Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another step closer part 2.

This is an interesting email I received Friday. "L" did not send this to me to begin a huge debate - she sent it to share her thoughts & opionions regarding homeschooling. I appreciate it. Of course no two people think alike & I have no problem with that. As a matter of fact, I am one of the (very) few who appreciate how different minds think. I've said before...God did not make duplicates. We all have our very own fingerprints. And minds. :) I thought I'd see if any of you have any additional thoughts or comments. Homeschooling is probably one of the most important decisions a parent will make (my opinion anyway), as we all know the importance of a good education. Sharing & learning is good.

Currently, hubby & I have a little dilemma regarding homeschooling. It isn't that he isn't pro-homeschooling - his main concern is that I have OCD & I am a determined perfectionist. I certainly won't argue with that. :) He thinks I may expect too much. I disagree. I do/will expect what I know my child is capable of, I don't/won't expect above his limits. Still discussing.

Below is the email from "L". Everything in the copper color is from her.

...because I have considered this myself and have two girls in 2nd and 5th grade in public schools myself, I felt compelled to answer each point that you mentioned myself. I agree with some...and some, I just don't see. Take it for what it is worth...I sure don't mean to impose my opinions on you but I have been there and know of which I speak :)

1. Positive academic, social, emotional and spiritual benefits. I both agree and disagree on this point. I do think that children grow socially and emotionally better around children in the same socio economic background as your children. Children do need to be around other children daily in order to be well rounded and more prepared for the real world.

2. A better education for your child. Now that is debatable. In my case....probably not so much :)

3. The schools have become so dangerous that homeschooling is now a lot safer than sending your child into the war zone that public schools have become. Well, in our area of the suburbs, this is not a concern as of yet.

4. Less exposure to drugs and alcohol. Today 31% of high school students "binge drink" at least once a month. There are also a lot of students who abuse inhalants, drugs and medicine. If you keep your child in a bubble, they will be protected from all of these things. However, they will rebel most times when they leave the home. This was true of myself and many of my peers in private school all of our lives. When we left for college, we went buck wild! My husband was in public school and never went wild as he was always exposed to these things and felt it was just the way things were. He was exposed gradually and never actually went wild. (Thankfully, I never got into trouble and eventually returned to the Lord. But I definitely was led astray for awhile.)

5. No emotional bullying such as name-calling, mocking and humiliation. This is what any child that appears "different" is forced to endure. Research shows that those children who undergo this emotional bullying are unable to learn well. True, and I worry a lot about this with my 5th grade daughter. However, I think the benefits of her being in school and exposed the the outside world outweigh any of the risks of this. She will face it sooner or later anyway.

6. Children can be Ritalin-free. Schools are increasingly labeling typical male behavior as ADD/ADHD. This is also true for thin children who like to move around more. I truly can't speak on this issue so I will just keep my mouth shut.

7. Sexual pressure is removed. Research shows that 81% of children between the ages of 12 and 14 believe that they are pressured into having sex too early. School culture and sex-ed classes tend to promote that sex is fine because everyone is doing it. Thus, children are dressing and acting sexy at much younger ages. This is true whether the children attend public or private schools. Again, my kids are too young to speak on this issue. But I do believe that kids need to be around other kids their own age and hopefully, our kids are learning at home what is right and wrong in the eyes of the Lord.

8. Family bonds are strengthened. Homeschooling actually brings families closer together. Children are given the time and attention that they need to thrive. Parents are able to really know their children. Siblings are kind and helpful to one another. our home, this may or may not be the case. I don't know that I would have the patience to home school all of my kids. I feel like I am a better parent when they get home from school after having several hours to re-charge away from them. Don't get me wrong....I miss my kids like crazy while they are gone and I love Summer break!!!

