Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's 'School Time'

Everyone around us is heading back to school.  Our town started today to be exact. All my family and friends have pictures of the "first day of school" up on their blogs.  It's the one day of the year that we all feel a little sorry for ourselves I admit.

We are reminded that we are different.  We are reminded that we don't fit in. Of course we've done it to ourselves,  but...  This the day of the year when my kids think maybe it would be fun to go to school.  Everyone is excited.  The teacher's are nice on the first day.  They get to wear new clothes.  They have fun new supplies.  There's just a feeling in the air of excitement you know?  I think I could read all day, or I could shop all day, or I could go to work with my husband or I could be really "adventurous" and get a job!

Of course this lasts all of one second.  Then I remember the bullying, my crying children after school, my exhausted and crying children in the morning, the name calling, the swearing, the homework, the inappropriate books that are sent home (Liberty learned about homosexuality in her take home reading one night in first grade before I caught that one), the weekly Disney movie parties or worse, (Liberty would have gotten to see the "Twilight" movies if she had gone to school last year with her friends), the unbalanced meals at lunch time, the demand that they be required to eat all their food at lunch time even if a parent (that would be me) sent a note saying that since I paid for it I'll let my children decide when they are full, the 'bathroom' conversations on the playground, the belittling by the teachers, humanism, Marxism, uniformity, cheating, lying.... I'm sure I'm missing something.  We only made it through third grade though. Besides I don't like shopping and I wouldn't get a job.

My friend and cousin (okay distant-really distant- but it's still fun to think of her as my cousin) Rebecca said this on her blog the other day,
So many parents assume that children must attend public school unless they receive direct revelation not to send their children. It has occurred to me that we should be expecting direct revelation telling us that we should give up our time with our children and outsource their education to others. If we do not receive specific instructions to turn our stewardship over to others then we should assume that Heavenly Father wants us to be in charge of the children he has blessed us with.
 Well said.

When I was serving a mission (back when the world was black and white according to one son) I learned about home schooling.  I feel in love.  I saw some amazing families.  That was what I wanted to do.  Every area I served in (Southern California) had family after family who home schooled and recognized that they had the ability to take their kids back.  It was amazing.

I said I would always home school and my husband always said he wanted that too.  I was so excited for them to grow and be big.  Then we moved back to my home town.  It seemed like a betrayal to not send them to school.  That's what all good moms did.  They picked out cute clothes and packed their back packs up and sent them off.  That was what I was suppose to do.  I did it too.  Inside I cried.  I knew it was wrong.  I knew what I was suppose to do but I was scared.  Everyone would hate me, judge me, think we weren't good enough for the likes of them, be threatened ....

We went through the motions for a couple of years.  What was I doing?  My heart was heavy.  My children were miserable.  Dare I ask if should bring them home?  I was more afraid of what the teachers (my friends)  and my family would say than doing the right thing. 

One night after listening to my daughter cry yet again I had a profound experience that I will not share. From that  I knew I could no longer be ruled by the opinions of others, I had to take my children back.  They were mine and they were being destroyed. 

I've never looked back since.  Except for that split second every time this year when I think we could be a normal family and fit in.  But I can never do that again, there is too much at stake. 

So while so many around me genuinely celebrate sending their kids off I rejoice and thank my Heavenly Father that I have my children to hold and love for a little while longer while I finish preparing them for the Great Battle they were held back for 6,000 years to fight in.

15 comments:

crazy4boys said...

Mine never went to school so I didn't have the experiences you did. I'm not sure when school started here....I don't pay attention any more. I have my own things I need to focus on and a job to do here in my own home. I do like the discounted school supplies though!!!!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's given me strength to continue on, because even though I know it's right, it's not always easy.

buzy bee said...

Hey, I served in Southern California too...cool!

I also have those twinges of school starting, but mostly sad twinges that all those kids have to leave their poor mothers at home ALONE.

We were talking to the neighbor about school and how wonderful her teacher is, and how much fun she is having, and all her cute clothes, and on and on and on. I walked in the house and thought...give it six weeks and I'll ask her again :)

I too am glad to have my kids around me to love and hold and teach and grow with. I am a better person for being a homeschooling mother...way better than I would have been if I would have been a career woman, or a shop-a-holic, or even just cleaned and read. I need them to become who I am to become. They need me to become who they are to become. Parenting is synergy at it's best...when we truly parent.

Thanks for the reminicing :)

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Amen!

Natalie said...

Well said!

Rebecca said...

I don't know why all those feelings creep in, even if just for a minute. I have always realized that if I sent my little ones to school it would be for selfish reasons and then I realize I love being with them too much.

Thanks again, cousin.

Mrs. Small House said...

Know how lucky you truly are. I was so ready to homeschool! Then while praying got the distinct impression "not yet". ARG! My oldest starts kindergarten tomorrow and while I do feel peaceful about it, I'm not very excited. It makes me sad to hear all my neighbors so happy to "get a break" from their kids for 7 hours 5 days a week!

Christine said...

