climb to the top, I was just a kid. But that’s really what all my choices, values, and goals in life centered around – how to stay at the top of my peer group.
Once peer group values have taken root, there isn’t much an adult can do or say to reverse the effect.
The lie runs straight to the heart that what my friends do, like, want is #1. Thanks mom, dad, teacher, pastor, etc. for the talk, prayer, encouragement but it falls 2nd to the lie.
This was painfully true for me, but this may not be true for you. And it might not be what happens to your children either.
What I want to beg you to pay attention to is:
In order to protect your child from believing the lies that are so pervasive in our world, you must know that you have your child’s heart.
Know beyond a doubt that relationships in the home come before relationships outside the home.
It’s never too late to home school. It’s never too late to take them back to the foundation.
Listen to your instincts, pay attention to the signs, and be brave. Taking your child’s education into your own hands does not have to remove all your freedom – in fact, I’d like to say that maybe you’ll find more freedom, contentment, and satisfaction in this pursuit than you can find anywhere else.
So, I want to suggest that maybe (just maybe, this isn’t a sly way of promoting a false “always”) they are cut out for it. Maybe the person you’ll be as a grandparent will look back and wish you could do things over. Maybe the #1 thing you’ll want to change was taking them away from home for school.
Maybe you feel like you couldn’t handle it, and I get that. But maybe you’ll regret sending them away for school for the rest of your life – and I know for me, that thought is harder to handle than the thought of having to break up another sibling squabble.
Maybe it’s time to consider all your options. Maybe you are cut out for this.
Further reading: Why be crazy enough to homeschool? Answered by Ann Voskamp