Friday, April 17, 2009

Let us pray.

Four years ago (almost five) I walked into a small library in a small town. I was wearing a baby bjorn, and in that baby bjorn was my two week old daughter. My first. We already had our little patterns, and one of them was to walk the two blocks to that library and try to find books with which to fill my days. (I was new to the stay-at-home-mom thing, and going out of my mind with all the time on my hands. It's not for the faint of heart.)

As I stood, running my fingers over the spines of the books, I came across a small (very small) section about... wait for it... homeschooling. Before I had time to even *think* I had a thought. (How does that happen?) My thought was "I should homeschool."

Quick upon the heels of that thought was this one "You have lost your mind."

Let's talk about homeschoolers.

Homeschoolers are nutso. They come from homes where their parents are too religiously fanatic to trust other people, so they grow up so sheltered and controlled that when they finally leave home they run totally amok and are a menace to society. The first homeschooler I met, in third grade, couldn't handle confrontation with his peers--at.all--so his answer to any disagreement was to punch you in the face. NUTSO. (And I'm really not just making this up--most of the homeschoolers I knew, growing up, really didn't know how to deal with their peers or social pressure of any kind. It was sad.)

But then, why did I have that thought? What was that thought???? An errant whimsy? An idle, fleeting thing that I could ignore? Or was it fate? Destiny? Kismet? WHAT?!?!

Fast forward a year or so, and find me now living across the country, on the east coast. Imagine my suprise when I moved here and it seemed like half the population was homeschooled. Not only were the kids homeschooled, but the kids were generally...cool. Friendly. Capable. Social. Not nutso.

Enter various friends and mentors, who I've chatted with about that moment in the library. They have encouraged. They have been great sounding boards. They haven't judged.

And this baby girl has grown, and has evidenced different delays along the way. She is academically bright, but has other struggles, and so attends the "special ed" preschool at our local elementary. It is a *brilliant* program. We love it. She loves it.

But next year is kindergarten. We're starting to play for real. And I have no idea what to do. I can't get this homeschool thing out of my head (despite the parts of me that still think it's sheer insanity), but I am positively terrified.

So, we're debating.

Kindergarten?
Public school?
No child left behind?
Recess?
School lunch?
Peers?
Teasing?
Mean girls?

Homeschool?
Kitchen table?
Flexibility?
Structure?
Curriculum?
Cost?
Socialization?

I just don't know.

But, in an attempt...


Heaven help us.

6 comments:

  1. I find it really funny that this is the first post you wrote after I decided to look at your blog. (I read your comments at Diapers and Divinity and thought your blog might be a good one to read, so here I am!)

    I only think it's funny, because I just decided two weeks ago that I'm going to homeschool. I debated about it for over a year and a half, and finally went into General Conference really needing a straight yes or no answer. And I got it! (Email me if you want more specifics.)

    Anyway, I was the same way. I couldn't shake the feeling that I should homeschool. My oldest daughter is starting kindergarten next year, as well. I even registered her for kindergarten. But then I felt immediately sad. I don't know. It's hard to explain.

    Okay, sorry for the long comment! But I think if you *know* you should homeschool, and if you include God in your decisions (every single day), you and your kids will be fine! I'm just as nervous about it, but I know we'll be fine! (Of course, it helps that there's a school here for homeschoolers to go to once or twice a week - for social and extracurricular stuff - and for a break for me!)

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  2. Hi Becca,

    I think you would make the most brilliant teacher Emily could ever have! You will do great, and she will probably learn more from you than anyone else. The only thing is that you need to be careful that she gets enough social interaction - so if you know other home schooled kids, maybe you could meet up with them and their parents at least twice a week.

    I would ask her what *she* wants to do - she might surprise you.

    Also, when do kids go to school in the US? If you are not planning to home school her much beyond the first grade, then I would put her in the regular school from the very beginning. There is something very scary to me about going to a class where the friendships are already formed.

    Remember this: you can always change your mind, if it doesn't seem to work out :-)

    Cristina

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  3. i've had quite a few homeschooling thoughts myself. if we didn't have a charter school close that worked for us - i would give it more serious consideration. for now, i do good just to support what's going on at school. it seems so overwhelming to teach all 4 of them at the same time.
    it's great to know there are answers available. i also remember you mentioning that there were various resources around you. i know there are a few around here - just not as obvious.
    i'm interested in what you decide to do. it seems odd there's not anything to follow up with the great preschool you've found. what do all the other kids do?

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  4. leslismith95@hotmail.comApril 20, 2009 at 4:38 PM

    I didn't know you had another blog--it was so nice to see the Easter pictures and what is going on in NC. As you know I am a big proponent of public education--being a teacher and all. So I will give my pitch--though a)the decision, as it should be, is personal. and b) it sounds like I might be a little late.
    School has been a very positive thing in our lives. Honestly it has given me a lot of good ideas about spending time with my kids and giving them a chance to explore things that I don't think of. Also my kids seem to learn a lot from peers and other adults: i.e., I told A not to eat snow probably 100,000 times, but he just didn't seem to buy it. Then one day I hear him telling his sister, "Don't to eat snow--it is dirty." What? Haven't I been saying that for a year solid? When I inquired he responded that he learned it at school. That dang teacher probably only had to say it once but it worked.

    My other push for public ed is that it has really helped me feel a part of my community as Robert Wood was quoted in last month's Ensign
    "We need to be vigorously engaged in the world. If our schools are inadequate or destructive of moral values, we must work with fellow members of the community to bring about change. If our neighborhoods are unsafe or unhealthy, we must join with the civic-minded to devise solutions."

    I am not great about getting out there and school helps me do that. Other might be, but for me it has been a great boost into community life.
    That said if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have waited a year to put A in. He felt rushed and so did I. There are tons of problems with public ed, but also lots of great surprises too.

    good luck.

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  5. Ok, first of all? You need to invite me to your other blog. Second of all? I loved every bit of your Fields of Gold saga. You are a brilliant writer, and what a great history for your kids. I cried many times, and many times thought "oh, that Dave. What an oblivious jerk." Or, "What a tease he was." Or, "Wow! He did good with that! He is a Romantic!" (Which I had already figured out). I am now trying to think of what I have actually written about my wedding day. I will have to fix that. Third of all? I am so excited to move out by you. For reals.

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  6. I saw the "Homeschool" in your labels and thought I'd check it out - I just decided to homeschool my 13 year old, debating on my 7 year old, certain about my 2 year old AFTER the pre-school program (so when he hits Kindergarten) ... and debatable on my 8 month old, we'll see what life is holding for us. However, I have to say - the more I read about it the more I research both "homeschooling" and my heart... I want to homeschool all of them. It's a matter of finding socialization for these kids to NOT make them social outcasts. In a matter of weeks we are involved in a homeschool group, (a couple actually) and 4-H... getting them into clubs and outside classes :) It's going to be fun - (I keep telling myself it won't be scary - really - it won't)

    So have you decided yet?

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