Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Another Big Announcement...

It seems big, crazy things just keep happening here in our world and lately, we've certainly seen no shortage of excitement! First, there was Chase's announcement (YAY!). And now, here's another big announcement, which may come as quite a shock for some:

After months of prayer, thoughtful consideration and seemingly unending research,

I have decided to homeschool LO and Chase this fall.

{{{{{insert gasps of shock & awe here}}}}}

IKR? Do you think I'm insane? Have I truly lost my mind??

I don't think so.

I've literally wrestled with this decision for months -- easily almost a year now -- and it's such a relief to finally admit to myself and to the world that I've made this decision! God put this on my heart and I honestly feel like I've spent the past few months arguing and battling Him on it. But I've finally thrown up my hands and said, in almost the exact words of a fellow (now seasoned and successful) homeschooling mom at the beginning of her journey, "Okay, God, I'll do this homeschooling thing. But if it fails, it's YOUR FAULT!"  ((wink))

This is literally a one-year-at-a-time decision for me. I've promised God and myself that I will commit to this for ONE YEAR, with the hope and prayer, of course, that it is successful. What happens next year, or 5 years from now or 10 years from now, is anyone's guess. God has already figured that out but hasn't chosen to share it with me just yet.

There are several reasons I first started considering homeschooling LO in particular, and I'm sure I'll share some (or all) of those in the weeks and months ahead as I make my preparations. Choosing to homeschool Chase was a no-brainer. He had been attending a K3 program at the same Christian private school where LO completed K3 and K4, but sadly, it just didn't feel like "home" to us over this past year during Chase's 2 day/week enrollment. And saving the several hundred dollars each month on tuition was an added bonus. Add in the fact that he'd be out of a school environment (i.e. illness, germs, etc.) and it's a win-win. I haven't decided which curriculum I will use for him, but I know there are several incredible options out there and eventually God will lead me to the right one. For now, I'm just trusting Him (in a BIG way!).

As for LO, the decision to homeschool her was a bit more involved and much more complicated. She's a VERY bright child. Her 1st Grade assessments put her at a 5th Grade reading level, with her comprehension a close match. She picks up on new concepts, particularly in math, at lightning speed and can easily retain and recall new information, well beyond her rising 2nd Grader status.

And unfortunately, I was less than pleased with her Kindergarten and 1st Grade years at our local public school. The school is nice enough, but when it came to something that would keep her engaged and challenged, it just didn't fit the bill. I inquired about advanced learning opportunities and just kept hitting a wall. I guess they didn't seem to think a super-smart Kindergartener needed any opportunities to enhance her skills beyond that of her fellow peers. Just the basic ABCs and 123s. And I get that, to a degree. But this past year especially she was getting very bored, which would surface as behavioral issues (unable to sit still, constantly talking, etc.) because she already understood a concept that was being repeatedly taught until the rest of, or majority of, her class picked it up. This just didn't seem fair to her.

Add in my frustration with the staff -- not necessarily just at the school, but also at the district level -- and I was just tired of putting up with the "inside the box, one size fits all" approach. They can't possibly provide individualized learning to each student, and I wouldn't expect them to. But I would expect them to try harder. To do right by my child. It's my job as her parent to be sure she's getting the very best when it comes to her education, and they were falling short.

Not to mention, one of the BIGGEST pieces to the education puzzle that we miss with public schooling is, of course, the ability to incorporate Christian teaching and Bible study into our school day. I want my kids to be smart and learn a lot, naturally, but I also want them to have a strong faith with a heart and passion for God. This cannot be taught in the classroom, but it can be taught in the home.

I've made a decision about the curriculum I'll be using with LO, but I'll go into detail on that in a later post. For now, just know that we will be a schooling-at-home family beginning in August, and we would certainly appreciate your prayers for success!