I never, in a million years, would have thought I’d find myself on this side of homeschooling. And this, I know, makes me somewhat of a cliché. I know lots of women out there who swore they’d never homeschool, yet for one reason or another, find themselves doing that very thing.
****long exaggerated sigh****
I’ve always said children have a way of making you eat your words.
If you read yesterdays’s post, then you know that we’ve made the decision to homeschool. Shortly after writing my post about the meaning of my new tattoo, I mentioned that changes were coming for our family and many of you were too curious to wait ;-). As I’ve had conversations with friends and family, I’ve found a way to frame our decision to pull our oldest son out of school in every context possible without admitting to homeschooling.
Homeschooling. We are homeschooling.
There, I said it.
To be fair, we aren’t homeschooling in the traditional sense as I have plans to “unschool.” That is all under development. Stay tuned.
Yes, Theo doesn’t enjoy school. Yes, we don’t think it’s the best environment for him right now. Yes we disagree big time with the state of public education right now. All of those were contributing factors, but to be honest, they were not the main reason for pulling him out of kindergarten.
I mean, they weren’t and yet they weren’t.
I think I am like most people where sometimes, it takes a number of seemingly minor issues to build up before you realize that the minor issues aren’t as minor as you thought. They are the issues that point to “the issue.”
So here is our deal.
a little step may be the beginning of a great journey.
We are frustrated that public education basically creates little test takers. We are frustrated that public education teaches a narrow range of subjects that fail to set students up to be well rounded, independent thinking, creative, self starting, intuitive, out-of-the-box thinking, well adjusted human beings. We are frustrated that everyone has to learn at the same pace and that competency is based on memorization and test taking and not the actual acquisition of knowledge and skills. We are frustrated that free thinking, art, music, and all physical activity have been pushed out for the sake of tests, test, and MORE TESTS!
FOR THE LOVE, PEOPLE.
Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play. -Plato
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. -George Bernard Shaw
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct. -Carl Jung
Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn. -O. Fred Donaldson
It is a happy talent to know how to play. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Play is the highest form of research. -Albert Einstein
Play is the work of the child. -Maria Montessori
Mike and I have big dreams and goals for our family, and we want to accomplish them together. We also want to set our kids up to be the type of individuals who are curious, who ask tough questions, who explore, who wander, who wonder, who pursue things for the sake of understanding. We want them to play and create and understand and become deep thinkers. We want them to read for the love of reading. We want them to master new subjects and skills in their own time.
As a family, we want to have the freedom to travel. We want to learn together. Grow together.
We also know that if we have these opinions on life and education that it isn’t fair to ask the huge, inflexible beast that is public education to bend to our way of thinking. If we have these beliefs, then we need to do something about it. It’s not fair to ask a public school to change for us. What’s more, if we continue to send our kids to public school while retaining these beliefs then it just makes us hypocrites.
So no, public education wasn’t the best setting for Theo, but that isn’t by any fault of Theodore. His grades were ok even if he didn’t love going to school each day. And yes, do I think he would have turned out just fine if we would have kept him enrolled? Sure. Kids are so resilient. But this is so much bigger than just Theo. This is about a greater vision that we have for ourselves as a family – both collectively and as individuals.
Fear tricks us into living a boring life. -Donald Miller
For my husband and I, public education is just another thing in a long list of ways that we could go along with the expected social norms and have a pretty ok life. Or, we could step out in faith, fear and all, and do something different.
I don’t believe God made us to be boring. He didn’t set us up to live life on a chess board with a set number of expected moves. There is a reason why all of this feels vague and uncertain, and at times a bit reckless. Good grief. We weren’t given a handbook for a reason.
And, yes, that’s scary.
So we make up rules that say life must look this way. You must do these things. This is what is expected. Do not color outside of these lines.
Well, I’ve never been one to do things just because everyone else is doing it. All that I can guarantee you is that we are going to live the heck out of this life. This is not a step into safety or inside the comfort zone. It is a step into freedom. It’s a free fall. And the misconception about freedom is that freedom is the easy life. Freedom, my friends, requires so much work. SO MUCH WORK. It requires constant attention to details. It requires that you ask hard questions and face difficult answers. It asks that you step out on the ledge, often times all by yourself. It requires grit and determination.
And it requires sacrifice. So don’t for one minute come at me with the “Well I would homeschool but I just can’t.”
Let me just stop you right there, sister. I can’t either. I can’t. This is something I never wanted to do until the minute I said I would do it. And this is certainly way outside of my pay-grade and comfort zone.
I know I can’t do this. And there is so. much. freedom. in saying that. I’m tired of living the small life based on what I can do. I want to start doing what only God can do.
I once heard a wise man say that the opposite of faith isn’t fear, it’s certainty.
So here we go, stepping out in faith but also lots of fear, not really knowing how this is all going to shake out. I vacillate wildly between toe-tingling excitement and vomit inducing fear, all within seconds of each other.
I’m terrified. I’m thrilled.
Let’s do this. Let’s go out and find our adventure, and lets do it together.
In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. –Abraham Maslow