Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We begin the journey....

that began over 2 years ago. During the summer leading to Kindergarten, Alana begged me to homeschool her. She didn't want to go back to school. Although it really wasn't a case of a coddled baby clinging to her mama (she had already completed two years of 4-Year Old Kindergarten), I was afraid to give in to her desires for fear of being over-protective. Not generally one to buckle to public opinion, I was, admitedly, scared to "rock the boat" to that extreme. So, after a couple of weeks of online research and discussions with an "absolutely not"-minded husband, I gave up the idea. The homeschooling seed, however, had been planted and continued to grow.
Looking back, I believe I was not in the right place to consider homeschooling, which is a very good reason not to do it! I think of it like marriage...if you have to talk yourself into it, it's not the right time. But now is the right time. It's been a rough year for Alana. In fact, when the girls arrived home on their first day of school, I had the camera at the ready (of course!) only to be met with two angry, frustrated faces. I never was able to get a picture of a smiling face that day.
Alana has just grown more angry, frustrated and emotional by the day. A typical day includes her getting off the bus and entering the house either slamming doors and yelling, crying in her room or fighting with her sister. "Hate" has become a word used way too often by her. I get her calmed down after a half hour or more, just to have her explode again at the mention of homework. Her father sees nothing of this. He's at work. So, it's harder for him to understand the frustration and sadness that drives my decisions.
Erin, although generally happy with the social aspect of school, is already bored and feeling "held back". She is seriously smart and loves to learn. Every day she tries to read and do math that her sister is doing, while at school, she's learning to count and write letters.
Through none of this do I blame the teachers or the school. I know they do the best they can, with the number and multi-leveled students they have. They cannot personalize their schedule or curriculum to suit my children. I can.
It was in a discussion with my sister that I realized I was finally ready to homeschool (funny, it was also after spending time with her that I became a born-again Christian!) In my praises of homeschooling, I finally realized that I am in a position to do it...that God has givin me the gifts and abilities to serve my children. Aha! I saw the lightbulb. And I set to work showing Barry the light. I'm not sure how many homeschooling books have been read since the beginning of November. I just know that all other aspects of my personal life took a backseat to the research. Can I do this? How do I do this? Barry became convinced, yet still a bit skeptical. He won't truly believe until he sees it working. That's ok. This isn't a lifelong commitment...more of an experiment. Can this work for our family?
Why this blog? I've read so many stories from other homeschooling families...and they'll never know what a help they were to me. So, partly, this is a chance for me to share my story in the hopes of helping someone else. This adventure is also a major life change, and I think it deserves documenting. We'll be able to see how far we've come. And although we've been blessed with lots of support for our decision by friends and family, I realize that there is some doubt in their minds. Can this work? Will the girls become sheltered outcasts? Will they learn anything at home in their jammies? This blog will be a place for them to check in on us to see what we're learning.
I say "we" because I'm convinced that by homeschooling my girls, I'll gain more knowledge than I ever retained in my years of public schooling. And, nerd though I may be, that excites me! I'm looking forward to being able to dive into literature, the Bible and history in ways not available to the girls at school. I'm excited to bring the girls home...to be the one guiding them through their education while strengthening our family unit. Lack of socialization? I'm beginning to think that's a good thing. Our society is not doing well. Families are weak. Morals are nearly nonexistant. It's more important that my girls can communicate with their Lord and family than be able to text their friends about that latest gossip, movies or music that I don't approve of. Call it a journey to simpler times. Call it getting my girls back. This is our road home.....