Thursday, February 23, 2012

To School or Not to School

No fewer than three times each week someone asks me about the educational choices we are going to make for our children.  "Are you going to homeschool then?"  "Have you decided?"  "Are they going to school with your husband?"  "Since you taught at a private school, are you going to send Caleb there for kindergarten?"  "Have you guys made a decision about preschool?"  Oh my.  I had no idea having a three year old would raise all these questions.

For the record, I don't mind the questions.  In fact, it's kind of nice to have one more opportunity to talk through the choices with other loving parents.  Also, I need to get something else on the record.  I was homeschooled... for ten years.  From third grade to graduation.  Homeschooling opened doors for me and gave me learning experiences that would have been impossible in a traditional school setting.  I will be forever grateful to my parents, especially my mother, for the ten years that they invested full-time in my education and character.  Also, I don't think I'm unsocialized; but you'll have to ask my friends.  Unsocialized people are always the last ones to realize it. Teacher Man tells me I'm fairly normal, but I think he's a little biased.

So here's where we're at:

Caleb is starting to read, sounding out words everywhere.  He can count, do basic addition, and recognize all his shapes and colors. And he's three.  He is intensely curious about the world and loves interacting with kids his age as well as adults.  His best friend is my mother.  I'm pretty sure he ranks pretty high on her list too so that works out well. Anyways...

I would love to support our local schools; in fact, I do.  I kiss my husband and send him off to a ten-hour day of teaching five days each week.  In fact, tonight he went back to put in that eleventh hour.  Having him in the schools though, I also hear the good, the bad, and the ugly of what's happening.  This definitely has its benefits and drawbacks.  Since both Teacher Man and I are teachers (duh.), we also have a firm grasp of what current academic expectations are.  Caleb meets most of the academic standards for kindergarten already.  Do I send him to school so he can drive his teacher crazy?  Hmmmm...

Teaching private school was a great experience for me.  I had great students, many of whom loved Jesus with a passion that inspired me.  We prayed together, studied things in light of Scripture, and had room for lots of extras since behavior management was minimal.  The hardest part for me as a teacher was not being able to meet all the individual needs of my students... so many of them, one of me.

So homeschooling... I love curriculum.  I love reading.  I love teaching and discovering things.  I love my kids.  But the responsibility of their education on top of having them home all the time is intimidating, even as a teacher.  Right now I'm knee-deep in resources, trying to figure out what homeschooling would look like for me: Educating the Whole-Hearted Child, The Charlotte Mason Companion, The Well-Trained Mind... and the list goes on and on.

Some of these writers inspire me to lifelong learning.  Others fill me with vision for a rich future for my family, educating with or without a traditional school.  Mostly, I'm just intimidated... because I know that homeschooling parents have an enormous influence over their children's personalities, character, and future no matter what philosophy or method they follow.  Every homeschool graduate I know is an intense reflection of their parents.  I'm just not just the world is ready for me... intensified.  Those who have seen me in the midst of a hormonal cleaning frenzy know what I'm talking about.  It's frightening.

I want my children to be more like Christ... not me.  This takes me exactly back to where I started.  There is no perfect education because there is no such thing as a perfect teacher besides The Teacher.  Knowing my children as I do, I'm also keenly aware that we're not working with perfect raw material either.  So I guess I'll continue reading, praying, and studying, starting with God's Word.  Sitting at the feet of my Savior.  Praying for the renewing of my own mind.  For the transformation of my heart.  For wisdom.  And for the eyes to see God's grace in each day and to pass that grace along to my children.

And if you're one of the amazing people that are in our daily life, keep asking.  Keep challenging me to think through my choices for my children.  And thanks for caring.  Each one of you is an important support as we raise our sons.


  1. Well, when he's in 5th grade I know you would want him to be in my class :) I'm proud of your words and thoughts in this post- too many times conclusions are jumped to. Aren't we blessed to have a Savior who speaks and guides us! Love you friend!!

  2. Just a quick thought ... I'm not trying to get in on the big debate or sound like I'm arguing for/against ...I just had a quick thought and wanted to share ...
    "...because I know that homeschooling parents have an enormous influence over their children's personalities, character, and future..."
    When I read this statement I was thinking "Wow! yes! that explains it so well --one of the many reasons why we homeschool!" To me it is a scarey thought to give a public school system the awesome responsibility of having that kind of influence over my children's lives ... I believe that God gave the children to us and it is our responsibility to teach them and train them in His ways... And please don't let all the curriculums and methods overwhelm you ... look at the basics of what you want to cover (simplify what you want covered in each grade reading, writing, science, math etc) and then find something that meets your needs!!! It sounds like you are already doing an awesome job ... reading at 3!!!!! :) Sounds like Caleb is sooo ready -- they can really learn fast in these first years!! My 5 yr old loooves math -- it's so cute hearing her beg Daddy before bedtime "please can't we do some more math"! lol She's doing division, multiplication, and learning the basic ideas of algebra! :) So So fun to watch them learning!!!
    God Bless You, Krista!!

  3. Krista,
    I share in some of the same thoughts you have expressed here. I attended public school in a small town. It's a great school system with great teachers, yet the thought of homeschooling has crossed my mind. I have continued to pray about it. At times I feel like it's a great option, and then other times I feel very intimidated by it. In making a decision, I find it is so important for me to not only be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, but also my children's as well. My oldest is very strong-willed. I often think she responds better to the direction of others rather than my own. Would I have the patience to work with her? Would she even respond well to me? I truely believe, the real importance comes from the involvement of the parents, homeschooled or not.:) So I have continued to pray about what the best decision is for our family. Thanks for sharing this!