9. Better preparation for the real world. Modern schools only appear to be normal because we have been brought up to accept them as the way things are done. They are actually quite unnatural. You will never spend your day with people who are all your same age doing things that have no foreseeable results. I TOTALLY disagree with this point!!! How could a child be better prepared for the real world when they have never really been exposed to it! The real world is not always nice and it is not always pretty. No matter how much we would like to protect our children from all of the bad things in this world, if they ever leave the nest, they WILL encounter things that are not so nice and not so pretty. They will experience temptations, rejection, hate, sexual temptations, and all of the negative things we try so hard to protect them from. I hate it so much but I believe that it is better to expose them gradually than to BOOM throw them into the real world in college and have them experience some form of emotionally breakdown because they had no idea that things were so bad in the real world.

10. The home offers the best environment for spiritual training. Christians know that Jesus calls them "disciples" not "students." This is because disciples observe and model their teacher's behavior. Even if you are not a Christian you still should ask yourself if you really want your child modeling the behavior of their public school teacher. This, again, may be debatable. I was very disenchanted after high school to realize that one of my Christian teachers at private school was, in fact, homosexual.

Melissa, please know that I am not criticizing any of your beliefs. Just offering another viewpoint from someone who is in the same boat...but maybe a little farther down the river. I would love to discuss this with you more. You probably have thought of some things that I have not. And I am a big enough girl to agree to disagree on some of these issues too! Hope to hear from you soon.......

Just to let you know, these facts are not "my beliefs", just an email I received so I could be informed further. I will say though that I do not believe making the decision to homeschool is "keeping your child in a bubble". There are many outstanding reasons people homeschool & there are many outstanding reasons people choose public schools. Homeschool now-a-days is nowhere near what it used to be - the more I research I am finding homeschool clubs for children, academic classes, field trips, sports, & the list goes on. There is plenty of socialization for homeschooled children which makes me happy, as I too believe this is a very important area. I am fully aware the above issues will need to be addressed with children at some point. I have a major issue with the above issues having to be addressed at age 6. :) Alcohol & drugs frighten me, as well as school violence. Elementary children being caught with guns is unacceptable. Any school age is unacceptable. And even if the violence isn't at the school itself, I've seen 2 different schools (both elementary) on the news just last week - both schools placed in lockdown -because of dangerous situations surrounding the school. Keep in mind too that homeschooling doesn't mean your child will never see the outside world. Naturally, they will live life the same as others...such as going to a friend's house, birthday parties, out to a movie, roller skating, church activities, etc. This topic is discussing homeschooling, not making children hermits. :)

At any rate, the research continues & I appreciate everyone's feedback! Thanks again "L" for sharing! :)


April said...

So, there are lots of opportunity to agree or disagree in a post that can be person to whoever is posting comments.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what research you do, or what you think, or the opinions you gather, none of that actually matters. Ultimately if you are supposed to homeschool it is between you and the Lord. If He keeps telling you to do it and you don't, that is a problem. If he is telling you not to do it and you find ways to justify it, you will be in trouble. SO, please just pray and pray and pray and ask the Lord to tell you whether you should or shouldn't. It really can be that simple. Once you get His okay, then ultimately you need your husband to back you since you will need his help to pull it off. He has to want that for his family inspite of your OCD tendencies. Our husbands know us better than anyone else and they have to want this too since they will be there to back us up when we need it. Plus they are our God ordained coverings and we need to trust them. There you go ;)!

But, I do want to respond to this comment, I hope you don't mind:

"1. Positive academic, social, emotional and spiritual benefits. I both agree and disagree on this point. I do think that children grow socially and emotionally better around children in the same socio economic background as your children. Children do need to be around other children daily in order to be well rounded and more prepared for the real world."

My question is, where in the world do we live and breath are we only working and spending time with our peers. Since peers are people that are indeed people that were descrbed as kids in the same age, background, etc. How untrue is that. Our spouses are rarely the same age as us. When I worked, I worked in an environment that was filled with many different ages, races, backgrounds, etc. So the truth is, nothing I learned in school was preparing me to be working with people that were anywhere from 5, 10, 40 years older than me while I was working. Or now even playing. My husband and I have many different aged friends: same age, a few years older, 20 years older, such a wonderful variety. So, school is not required to prepare my children to know the world. Also what is wrong with presenting my child with the cruelness of our world when they are emtotionally ready instead of when it is just thrown at them when the school and school life deems it ready. How do they know what is age appropriate.

