Thursday, February 18, 2010

Living a One Piece Life

For a while now, we've been pondering homeschooling.  Yes, again.  If you remember, we had this discussion last year.  And we tried homeschooling for a while.  But it didn't seem to "work."  I now believe there are several reasons for the failure.
  1. Our decision to homeschool was made rather quickly -- based on the fact that CraftyGirl was exceedingly unhappy at public school.  (The "BEST" public school in our district, I might add.)
  2. I didn't have any idea of which curriculum to use, and so chose based on price.  Bad, bad, bad choice.  Curriculum was bland and boring.  And a bad choice.  Did I mention that it was a bad choice?
  3. I was very nervous that I would screw up our child so badly that not only were the Social Workers going to be banging on my door to take my child, but that the money we'd currently allocated to college funds would go to therapy instead.  (Don't laugh, you KNOW you've worried about the therapy your child will need after being raised by YOU!)
  4. I was still in a public school teacher mindset (and, some might add, a Type A personality) so much so that I was consumed with schedules, lesson plans, and how things should look.  
As you know, after a couple of months, we decided that maybe homeschooling wasn't best for our girl.  It just didn't seem to be "working."  We found a GREAT private Christian school that uses a homeschool curriculum, A Beka.  CraftyGirl began the second half of her Kindergarten year there, and still attends this year for 1st grade.

CraftyGirl is doing very well academically at school.  But she's not happy.  She constantly complains to me that she's bored.  Getting ready for school in the morning is a hassle because she tells us that she hates school, wishes she were homeschooled, and that she's bored at school.   Some of this, I know, is her attempt at manipulating the situation.  But, I believe some of this is also her true feelings.

And I can't help but wonder if God is calling me, through her, to teach my children at home.

CraftyGirl is a quick learner.  And she loves to learn.  However, she loves to learn "out of the box."  She will do her seatwork, as assigned, because she is obedient.  But she's not enjoying her education. 

And we want her to have a life-long love for learning.

Frequently, CraftyGirl will come to me and say, "Momma, I'm interested in learning more about --blank--.  I'm curious to know --blank--."  And frequently, I don't feel that we have time to explore those things.  And I HATE that!  When we do have time to explore the things that the kiddos are curious about, we all have a great time, and we all learn.  It makes me yearn for that full time.

Speaking of time, that is my other big beef with traditional schooling.  I abhor the early morning hustle/bustle to get out of the house and the long drive to school.  All to be repeated in 6 short hours.  Right now, we spend 2-3 hours in the car/day JUST on pick up and drop off.  I'm not really loving being on someone else's schedule and think frequently, "If we were homeschooling..."

I long for something quieter.  Something more simple.  (I also long to live on a farm in Idaho growing some of my own food and raising chickens.  But for now, let's stick with THIS topic!)

Quieter... More simple...

Okay, you can get up off the floor now.  Now that you've laughed yourself out of your chair.  I'm right there with you -- hee hee, ho ho, ha ha, uh... You're thinking:  Quiet?  Simple?  With two young children?  Riiiiiiiight!

I do desire a quieter, more simple existence.  In many ways.  I desire to own less and give more.  I desire to make our home the center of our world.  I desire for my daughter to know that it's okay to be "just" a mom.  I desire for my kids to learn housekeeping skills.  I desire to teach my children here.  To teach them academics and the many, many other things they'll need to be productive, kind, loving, respectful, independent, God-following adults. 

I don't think that's wrong.  I cherish our times together, and want to increase that time.  We all learn so much from one another when we're together.  I feel like the way to accomplish all our desires is to have our lives be one piece -- not many different pieces.  If we homogenized our lives to live a one piece life, all would come together.  All would work harmoniously together.  Instead of the hustle/bustle, fractured pieces of time and learning, all would be cohesive.  At least that's how I see it in my mind right now...

So, I've been pondering.  Should I homeschool?  What is best for my kids?  Is the desire to live a quieter, more simple life something that we can attain?  Is is realistic?  What would God have us do? 

God is so good.  His timing is perfect.  I ran into this scripture this week:

     "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..." 1 Thess. 4:11

Oh, speak to me, Lord, speak to me!

Another thing I've been feeling is that childhood is fleeting.  I don't want to miss a minute of it.  My job is to be their mother.  I know that doesn't stop when they're away at school, but I'm feeling like our family would be better off by them being home.  I want to be a part of every aspect of my child's life.  I know that will change as they age, so I feel the need to grasp that now, while I can.

I've recently read some excerpts from the book Hold On To Your Kids by Dr. Neufeld who writes that the problem today is that 'parenthood is no longer lasting as long as childhood' -- that our children need parents to be intimately involved, moment-by-moment, not till they are only four years old and leave home for school and possible peer dependency, but they need us to be parents until they are fourteen years old and older.... "We need to hold on to our children and help them hold on to us. We need to hold on to them until our work is done," writes Dr. Neufeld "We need to hold on, not to hold them back but so that they can venture forth."

So we've been asking ourselves, "Is there a way to home educate that could nurture whole, innovative, creative, well-read, skilled young persons who are passionate Jesus followers and people lovers? That is the environment we seek to foster.

So, join us as we pray and seek God's will in our lives.  
And seek a quieter, more simple life.

("Bawk! Bawk!  Cock-a-doodle-doo!"  That's my future chicken herd!)


  1. What does Cadey say about her friends at school? Wouldn't she miss them being homeschooled? Would you be homeschooling Matthew as well? Or would he be in preschool while you teach Cadey?

  2. I will support you with whatever decision you make. You know what it has meant to us to homeschool Daniel. We started out schooling him at home in the 3rd grade and it's our 3rd year now. I wish I had done it from the beginning. Listen to your heart. It will never steer you wrong. I could talk about this subject NON-STOP! I've seen a life change in Daniel and with our home life. It is what you make of it. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

  3. Kim -- while Cadey enjoys her friends, only one of them is a close friend, and we see her often outside of school. Anyway, all of that would be moot starting this summer, as we're expecting to move. Also, we will continue to have our kids involved in other activities such as church, sports, etc... And, we'd be homeschooling both -- M starts Kindergarten next year!

    Annett-- thank you for your support! You know I will probably be on the phone with you a lot!!

    Hugs and love to you both!

  4. Hey Annie. I appreciate your thoughts about what to do with your kids. It reminds me so much of the things that Andy and I have discussed over the years. I'm reading a great book right now that I thought you might be interested in reading... Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham Jr. It's exciting to see the things that God is doing in your life.

  5. Have you been reading Crazy Love? If not I'll get it to you remind me. You will LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

  6. Just for reassurance sake- you are not alone in the "fear" of homeschooling. I have constantly gone back and forth as well, and now that we have committed, am so excited for the journey ahead. And it's not like you can't change your mind if it's just not working for one of them- or both of them. But you are best qualified as their Mama to be Teacher- and it is so popularized nowadays that it's not such a lonesome calling. I'll be praying for you guys during the decision making....


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