31 August 2015

First week in the books!

Yesterday as we exited church to retrieve our complimentary snowballs on a particularly hot day, my DS12 was talking to another tween from youth group. They were talking about trivial things and then proceeded to compare their back to school stories. Eventually, the tween asked my son what school he was attending. As I waited in line, I was playing off the fact that I could hear their conversation when I glance at my son, standing tall and beaming with pride, he exclaimed, "I'm homeschooling!"

The other boy paused and thought for a moment before asking him if this was my idea (partly true); but, alas, my son confidently replied that it was his choice and he began listing all the benefits: sleep in, go to school in PJs (or at least sans shirt), study the subjects in whichever order he likes, take breaks as he desires, and eat snacks while "in class". This is just what he has figured out and what he deems as mentionable in the first week back to school!

It was great to hear him boast about his new school choice and the transition our family is making. It is a process not to be taken lightly. We have enjoyed most of the aspects of our curriculum choice and we recognize the learning curve it will require. We recognized this before beginning and only focused on the 4 main subjects plus the Bible curriculum. This week we will weave the extracurriculars into our schedule.

We hope everyone is off to a great first week of school!

12 July 2015

The Family Meeting

Last week was boy scout camp and my husband tagged along this year with our son. We had decided upon his return that we would discuss our idea to homeschool. My husband had the opportunity to get to know another parent in the boy scout troop who does homeschool. He came home excited to share with me all that he learned in favor of homeschooling teens. I already knew this from all the reading and conversations I have had but I knew he needed to hear it for himself also. This is that light bulb moment when it all clicks and we look each other in the eyes with confirmation!

After all the camping gear was cleaned and showers were taken, we sat our 12 & 15 year old down to give them the option this coming school year of whether to go back to public or start homeschool. I presented how all their deep desires that they had shared with me would be met at home vs in school. I addressed how we could strengthen their friendships outside of school too. My husband was there to enhance the conversation and he chimed in with youth group and boy scouts continuing as their extracurricular activities to show some continuity. We also told them about having the ability to explore more of the subject matter they choose. We let them ask their questions. At the end, I have given them a week deadline to decide so I can get the paperwork going if need be before the new school year begins. I have my suspicions who will choose homeschool. Knowing my boys, they need time to warm up to the idea. I wanted them to feel in control of the choice.

09 July 2015

Us vs Them

As I set out to embark on a new path for my family, I'd like to address the notion that the choice to homeschool is an "us vs them" battle. I have begun to share my thoughts with a few friends and family who have all been receptive. I've inadvertently shared my growing distaste for public school as it pertains to my kids and that has gotten some reactions. I'm beginning to see this division forming. It makes me wonder if I've ever come off that way to my other homeschooling friends. I'd like to think I portrayed acceptance to everyone. But nevertheless, I will discuss:

Think about it: God created snowflakes and fingerprints in such a way that no two are alike. We should consider our children to be the same. If that is true, then children learn differently, too. My children have been raised in public school. I figured this is what we do. Many of us take our parenting styles by what we were raised on. If we hesitate on how to handle a particular parenting dilemma we have no fear because our default button is set.

After all, I came out of public school okay with a 3.2 GPA. I loved school for the most part. I struggled with socialization as many kids do but today's world coupled with changes in the school systems are among a couple reasons why I'm seeking homeschool as an option. I've learned that my kids may need something different than what I was raised on. They both need something new that public school simply can't provide. They use a one-size-fits-all approach and can't afford to alter it too much for the sake of my children. I get it. I also see it will not be a good fit anymore. It does no one any good to lead a life of frustration out of fear of the unknown.

One child has an approved IEP with documented learning delay and my other child was tested for disabilities years ago only to find he's quite intelligent...yet his grades are poor. Poor grades means lots of remedial classes where he is bored instead of putting him in a more stimulating setting. Two extremely different kids who are slipping through and losing their natural desire to learn. Hmmm, something has to give, right?!

On the other hand, many of my friends have kids who thrive in the public school setting. I'm happy for them...truly I am. I feel that everyone should do what is right to build a nuturing, loving environment for their family. I do not believe all can homeschool just like not all can public school. So, I am venturing out on my quest to discover and learn alongside my children as their mom, teacher and mentor! Are you considering homeschool? Does the idea of leaving your corporate job scare you? You are in good company! Join me as I figure out this new lifestyle we will be entering soon.

02 June 2015

Uncover the Dirt

Isn't it funny how everything seems clearer in hindsight? Do you know the issues, dirt, dilemmas that have plagued your family for generations? Have you wondered why you see patterns or themes that span generations?

There is nothing new under the sun yet we all hide our secrets under the rug in hopes no one else finds out.

What happens when you do this? You give power to that secret dirt.

Who does it help by hiding it? Absolutely no one. Not even you.

We must confess our stuff (to the right people) for the purpose of stopping the cycle. I know you are thinking this is crazy or not going to happen. I challenge you to consider it.

Generational issues, curses, or whatever else you want to call them, keep occurring because no one has drawn the line in the sand and said, "Not anymore"!

When will you get mad enough? When will you say enough is enough? Do you really want to see your kids struggle through what you did? Do you want to see them questioning and wondering what is wrong with them to find them circling the same issues again and again?

Do you realize you will cause them to be secretive about their stuff unknowingly? They won't understand fully why they feel compelled to hide it. You may never know what they struggled with and how your secret stuff could have helped them in theirs.

The thing that keeps you silent is pride. Swallow your pride and talk. I learned that by sharing my struggles, I began to take back my power, my strength, and also, our family's legacy. When you stuff it down deep, it controls you. You may not notice how it controls you but I promise you it does. The majority of mental health issues and/or physical health issues stem from the stress of keeping dark secrets hidden. We were never designed to hold it in. We were made to share and help each other. The fact is we all have some heavy burdens. Some of it is caused by our own misguided choices and other times it is out of our control.

It is hard to uncover the past but it is so worth it. Take small steps to tell your closest friends and family and gain their support. You might be amazed at the new levels of connection it brings. Eventually, you'll be able to tell just about anyone your story. You never know how that may impact others in a positive way.