There is no chance that my children live in a bubble. We go out shopping, we play with other kids, we have neighbors, we have family, we have church. There is plenty of opportuntiy for them to see the world, while I can help them understand it every step of the way. I love that I get to choose to keep my children away from the influence of drugs and alcohol. That may be a bubble, but as we go through life we can train them in the ways of the Lord and give them the encouragement to hopefully encourage future friends, neighbors and family members the right way.

I have met tooo many children that were homeschooled that have indeed walked on to be fully functioning, God loving adults after living in the so called bubble. I choose not to present the world to my kids yet and will continue to enjoy my heavenly bliss as my kids continue to stay innocent AND they are not bullied at school by the meany kids that all the others have to deal with.

I would say this is a great life and I am sooooo thankful that the Lord gave us the stamp of approval to homeschool. Is every day easy? Nope. Do I miss the free time that mom's have while their kids attend public school, you bet! But there is great joy in this sacrifice and it is a good life.

Lisa said...

Great comments April! Melissa, homeschooling is such a "hot" button these days you will always have plenty of people on both sides of the fence.

This is my 2cents....First, I do believe homeschooling is a calling. I believe as April said you must pray, pray, pray for God's direction. Homeschooling is not right for every family. I also believe it's a decision you and your hubby should be praying about together. Homeschooling is not easy and so many times I've had to go to my hubby and say remind me again why are we doing this? He can because we talked and prayed and agreed on it together. Second, try to find someone who has homeschooled and their children are late teens. This is the best argument for homeschooling and an incredible resource for you as well. I guarantee that if you put a group of kids together you will always be able to pick out the homeschooled child. Not because he/she is weird but because they are able to interact with all different ages well (not just their peer group) and they will be well mannered, polite, responsible. THis is NOT to slam public school kids but it an accurate statement. In fact, a statement you will probably hear often if you do homeschool, how polite, kind, caring, etc. your child is.

I'll be praying that God makes His plans in this regard perfectly clear to both you and your husband and even your son.

Kristy said...

I agree the Lord has definately been speaking to your heart and showing you over and over what he want you to do. I'll be praying for you :)

Anonymous said...

You know I'm not a fan of homeschooling, not because I think that it's wrong, but probably because I'm a public school teacher and I believe in what I do. HOWEVER, you and I have discussed the differences in districts in Texas. I have listened to the problems you and Cade have had with your district and I think homeschooling might be a good choice for you, or you could change districts. In my experience, (I've worked for Dallas ISD, Mansfield ISD, Burleson ISD, Granbury ISD, and now Tolar ISD) smaller districts do a better job of serving students. I wish y'all were here with us!

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a public school teacher and I can see the positives and negatives. I truly believe, as others have said, that it is not something to decide quickly on (and I know you haven't because you have really been thinking about it for a while)......I know of many great families who have homeschooled their children and done it in what I would consider a "correct" way. I am by no means an expert on it, but I have also seen others who have done it in a not so "correct" way.
I love being a public school teacher and feel that my influence on my students is needed, and for that, I will stay put for now.
However, I can see and agree that it is quite "scary" out there in the world, and that some of the issues I deal with on a daily basis frighten and amaze me.
But again, I feel like a safe haven to some of my kids, too. That my classroom is a place that they can come to and be safe and loved....because they have no one at home who cares enough to think about feeding them much less homeschool them.
I know you are praying about it. If you feel led, and you and hubby agree, try it. It is not like you cannot go back to public school if you feel you need to. You won't be a failure if it doesn't work out.
I am behind you in whatever you decide.....
and you would be fabulous...OCD tendencies and all :) (this coming from another OCD chick!)

Mommy Brain said...

I am not going to comment one way or another but I do hope that you will find peace with a decision. I have first hand experience with the angst of choosing a school...there is no other responsibility that feels as heavy as trying to determine what is best for your surprised me how deeply I felt the weight of responsibility. And in my situation, just when I couldn't see any solution God provided a ram...and since then I've been blessed 10 keep praying, keep asking God to open your eyes, and stay open to the people He brings across your path.

Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way; walk in it.

No matter where you go, God will be there.