Stepping Outside the Box
First post…This is a lot of pressure that I didn’t anticipate. I have only 1000 ideas swirling through my mind but I’m having a bit of writer’s block. I started this blog as a way to document the journeys that my family and I face and hopefully, many of you can relate. Ambitious Promises has been a long time coming because don’t we all make ambitious promises to ourselves and everyone we know well? Absolutely.
Recently, I made one heck of an ambitious promise to myself. That was to listen to what God is telling me to do, no matter how crazy it seems or how outside of the box it is…
God’s Message #1: Homeschool.
What?! I work in the public school system as a speech-language pathologist. I have two children who, at the time this message came, were registered and ready to enter Kindergarten and 2nd grade. What?! Yes, I’d always considered it an option, but never seriously. When I brought it up to my husband, he looked at me with his typical “Yeah, Ok Hon, but that’s not for us” look. He was not going for it. At all. Not even a little bit. Could it be because I’d always been hard core anti-homeschooling because of the socialization issue? Could it be because he thought I was asking to quit my job? How was I going to convince him other than to tell him that I felt God really wanted me to do this? Nagging has never worked and believe me, I’m an expert at it (I’m working on stopping, really). Well, I’ll tell you folks…Prayer and some well-planned, well-executed points of discussion.
Below are our family’s points of discussion. You can google any of these topics and many blogposts will come up. These are only our discussions, just to let those of you who know us personally, in on our decision.
#1: Kids that are homeschooled have no socialization skills. I am not going to touch this with a ten-foot pole because I used to be grossly misinformed about this topic. However, I consider myself to be a social skills “cruise director” of sorts because I work with students with social skills needs. My kids are old enough for me to know that this is not an issue. If anything, they are overly socialized and will talk to ANYONE.
#2 You cannot quit your job to do this full-time. That is true, I cannot quit my job in this economy and I love my job. We have been blessed in that my husband works very hard so that I am able to work part-time. I will be working 2 days/week and homeschooling for 3 days/week.
#3 We don’t have time to homeschool. Again, do a handy internet search and you’ll find that most homeschoolers do not spend 7 hours a day doing their thing. Here’s what I know…a typical school day is roughly from 8:00-3:00. Chop off 30 minutes for arrival and dismissal. Take another hour for lunch/recess. Another hour for specials (art, music, gym, library). On a good day, that leaves approximately 3-3.5 hours of whole-class instruction time.
#4 How will we know what to teach? Our local school system was wonderful in loaning out their curriculum materials for the grades we requested. That gave us a start. Then I talked with homeschooling families and they guided us to resources we needed to make an informed decision. The WV Department of Education also publishes the Content Standard Objectives (CSOs) for each grade level…basically what they believe each student should achieve by when. This is just one of the frameworks we’re using to guide us. We chose to use materials from several curriculums but primarily the Mother of Divine Grace curriculum(www.motherofdivinegrace.org). Something else to ponder…does real-life, valuable learning have to occur within four walls between the hours of 8-3?
#5 So you’re homeschooling because you want to teach your religion? Well, yes and no. No, I’m not setting up our very own Catholic Academy. But if you’re asking if we will be adding Catholic teaching materials and purposeful instruction to our days, then a resounding YES! I want our faith to permeate every minute of our lives and when I’m away from my children for 8 hours a day (not adding in extracurriculars) plus having to do something in addition to our already hectic schedules, it just wasn’t happening enough. This is our family’s dynamic. It’s not to say that faith isn’t a part of public school families’ lives, it just wasn’t working for us.
I could spend a few more paragraphs on each talking point, but I think you get the picture. The decision to homeschool is a very personal one. It is controversial and I’ve already got my game face on for friends and family who do not agree nor understand. I do not judge someone based on whether they homeschool or choose to enroll in public, private, charter or whatever school. This is just what is working for us.
Ok, now…if you’ve gotten to this point, I appreciate your patience in my rambling. Here are a few snaps of our “first day.” Emma has decided that she is also homeschooling, even though she’ll only be 3 in October. She’s soaking it up as much as Sam and Ava and I’m enjoying this ambitious promise I’ve made…