I scrolled through Facebook seeing all the smiling faces of kids headed out on their first day of school and as a first year homeschooler I got a little sad. I started to question my choices and if we had made the right decision. My oldest daughter attended kindergarten at the public school down the street. While we were grateful for the experience, it confirmed every reason that we wanted to keep our children home during their earlier years and give them a solid foundation in Christ.
I grew up attending Catholic school by the grace of God and my hardworking parents. Right now private school is not an option for us and we have made the choice to keep our children home during these early and very impressionable years.
As I questioned my choice for a brief moment I was taken back to the gospel I heard earlier this week. It talked about how freedom is not an easy choice, that it is actually the opposite. After Moses set the Israelites free, they wandered in the dessert starving and complaining of their rescue. Their faith was weak and their lack of appreciation for their circumstances was overshadowed by a worldly desire.
I respect educators and their hearts of teaching others. I respect parents who send their children to school. My reasons for wanting to homeschool have nothing to do with anyone but my faithfulness in God and duty to my family. Here are reasons we have decided to homeschool.
1) We need our children to have a faith based education- We cannot afford catholic school and we are happy to wait it out until our children are ready and we can afford the expense. Placing God in the forefront of our life creates the life that we want.
2) We want freedom from school calendars- As entrepreneurs we want to travel and give our children a cultural experience that they could not otherwise get while restricted to set schedules.
3) I want my children challenged- My oldest flies through her homework and excels in her class. The other day we were doing a YouTube yoga for kids and when I corrected her movement she commented, “they never correct me at school.” I explained to her that the teacher was most likely trying to get some of the less focused children to cooperate. A lightbulb went off in both of our heads.
4) We live in a very supportive homeschooling community- There are so many support groups, co-ops and classes designed for homeschooling families. Our church hosts a Catholic collaborative education program called The Divine Mercy Co-Op. It has been such a blessing to help with homeschool encouragement and accountability.
5) Positive Influences- We did send our oldest to public school last year. She attended Kindergarten and had the most amazing, patient and kind teacher. Had it not been for her teacher we would have ended our daughter’s year early. My daughter got picked on by other students (boys that liked her), like most kids do and we were grateful for that experience. We talked her through the issues and it was a valuable teaching opportunity. Another incident happened with our daughter with another girl in the class. It was inappropriate and needed more attention that was given. The councilor called it “curiosity,” the unwanted and inappropriate touching by one student to another and peeking at her while using the bathroom. I knew the family because their nanny was our babysitter. Without making accusations, I urged the councilor to look more into their home situation. After the incident my daughter told me that she didn’t want to go to the bathroom because the other little girl was still peeking at her. It turns out they did not want to “ostracize” the other little girl nor did they want to document an incident that may warrant a call to CPS. I then realized that would be the norm, the fine line between informing of an incident and keeping the school’s record shiny and clean. But what about the other little girl? What is she being exposed to that makes inappropriate touching normal? I understand that you don’t want to raise red flags in someone’s home, but what if it’s a neighbor? Another family member? A babysitter?
My reasons are simple. My children are very impressionable and will be exposed to a lot of negativity and difficult situations for the rest of their lives. If I am able to safeguard their innocence for a few years while strengthening their faith in God, their understanding of right and wrong, and their voices to defend themselves then I will do whatever it takes.
The big reason:
At a young age I was sexually abused by my babysitter’s son in their home on several occasions. He himself was also “curious” and only about five years older than I was. I was about 6 or 7 years old. I did not know how to communicate what had happened to me. My parents did not talk to me about things of that nature nor did they think they needed to. All I remember telling my mom was that I hated to go to the babysitters.
I want to be the parent that talks to their children about their feelings, anxieties and frustrations. I want to teach them how to communicate what is happening in the world around them and how to conduct themselves in different situations. I am thankful to be a stay at home mom to my children and walk and talk them through every difficult and happy moment in their young and very impressionable young life.
Thanks for reading!
The girls’ first day of co-op at our church. HomeSchool life can definitely be crazy, but it is also so worth it!The Glass Classroom! It is a special place where we share meals, educate our children and make amazing memories.