I've been reading your blog for a little while now, but I don't think I've commented before. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences so honestly. I have learned a great deal!

I was introduced to TJEd this summer by an old friend, and through spiritual promptings and experiences have been led to know that this is right for us. I pulled my two school-aged sons out of public school, and we started our homeschool on Monday. I felt exactly what you described on the first day that "everybody else" went back to school. But since then, I count my blessings every day that I get to do this. Thank you - it is nice to know I'm not alone!

Judi said...

I thought I should say hello since I've been reading and enjoying your blog!

I went to public school my husband never did, he was homeschooled. We chose to homeschool our four children, I know it is right for them, for me, for our family. But each new school year I have a day of questioning and usually a good cry. My sweet husband listens and encourages and I always feel better!

I am grateful to meet LDS homeschool families through blogs - otherwise I think I would feel "alone" in our world. Thanks for your sincere thoughts and willingness to share them.

Have a great day!

Judi :)

Christy said...

I was feeling the exact same way yesterday. It happens every year when all the neighbors go to school. All those feelings that I am ruining my children, or at least depriving them. I really felt like it would be nice to be normal and "fit in."

We began our new schedule yesterday, and I think that with the way I was feeling I would have given the whole thing up if my 8yo son hadn't kept repeating what a great day he was having and how much he likes his new schedule! (he is my school-hater.)

It's strange how we can have those feelings even when we KNOW we are doing the right thing keeping our children home.

Yesterday I recieved my LDS HEA notes e-mail and realized that those feelings are all from satan. Well, I already knew that, but sometimes don't recognize it right away.I think he sents extra thick "mists of darkness" to homeschooling families at the end of every summer, hoping that we will yeild.

Celeste B. said...

I think we have finally gotten past those times...we never regret being homeschooled now. My kids are often asked if they "want to go to the new high school". They each laugh and say, "no way!" People are always taken back by that.

The difference is that my kids now have their own reasons for being home educated. They have a plan for themselves and for their mission in life. I have heard them explain how they want a better-than-public-school education and people are very surprised and have even called my kids "stuck-up" or "arrogant". Which is so hilarious if you have ever met our family.

Rebekah said...

Just yesterday I was outside with my 4 kids reading to them and playing with them. We were having a great day. The house was clean and we were enjoying each other. Then at 3:55pm the bus pulled up. I was sooooo glad my kids were not on that bus! All that time away from them. Yuck! Not to mention all the great points you made. I love that quote from your cousin you included. Too many faithful LDS women are taken in by the the traditions of our society and are missing out on an essential part of their earthly missions with their children. Sadly I hear, "I could never do that" or "I need my breaks from them", and "I'm not smart enough to teach my children" all the time! I'm glad to be associated with LDS homeschoolers, even if it is mostly through blogs. Thanks for being a support and inspiration.

Angela said...

I always thought homeschoolers were weird growing up (except for my best friend's family but they were still a bit different) and then after getting married we moved to a ward and I was visiting teaching a homeschooling mom. I asked her about and then asked her about socialization. In a very matter of fact way she called me out on this "socialization" public school gave. I liked her and loved her kids so we started watching them more. We met another family that had similar philosophies and watched them. Eventually we decided we wanted to do it too.

But life happened, crisis after crises passed through our lives and our oldest went to public kindergarten. It was an OK experience but hard on all of us. As my health improved the need to homeschool 1st grade and beyond became a priority.

We've been very blessed and are now doing just that, sure we're only three days in but the moment the school year ended my son was different. He no longer had to worry about how the other kids acted and try to fit in. We could be as a family and balance family/work/play/friend/school time. That seems too simple of an answer but we're all more at peace.

And it seems silly to add but homeschooling my children has brought greater focus to my life. I'm not merely filling a nearly empty day. Instead I'm simplifying my wants to accommodate their needs. It has been amazing!

Being A Mother Who Knows said...

I think it's hard for us sometimes because our little town only has 400 people in it. So on Sunday in primary when everyone is so excited for school to start or at grandma's house on Sunday night and everyone is so excited for school to start we take a deep breath and we are reminded we are the weird ones.

It really doesn't last long. My kids usually say when they see the bus, "I feel sorry for those kids mom. Thank you for home schooling us." This is usually followed by a big hug.

Then I sigh and say, "Yes. I can do this!"

We are Ben and Rebecca said...

It is a hard time of year. Everyone keeps asking Brock if he's excited for preschool. He says "Yes, but I do homeschool preschool" (please no TJED attacks) and people do respond really funny.
I have several friends who are teachers. One is still a sub after 10 years, and sometimes guilts me by saying that enrollment numbers are down. But I know it's right. I always say that I am sure we are all prayerful about what is best for our children, so I would never judge other people's choices.

I had SO much fun shopping for school supplies with Brock. Hopefully he'll stay excited about pencils for a few more years.

Rebekah said...

I just read your post to my hubbie and wanted to add that I am so thankful I live where I do (Alaska). It is so friendly to homeschoolers. Ususally when strangers ask my kids about school they respond that they homeschool and most people say that that is better and encourage me.