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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Debating

I have been debating and seriously considering alternate schooling options for our kids come Fall. I have been nervous about #4 coming and could I handle it all (still am). Will I do a good enough job? Will I still have my sanity at the end of the day? Will my kids’ have theirs? How will I be able to keep up with day to day things, school and a new baby? Just mountains of questions and insecurities about what I can or can't do.

So I did what any grown woman would do…I confessed to my husband. I made my fears known to him and asked him how he felt about tentatively enrolling the 2 oldest in the public school system next year. That conversation did not go at all how I had envisioned it going. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t what I thought I would hear in response. My Beloved was quite opposed to doing the public school thing.

After that conversation I had to think on the situation a bit more. Another Mom informed me our state offered ‘virtual’ schools. These types of schools allow your child to be registered as a public school student and yet still do school at home. They would receive a laptop, have an on-line teacher and all school materials would be sent to us at the state’s expense. It sounded like the next best thing- the in between of sending them to school and full time home schooling.

But the more I thought on it the more I realized this situation might be even more stressful than doing the home school program we do now. I mean, my kids aren’t big enough (at least the little guy isn’t) to do on-line courses without help. They would still need my physical help for quite a bit AND I would be at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. That pressure of marching to another person’s tune didn’t sit so well with me.

The other thing that made me seriously reconsider doing the virtual schooling option was checking out their curriculum. We predominantly use Sonlight and there are things here and there I don’t love. However, one of the things I do love is the reading material that they have selected, both for us to read together and for her to read on her own. The stories are wonderful. The virtual program didn’t really have a reading program and the math was a bit weak. It just was all around unimpressive. I don’t mean to sound snobby about it.

Then I looked at what we would be doing this year through Sonlight, Core 3 – Introduction to American History, and I got excited again. The Biggest Man has also been making his own strides with reading and we’ve started a different Bible program just this week to bring him into all this schooling business too. That has been neat to see him join the fold a bit and take an interest in learning.

I still have time to say I want to do the virtual school option…but I think I just might pass. After all, even if we can’t stay on schedule in the Fall we can always extend through the Summer and just try to enjoy doing the family thing together.

2 comments:

mamabear said...

Bless your heart! I understand these feelings.

You are right that you can't do it on your own. Who will equip? The Lord! Virtual school? Gag. You are right about that! Big pain in the arse.

You can do so much more through his grace. Count on that with ever fiber of your being. What I mean is that even if that baby has raging colic and cries for five months straight and you're barely hanging on, God will still ensure that your children learn next year. They will learn more than just their academics. :) If you believe He has called your family to homeschooling, he will provide the way. You just follow and praise. Think of the big picture. Yes, it may be sporadic at best at times, but God multiplies that effort...that obedience.

And remember that kindergarten is not required by law, so you don't have specific schooling requirements for Isaiah, if next year is his K year. If he is already a beginning reader, every thing you do with him is a bonus, so don't sweat it if you can't school him as much as Kristin.

Kristin sounds like a very good student. I'm sure she'll be able to do much at a table by herself, with you just checking in. If she reads and writes everyday, does a few pages of math, reads history with you or Dad, etc, that will be enough. She can do science reading on her own, too, and experiments with Dad on the weekends. Don't worry about following your teacher guides. Use your curriculum as a tool, rather than as a bible--something I'm sure you've been doing from the beginning of your homeschool adventure.

One thing a teacher always has to do in the end, is to give up control and trust the student to learn. Without that trust, we fuss and pull and push and tinker and get in the way of something that is quite natural. Think of yourself as her facilitator. Provide material, a reasonably quiet place (even if upstairs), encouragement, nice breaks to work on her relationships with siblings, and oversight.

I believe if we put their heart growth first, the rest falls into place. So if you only have twenty minutes to spend with her, and that's all for the day, don't do spelling. Do Bible or prayer. It takes a lot of faith to do that, but it will bless her future much more than one more spelling test. God says so, not me. :)

Margie said...

Sounds like a good plan. I am glad to hear that you have come to some solution since our last conversation. And yes, with homeschooling you can move more at your own pace so if everyone needs a day off you are more able to be able to do that. I struggle being at the mercy of someone else's schedule frequently. You are such a blessing to those kiddos, and me as well. You are an awesome Momma and homeschool teacher!

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