Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thoughts on Home Schooling...

My husband and I decided to home school our children full time when our oldest, Sarah, was in the middle of her fifth grade school year. She was attending a traditional private school and I was nightly spending hours pouring over homework pages, teaching her the lessons she struggled to understand from class when she returned home (with no teachers manuals). She was also struggling with recurring illnesses and sever allergies to the corn pollen that surrounded the school she attended, bullying boys and "clickish" girls, compiled with the inability to see her father who worked a swing shift and left the house before she returned home from school led to a very frustrated fifth grader. One day we received another call from the school saying that she was physically ill. I hung up the phone and turned to my husband; before I could say a word, he said "Let's go get her." We picked her up and out of that harmful environment and have been homeschooling her and her sister since that time.

Prior to this point in time, I had been considering homeschooling for years, I even attempted it in kindergarten and grade three. But I though she wasn't "getting enough." Never being educated in elementary education, I felt like an inadequate teacher. And when faced with the barrage of questions asked by professional educators thrown at me during my early experiences with homeschooling, I could not confidently assume that I would be a good teacher. You can not imagine the amount scholarship and contempt with which they questioned and pried.

But when we brought our oldest home that day, it was a commitment to fulfill God's commandments in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." 

So after engrossing myself in stacks of home school curriculum and "how-to" books, magazines and websites, I found the one statement that gave me the confidence to proceed. I wish I could share the name of the author as it became very profound to me; I read "The first qualification for homeschooling is that you must enjoy spending time with your children." Wow, really? That certainly was not a problem for me! I love being with my girls; hearing their stories, watching them play, and even playing with them. 
And so we homeschooled! Since that time, I've found support with a local 4H group, and was even asked to teach drama and speech at a homeschool fine arts group. My kids may never be rocket scientist (they've never show an interest), and may never be sports stars (they've had the chance, no interest), but they know how to learn, and enjoy learning, which has proven to be their best subject!

Some blessings of homeschooling is that spending so much time together and enjoying that company brings us closer than we ever imagined. My sweet husband, Fred, gave Sarah and myself tickets to see the World Champion White Sox at a game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. We set off with great excitement and we had fun from the moment we left the front door!

We ate at the Stadium Club right inside the park where we were fortunate to have tickets to this very exclusive restaurant. After leaving, we lingered in the hall to look at the White Sox memorabilia and a stranger offered to take our picture. The cheesy grin on my face is because he asked us if we were sisters! This "White Sox Princess" is actually just a loyal fan, she actually happened to win a "Biggest Fan" contest that day, no surprise! 

It got a little cool, and even started to sprinkle, but that was just fine. Sarah and I had a great time together. But that came as no surprise, we already enjoy being together. There are no secrets between us, no ill feelings, no communication or generation gap. Just a homeschool mom who enjoys spending time with her children!

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